How To Back Up A WordPress Website

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You have spent a TON of time building your website. But, when was the last time you backed it up?

Better yet, have you ever backed up your website!

Since you have content on your website, you want to start thinking about it. You need to back up all your hard work.

You might not think you need to backup your website, but think, what if something all of a sudden went down?

More questions to answer is if you think you can get everything back? What are some things you can do to help prevent this?

One last thing, there is an assumption that you are using WordPress for your website. If you are, let’s get to the good stuff.

Backing Up Your Website

I cannot stress enough how important this is. But I’m glad you are here and hope you are ready to learn a few ways to get your backup.


I can get into the technical stuff if you want, but I’m sure you are really just interested in backup your website.

The first backup is what I like to call “The Quick and Dirty.” Mainly because it’s easy as other options involve downloading a plugin.

Two I have been looking into are called BlogVault and UpdraftPlus.

Just a quick plug, if you have taken my suggestion and are part of Wealthy Affiliate, your site will automatically be backed up! What is even neater is there are actually two different versions, which are even on two different servers!

If you have a Wealthy Affiliate membership, I would still suggest doing a quick backup a few times a month. It’s more for peace of mind.

So how do you backup your site, and where should you keep your backups? I’m glad you asked. Continue reading for easy ways to accomplish the important task of backing up your website.

The Fast Way

Here is the quick and dirty way of doing it (I mean the “quick way”). This quick export will download settings and most of the media you have already created. It’s not perfect, but it is better than nothing.

    • Go to Tools (menu on the left) – Choose the Export – Select All (which will choose everything) – click download export file.
    • It will be the name of your website in an XML file (if you open it, it will not make any sense), it goes to where your files are downloaded (generally under downloads)
    • Now place the XML file in a folder, put it in the cloud (DropBox, Google Doc, etc.), and if you really want to be cool, put it on a flash drive or external drive. Then take the drive somewhere else.
    • NOTES
      • Remember what theme you are using. If you need to restore the backup, you need to ensure it is the same theme. Otherwise, it could be messed up.
      • You then go to your website and upload the XML file.
      • Appearance – Themes (pick the same theme the XML file was in) – Download and Activate it – then head to Tools – Import – choose WordPress in our case – You might have to install the importer tool. If so, do it, and active it – Then pick the file (choose the most current XML file you have) – click upload file and import – If you are given the option, check the box for attachments – Submit.
      • NOTE: again, you have to make sure all your settings are still there as some things might be wrong or different from what your original site had. Again this is better than nothing and is what I do every other week, just in case.

As I said, you put a lot of work into your website, and you never want to lose everything.

You should do a quick backup a few times a month. You definitely want to back up before switching a theme, doing a WordPress update, or adding a new plugin.

Think of it as the saying goes, it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Using A Plugin

It’s important to remember that there are also plugins that you can download. There are free as well as paid-for options here. I would suggest finding one that works for you.

  • Using a plugin, there are always good and bad for each one. Depending on what you are using, I’ll show you WP Clone right now.
    • Use Tools – Export to get a backup before you do anything
  • Plugins – New – “WP Clone” by WP Academy – Install now – Activate
    • Click on the WP Clone in the left side menu.
      • Remember, this is a free plugin, so use it at your own risk.
    • Choose create a backup – Create Backup button – You will see the zip file that you can download to your computer (or copy the URL and save it somewhere important)
    • Advanced settings: this is mainly for large websites
    • Clicking on the WP Clone in the left menu, you will see all your backups called “restore a backup” – I would say keep one or two max.
    • If you are not using WP Clone, I suggest you deactivate it when you do not use it.
      • Click the link to the latest backup, click restore backup – agree that there is nothing of value – click restore backup – ok.

Set Up A Reminder

If you haven’t already, the next thing you should do is put a reoccurring reminder on your calendar. I personally use Google for this. It’s easy and auto-populates, so I don’t have to remember.

Additionally, I put some details in the calendar event too. Such as how to back it up and add a backup to the cloud and my external drive.

And, just because I want to squeeze this section in. I have gotten quite a few questions since starting Building Your Freedom. So below are the most common questions I have received.

How often should I backup my website?

This all depends on you. Do you post on your site daily, weekly, or at random times?

If you post once a week on a blog, I would suggest updating every month at a minimum. If you post more frequently, do updates twice a month. It doesn’t take long, and if anything happens, you will be glad you have a backup as for where you keep your backups.

How many backups should I keep?

I generally keep the last six months, but honestly, that isn’t needed. Most blogs only need to keep up to three backups at a time.

Where do I keep the backups once I have them?

That all depends as well. I know some larger companies will keep a full backup off sight somewhere.

As for me, I keep a copy on my computer, one on the cloud, and every few months, I put one on a USB drive that I keep away from my computer.

One last thing on backups, make sure you keep them in different locations. For example, I always have the last two updates on my computer, on an external drive, and using a cloud service (Googe Drive and Dropbox, for example).

Do You Remember These? I Wouldn’t Recommend Using Them But Love The Photo

How Do You Backup Your Website?

As with most of this information, you can use what you want and disregard what you will not use.

I hope this has given you some ideas on achieving this simple task, whether you choose to back up weekly or monthly. My suggestion is to go to your site right now and do a quick backup. Then come back and tell me how it went.

Have any questions on backing up your site that I might have missed?

Feel free to leave a comment below on how you backup your site and if this post helped you in any way.

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