Taking WordPress backups

In this post, I’m going to explain why it’s important to take regular WordPress backups, and show you the different types of backup that are available.

There are many reasons why you should take regular backups. Firstly, a software update may break your site. Or you might update the content on your website and inadvertently delete something you didn’t mean to. Or – worst case – your website gets hacked.

You can’t have too many backups. I would say that, as a rule of thumb, the more types of backup you take, then the less likely you are to need them.

So what types of backup are there?

Web host backups

If you have a good web hosting plan, your hosting company will take daily WordPress backups as part of your package. Whilst this is a good thing, there are a couple of downsides you need to be aware of:

  • these backups are generally provided on a ‘best endeavours’ basis, so if you go to restore a backup and then find out that the files have been corrupted then that’s just tough luck
  • you’re unlikely to have any control over timing – these typically run out of hours and cannot be run on demand, which isn’t useful if you want to take a backup prior to updating your site

But, if you’re in an emergency situation and have no other backups, then a web host backup may save the day.

Cloud backups

There are some excellent WordPress backup plugins that enable you to set up a schedule to automatically back your WordPress website to your cloud webspace. The one I use and recommend is Updraft Plus. The free version lets you backup your website to Google Drive or Dropbox, which should be sufficient for most sites, and there’s a premium package which would be suitable for more complex sites such as e-commerce stores or multisite networks. This enables you to keep a set number of backups (for example the last 7 daily backups) so that you can restore your website to a point in time.

Local backups

If you like to take a ‘belt and braces’ approach, as I do, you can periodically copy the WordPress backup files from your cloud web space to a folder on your computer and also to a USB drive.

My own WordPress backup strategy

I use the Updraft Plus plugin on each of the sites I manage, and configure this to take backups daily or weekly, depending on the maintenance plan. These backups are saved to Google Drive, and I retain these for a week. Updraft Plus is super easy to use, and a website can be restored from backup with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Each month I take a copy the last backup from the previous month, and save this to a USB drive which is stored in a fireproof safe.

Finally, my web hosting company takes daily backups, which are retained for around one month.

This might sound like a lot of work, but Updraft Plus automates much of this, so I just need to keep an eye on Google Drive to make sure the backups are running OK, and copy the month-end backups to the USB drive.

Get into the habit of taking regular backups of your website

If you want to avoid finding yourself with no website because it’s become corrupted or hacked, then taking regular WordPress backups must be a part of your website maintenance routine. If this is too much work, then why not subscribe to my WordPress site maintenance plan, and I will take care of all this for you. Please get in touch for more information.

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