Effective Back-up for WordPress Sites

By CIOReview | Friday, August 12, 2016
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To both serious full time bloggers and novices who write whenever they have an urge to, their WordPress site and its contents, are highly important. Few might even consider it holy. Although it sounds exaggerated, if there aren’t other copies of the articles, then any hack or server crash can lead to a lot of data loss and would set the writers back a long way. In order to tackle such an occurrence, it is highly imperative and advisable for the bloggers to have a backup of their site.

When it comes to backing up WordPress site, there are two things that one should take into account—the files and the database. These are the two parts that make up a site and both have to be backed up regularly. The files consist of the core installation files that come with the WordPress installation, the themes, all the images and other media, and Java and PHP scripts. The database is made up of the information that is there on the site. This includes the words on the page, the comments and any other information that the user provides.

It is important to backup both parts of the site. The loss of database would mean the loss of all written content while with the loss of files; all the multimedia and the very theme of the site are lost. Both complement each other and should be given equal priority. WordPress states that it is optimal to have at least three back-ups.

Now when considering back-up, there are two ways one can do that. The first method is manual updating. There are a few ways by which this can be done; some of which are explained in the WordPress codex itself and one call follow the instructions to back-up the site. The second method is using plug-ins. There are n-number of plugins now available in the market, both Premium and free, which help in backing-up the site.

Manual Backup:

One of the most common ways to back-up the files and the databases is by creating a copy of them in the local hard drive. This can be done by accessing the files through File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

• Create ‘New Folder’ in the system
• Open the FTP client.
• Search for the recently created folder through the FTP client.
• Next navigate to the public_html directory.
• From the public_html directory, select wp-content and drag it to the ‘New Folder’.

A backup has now been created on the desktop.

One can also backup the files and databases using cPanel (a Linux-based web hosting control panel). The cPanel provides both full back-up and partial back-up. Full back-up is both the files and the databases while partial back-up is either the files or the databases.

Another option that is available in the manual back-up process is by accessing phpMyAdmin – a free and open source tool, written in PHP to handle the administration of MySQL through the web. For backing-up,

• Log into phpMyAdmin on the server.
• From the window on the left, select the WordPress database.
• Select the ‘Export’ tab that is on the right side window.
• Select the ‘Quick’ option and click on ‘Go’.
• When the download prompt appears, save the file on the system.

These are some of the methods to manually back-up the files and the databases.

Using Backup Plugins:

The first criteria while using plug-ins is to ensure autonomous back up. If not, then one can rather resort to stick to manually backing up the site. It should be easy to use, back-up the entire site and have support, in case of any technical glitch or issue.

Currently, there over 3500, premium and free, plug-ins that is available for WordPress backup. The premium plug-ins, obviously have more to offer, since they are paid for. Also, they have real time support and any error can be corrected with immediate effect. That doesn’t really mean that the free plugins are far inferior to their premium counterparts. With hundreds of thousands using them, they are indeed highly effective.

Given below are a few examples of both premium and free plug-ins.

UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration – It is the most popular plug-in with over 500,000 installs. It can be used to back up files to the cloud via online file storage solutions including Amazon S3, Google Drive and Dropbox.

UpdraftPlus also has a premium version which provides 1GB of back-up storage on Updraft Vault, additional back-up options, secure FTP, ability to clone databases, automatic backup while updating WordPress themes and the ability to send backups to remote destinations.

WP-DB-Backup – It is another popular plug-in with over 500,000 installs. The drawback with WP-DB-backup is that it backs-up only the database and not the files.

Duplicator – Another plug-in with over half a million clients, it doesn’t just back up the data, but backs-up the entire WordPress site itself. Using Duplicator, the entire site can be migrated, copied, or cloned from one location to another.

BackWPup Free – With over 300,000 users, BackWPup Free is another popular, free plug-in. It provides clients the option to use an external backup service. It is also one of the few plug-ins that provides the option to optimize, check, and repair the database.

BackupBuddy – A premium plug-in, it can be used to create full database and files backup, and easily move the site to another server.

The site can be backed-up to a hard disk and a variety of external storage services including Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, Dropbox, and BackupBuddy Stash.

VaultPress: It is one of the most expensive plug-ins available in the market and clients pay per site. However, it is worthy of its price as it has a lot of great features including real time backups, automated restores, and spam protection.

There are equally good Manual as well as plug-in options available for backing-up WordPress sites and people usually go for one or the other. But it is highly advisable to combine both because the probability of losing the site data diminishes drastically.