4 Ways to Backup Your WordPress Site

I’ve had my fair share of horror stories on data loss. I lost my laptop to nasty thieves one night after work, and my last data backup was as old as one month! The amount of work I need to do in order to rebuild what I have lost was almost unimaginable! Then there was this incident where my laptop just died on me. Although I did perform periodic backups, I still need to rework on some files where recovery was just impossible.

Now that I have a site running, with endless hours spent on writing and tweaking this and that, I could not imagine how much suffering I will have to endure to redo everything from scratch! If you seldom perform backup for your site, well, stop procrastinating and do it now! Here are four ways to backup your WordPress site:

Method #1: cPanel (version 11.46.0)

cPanel is perhaps the most popular web hosting control panel used by many web hosting providers. However, you need to check with your web hosting provider on the availability of this tool before you can use this method.

1.  Log into your cPanel account.


2.  Scroll down the cPanel main page till you see the Files section. Click the Backups icon.


3.  Under the Full Backup section, click the Download a Full Website Backup button.


4.  Choose a Backup Destination where you want to save the backup. By default, the location will be Home Directory. Enter your email address to receive notification of the completed backup job, and click the Generate Backup button to begin.


Note: If you have previously performed backup on your website, you will see a list of the backup under Available Backups To Download. However, if you have not done any backup before and this is your first time, the message No Previous Backups is shown instead.

5.  The duration of the complete backup job varies, so it will take a longer time if you have a large website. Click the Go Back button.


6.  Your newly completed backup file will appear under Available Backups To Download, which is downloadable upon clicking the backup file name link.


Method #2: phpMyAdmin (version

phpMyAdmin is a software written in PHP that allows you to manage your database (MySQL) through your web browser. This software is normally pre-installed and integrated with cPanel, so you can access phpMyAdmin through your cPanel account:

1.  Log into your cPanel account.


Note: You can also access phpMyAdmin directly from your domain (e.g. http://yourdomain.com/phpmyadmin) but you need to follow these steps to do it.

2.  Scroll down the cPanel main page till you see the Databases section. Click the phpMyAdmin icon.


3.  A new window is opened with phpMyAdmin as the default main page.


4.  Click the Databases tab. This page shows you a list of currently available databases that you have. Click on the database name that you want to backup.


5.  A list of tables is displayed in your database. Click the Export tab to proceed.


6.  Use the selected (default) option to export the database, i.e. Quick – display only the minimal options. Similarly, use the default format, i.e. SQL to save your database in that format. Click the Go button to begin the export process.


7.  You will be prompted to save the SQL file. Choose a location where you want to store the file and click the Save button. Depending on the size of your database, it may take a while to complete.


Method #3: Softaculous (version 4.6.1)

Softaculous is a popular auto-installer that (normally) comes together with cPanel. It allows you to choose from numerous scripts (over 300 and counting!) to help you install both commercial and open source web applications (yes, WordPress is one of it!).

1.  Log into your cPanel account.


2.  Scroll down the cPanel main page till you see the Software and Services section. Click the Softaculous icon.


3.  A Softaculous main page is displayed with an overall view of the top scripts. Click the WordPress icon.


4.  Scroll down the page till you see the Current Installations section. Click the Backup icon under Options.


5.  A Backing Up WordPress page is displayed with details of your current WordPress installation. Check the Backup Directory and Backup Database checkboxes. Enter a note for your backup (this is optional). Click the Backup Installation button to begin.


6.  Depending on the size of your WordPress site, the backup process can take between 3 and 4 minutes (or more if your site is huge!).


7.  A message will be displayed, confirming the completion of the backup process.


Method #4: UpdraftPlus Plugin

There are countless backup plugins available at wordpress.org and after sifting through gazillion reviews of the good and bad, I’ve decided to go with UpdraftPlus. As of 17th January 2015, the plugin has garnered 1,138 5-star rating, with over 1.7 million downloads!

1.  Log into your WordPress account.


2.  At the main dashboard view, select Plugins from the left pane, and click Add New.


3.  At the Add Plugins page, key in “UpdraftPlus” into the search box and hit the Enter button.


4.  From the list of displayed results, look for UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration (usually it will be the first result) and click the Install Now button.


5.  Depending on your browser type and setting (I use Google Chrome), a prompt will appear and ask whether you want to proceed with the installation. Click the OK button to proceed.


6.  A message will be displayed once the installation is complete. Click the Activate Plugin link to continue.


7.  After the plugin is activated, scroll down the list of installed plugins until you see UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore. Click Settings.


8.  Click the Backup Now button.


9.  You will be prompted to perform the backup. Do not check the checkboxes and leave it as they are. Click the Backup Now button to begin the backup process.


10.  Your backup progress will be shown at the bottom.


11.  The Last log message section will show you the completed backup job. Note that on the Existing Backups tab, the number shown is 2, which simply means I have already performed two backups successfully (I actually performed a backup once prior to writing this tutorial, hence the number now is 2 when I repeat the same process).


12.  Click the Existing Backups tab to view the list of backups.


Note: By default, UpdraftPlus saves your backup file into your web directory (usually located in the folder …/wp-content/updraft). I prefer to configure it to save the file into my Dropbox account. Follow the next steps to connect your Dropbox account (if you have one) to UpdraftPlus.

13.  Click the Settings tab.


14.  Scroll down the page till you see the Copying Your Backup To Remote Storage section. Select Dropbox from the Choose your remote storage dropdown list and click the Save Changes button.


15.  For first-time configuration, you need to authenticate your Dropbox account. Click the link notice and follow the instructions to authenticate your account, and you’re done! Any future backup from then onwards will be automatically saved into your Dropbox.


One Response to 4 Ways to Backup Your WordPress Site

  1. This is by far the most enriched and efficient guide that I have read so far on wp backup till date. It takes courage to list down all possible wp backup options, free and paid. You kept it clean and deserve an applaud.

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