Install WordPress Backup Plugins
Some of the plugins I consider essential for anyone running a website on WordPress include those for backing up the site. You never want to lose your articles, and you also don’t want to lose all the work you’ve done tweaking the WordPress installation.
Get The WP Files AND The Database
Sometimes, people backup the site files (perhaps using their FTP client), but miss backing up the SQL database. The database is where all the articles and comments are stored. Or the reverse happens – their host backs up the database, but they fail to back up their WordPress configuration, and they lose hours of tweaking and configuration.
My Preferred Plugin For Backing Up the Database
For the database, I use WordPress Database Backup by Austin Matzko. I like that I can backup to my computer or to an email account. Sending backups to a Gmail account works well for many of my clients. You can backup at any time you choose, or schedule backups hourly, daily or weekly. You can choose optional tables to include in the backup – in general, if you’re unsure, include them.
Go to Tools, Backup in your administration panel to find the customization settings. While it depends on your frequency of posting, weekly backups work well for many sites.
My Preferred Plugin For Backing Up the WordPress Files
WordPress Backup (by BTE) will backup the upload directory (images), current theme directory, and plugins directory to a zip file, which can be mailed to an email account. Sometimes this file can get rather large, particularly if you have a lot of images, but for smaller sites it can be a very useful plugin. Again, you can choose hourly, daily, or weekly backups. Weekly is usually good for most sites unless you’re tweaking your theme a lot, or posting very frequently. The configuration for the plugin will be found under Settings, WordPress Backup.
When Something Goes Wrong
I’ve learned that the first thing to try when something goes wrong, before restoring backups, is to try disabling all plugins. If you can’t log into your site administration, you can do this through FTP. I’ll put something up soon about how to do that. If you know how to FTP into your site, just rename all your plugin folders. That will cause them to be “not found” and automatically disabled by WordPress. Often that’s enough to get you back into your site administration.
Automatic Backups Take Away Stress
It’s a good feeling to know that you have recent copies of everything when something goes wrong. Particularly before you do anything major, like upgrading WordPress, make sure you have fresh backups. You don’t want to be reduced to using the Wayback Machine to try to recover your articles, particularly since it usually only lists site pages more than six months old. Install these free WordPress plugins, and you’ll always have recent backups.