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How to Backup a WordPress Website?

How to Backup a WordPress Website?

For many WordPress website owners, the most important task is not designing or writting posts, but ensuring the website is always available for visitors. Therefore, backup your WordPress site is very necessary.

Why to Backup WordPress?

Keep an online WordPress presence secure is not very easy because there are many accidents, attacks and hacks happened. According to statistics, there are more than 10,000 websites facing failures every day because of the following reason:

  • server malfunction
  • human cause
  • malicious hackers
  • simply overload

Any failure may lead to your site files gettting erased or corrupted that you may lose everything your write on your website. No one has full ability to control all of these issues. So it’s especially important to take presentative measures even when the website is running well. If you have backup your WordPress already, you can quickly restore the site back to normal with the backup database and files.

Then, how to backup a WordPress site? Typically, there are two ways to backup a WordPress – by backup plugins or manual approach. Below, we introduce the manual approach which gives you full control to your data.

Backup WordPress Manually

WordPress has a built-in Import and Export system to allow users to upload a local file or download an online file to local disk. We can use the Export system to backup WordPress site, including posts, pages, fields, categories, tags and comments. However, the shortage is that attachments files are unable to be backed up.

The operation is quite easy. Log into your WordPress admin panel, go to Tools -> Export. You can find it on the right hand side in the submenu of Tools.

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Then click Export, you will be taken to the Export page where you can choose what to export. There are three choices: All content, Posts, and Pages. You can choose what you want to back up. Here, we choose All content which includes all of the posts, terms, pages, navigation menus, custom posts, comments, and custom fields.

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At last, download the export file by clicking the button. The WordPress will create an XML file for you to save to your local computer. Note that you should pay attention to the location where you put the file in case you can quickly find it when you restore.

If you want to restore your data, it’s also easy to handle. Just go to Tools – > Import, you can see the following Import page.

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Click WordPress and it will appear a pop-up window reminds you to install Install Importer. You can see the interface as following.

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You can simply click the read “Install Now” button, and then activate the plugin and run the importer later by clicking the related button. The process may take several minutes.

Once activated Importer, you will be linked to the Import WordPress page. You can click “Choose File ” button to choose a file from your computer. Note that the file should be smaller than 8 MB.

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Click the bottom “Upload file and import” button. Then you can see the page with assign author option. This is an useful function that allows users to assign author to another user or create a new account. Especially, it is effective for merging the content from two websites together. Don’t forget to check the box as the following image displayed.

Import file list

Click “Submit” button to start upload. Then WordPress will show you a list of files was imported into your site. If the content already existed, it won’t be uploaded again. So, you don’t need to worry about your website has two same pages or posts.

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Backup WordPress Automatically Using Plugins

The entire process is simple and easy to finish for advanced and experienced webmasters. For newbies and beginners, however, the use of WordPress backup plugins is better, for they can carry out the whole process automatically. In below, we have made a list of the top 5 plugins which can help you backup WordPress sites entirely to secure your files and databases.


Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-db-backup/

WP-DB-Backup is one of the most popular backup plugins. It has great advantages on ease, easy to set up and work well with almost of all the hosting providers. However, you should note that this plugin only backs up the database, not for other files.

If you want to restore your backups, it’s brief. Login into phpMyAdmin, click databases, and select the database you will be importing your data. Click the Import tab on the top of the screen and click the Browse button on the next screen, locate the backup file, and click the Go button at last.


Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/plugins/backupwordpress/

BackUpWordPress is a useful plugin which helps you simple automated back ups of your WordPress powered website. It can back up your whole site including the database and all your files on a schedule which suits you. By default, it backs up everything in your site root as well as your database.


Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/plugins/backwpup/

BackWPup is the best back up plugin for WordPress, serving over 60,000 users and being downloaded more than 820,000 times. With the huge user base and excellent reputation in the field, it is listed in the top 50 of all WordPress plugins. Eventually, you can save the entire WordPress installation.


Plugin URL: http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-dbmanager/

WP-DBManager is a plugin helping you manage your WordPress database in every aspect. Be similar to other WordPress backup plugins, WP-DBManager uses mysqldump application to generate the back and mysql application to restore them.


Plugin URL: http://ithemes.com/purchase/backupbuddy/

BackupBuddy is a very useful plugin. If you want to restore your WordPress site, it can help you fast. Upload importbuddy.php and the backup file and it can restore your WordPress sites. Moreover, You don’t need to install WordPress at first. As well, you can pinpoint files to restore individually, instead of having to restore the complete site.

If you build custom WordPress site, and want to transfer it, this plugin is right for you. It’s also great for quickly creating a site copy to test a new plugin or theme. And it will handles all the URL and path changes when you move to a new domain or subdirectory. So you don’t need to do a big find and replace.

Special Tips

In fact, backing up the WordPress site is not a difficult task. You can do this easily by following the steps we have introduced in this post. In spite of this, however, we still want to give you some special tips about backup, which are the common questions raised by WordPress users.

What is the Full WordPress Backup?

Considering the website backup, the first thing you consider might be your database, for it contains all the data for your posts, links, images, and comments, and many more. In addition to this, the core files for the WordPress, themes, and plugins also need to be backed up. After all, if one of these files has been removed to destroyed, your site cannot run properly. Besides, if your site has some JavaScript or PHP scripts, you also need to back up them.

When to Back Up the Website?

In fact, this depends on you totally. Whenever you have made a huge change on your site, you’d better have a backup before you making a change. If there is no big change, we strongly suggest you to back up the site once a month. Note that you’d better keep the backup file copied and located in different places, in the case that a single file is damaged.


Joyce is a professional writer & SEOer who loves trying new things and sharing the experience through blogging. She loves clean design, playing with different WordPress themes, SEO, etc. Very often, you could find her in various WordPress event as invited speakers.