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How to Backup your WordPress Site for Free

Chinedu Osondu Oko
Written by Chinedu Osondu
Designer/Developer
How to Backup wordpress site

Have you ever typed a very long paragraph into a word document, or effected some major corrections, and after haven done all, either your computer crashed, or the document crashed, or your computer hung and you needed to reboot? Then afterward, you reloaded the document, but all your effort gone. You’d need to redo them. Or worse still the document just suddenly would not open again!

Just like loosing those kind of documents, it would be greatly inconveniencing to edit things on a website, maybe add a file here and there, add some posts, change the design, and after having committed all these, either due to an update from some plugin, or an update to the wordpress software, or yet still a problem from the server, we lose all our work, or terrifyingly, we lose our entire website. That would be heartbreaking.

In this post on How to backup your wordpress site, we would learn step by step, how to save ourselves from this heart break of loss of website data. There are several ways of backing up wordpress sites, but we would be learning the easiest method; backing it up with a plugin.

A word of note. I know many webhosts, keep a backup of wordpress sites, that are hosted on their server, but it is very risky to rely on that. It’s always better to backup your site your self.

Backup wordpress site with Plugin: UpdraftPlus

The plugin we’re going to be using in this tutorial for wordpress site backup is UpdraftPlus.

UpdraftPlus is the most downloaded plugin for wordpress site backup, as it is free and the most trusted backup plugin for both unscheduled and scheduled backups. It is also very easy to setup and you can save your website to the cloud.  

Installing Updraft Plugin

  • To install, go to your wordpress site dashboard admin area.
  • Now in your dashboard admin area, head over to Plugins > Add New
How to backup wordpress site
  • Now type UpdraftPlus into the search area. Click­­ on Install Now, and after it has installed click on Activate.

How to backup wordpress site

Setting Up UpdraftPlus To Backup Your WordPress Site

Manual Method

  • Click on Settings under the UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore site plugin. It would take you to the UpdraftPlus page, where you can customize your settings to backup your wordpress site.
  • To backup manually, click the Backup Now Button. It displays a form that asks what exactly you would want to backup.
  • Make sure both check boxes of Include your database in the backup and Include your files in the backup are selected. Click Backup Now.
How to backup wordpress site

UpdraftPlus starts saving your website files and database.

You can download, the saved files or database to your computer, or you could send them to any of the cloud service you use.

Scheduled Method

The above method is the manual method of saving and backing up your website using UpdraftPlus. There is the automatic or scheduled backup method, which we would go over now.

  • To backup automatically, click Settings in the UpdraftPlus page
Settings Updraft

The schedule for backing up both your website files and database are set to manual by default. You would need to change it to how often you would like your website to be backed up.

  • Choose the timing that suits you best, based on frequently you make changes to your website. After setting the schedule for both your files and database, also confirm how long you want them retained, in the textbox to your right.
UpdraftPlus
  • Haven done these, choose the remote storage you would like to save these backups to. This is necessary, so that if your website ever crashes and you are unable to log into the backend to access the backups saved there, you could always download it from the remote storage. These are your remote storage options:
UpdraftPlus remote
  • You can choose any of the above listed, but to continue this tutorial we would be saving to Google Drive, as I believe it would be the easiest. So click on Google Drive.
  • After clicking on Google Drive, it would display some information on the same page. To view them you would need to scroll down.
Updraft schedule
  • Ensure that for the included files for backup section, Plugins, Themes and Uploads are selected- though they should be selected by default. Leave the Any other directories found wp-content checkbox also selected.

Updraft schedule settings
  • Now scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save Changes button.

Updraft save changes
  • A pop window will show up on your screen asking you to link your Google Drive account. Click on the Follow this link to authorize access to your Google Drive account link.

Updraft link google drive
  • That should take you to a Sign In with Google page. Select your account.

Updraft select gmail
  • It would take you to a permission page. Click Allow.

Updraft allow
  • The last setup is to would take you to an UpdraftPlus Complete Setup page. Click the Complete Setup button

Updraft complete setup

Now all your backups would be stored in your Google Drive.

Note. If you would like to store your backups to more than one location, you would need to upgrade to the UpdraftPlus Premium.

Restore Backup

When your wordpress site did not completely crash

Restoring a backup, its quite easy.

  • Make sure the Backups/Restore tab is selected in the UpdraftPlus page, then scroll down to the Existing Backups Section. Select the Existing backup data you want to restore and click the Restore button.
Updraft restore backup
  • Select all the Components from the list and Click Next.
How to backup wordpress site
  • Click Restore, and the process for the restoration of your website begins.
How to backup wordpress site
  • Upon completion of the restore process, Restore Successful would be displayed. Click Return to UpdraftPlus Configuration. Your website has been successfully restored.
Backup wordpress site

When your wordpress site completely crashes

All this is good. But what if your website crashes, or was hacked and you are unable to log into your dashboard area? I’ve also got you covered, or should I say UpdraftPlus got you covered.

You can’t log into your dashboard, as you are unable to access your admin area.

  • Go over to your webhost’s website. In my case I use hostinger.com. Log into your c-panel, in hostinger.com it is called hpanel, but it is the same. Then click the Manage Button of the site you would like to delete wordpress from.
How to backup wordpress site
  • In other webhosts, after clicking on Manage, it would take you to a page where more info of that website would be displayed. Click on the settings menu. But in my case I would click on AutoInstaller.
How to backup wordpress site
  • When in your settings page, locate a three expansion dot menu which in most cases would be by your websites name or domain name. Click it and when it expands, click delete.
How to backup wordpress site

The old wordpress installation would now be deleted. You would need to do a fresh installation of wordpress.

  • In the same page you just deleted the wordpress application from, you would usually be given the ability to install either wordpress or other cms. Select wordpress and provide all the necessary information, like username, email and password and click install.
How to backup wordpress site
  • Haven now installed wordpress afresh, go into your wordpress dashboard admin area, and follow the steps we mentioned again under the heading Installing Updraft Plugin.

After installing UpdraftPlus, you would discover that it is no longer linked to your Google Drive account and your backups aren’t displayed. Don’t worry, we’re almost there.

  • Go to the settings tab in UpdraftPlus. Choose Google Drive again.
  • After selecting Google Drive, scroll down and click on Save Changes.
  • It would show a popup window asking to link your Google Drive account to UpdraftPlus. Click on Follow this link to authorize access to your Google Drive account, like we did before.
Updraft link google drive
  • Follow the previous steps in allowing UpdraftPlus access to your Google Account.
  • Now after linking, refresh the page and you would see your saved backups under the Existing Backups. You can now Restore your website back to the way it was before the crash.

Thanks for reading. You can check out other of our posts. Do enjoy.

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