Your website is always vulnerable to threats that can either damage your website or take it completely offline. If you are not prepared for this, you could end up losing everything you’ve put lots of hard work and money into.
Today I’m going to talk about keeping up-to-date backups of your website so that you can always go back to a previous version if all else fails.
What can go wrong with your WordPress website
Let’s start by talking about some of the things that could go wrong on your WordPress website in which case you would need a backup.
- Malware and Viruses – if your site was ever to become infected by malware or viruses, one of the quickest ways to restore the site back to an on infected version is to go back to a previous backup. This is of course if you can identify when the infection took place, otherwise, you may have infected backups as well. Assuming that you have a clean backup, this can save you time and money by not having to use website cleanup services.
- Bad software updates – WordPress websites have software running behind-the-scenes to deliver the features and functions of the website. These have to be updated on a regular basis to keep them secure and to add new features. Sometimes, however, running these updates can cause problems on your website due to incompatibilities or other issues. Being able to revert to a backup is critical in these cases so that you can quickly reverse any updates that have been carried out.
- Accidental file deletion – sometimes we may accidentally delete a file associated with our website which turns out to be pretty important. The same could also happen on our hosting service, anything can go wrong on their end which causes you to lose files. The only way to get these back is if you have a copy backed up elsewhere.
Ways to back up your website
“There are two sets of files that need to be backed up..”
Now that we understand the importance of backing up our WordPress website, let’s take a look at a few options available to us to help us carry out backups.
There are two ways that you can go about backing up your website, manual or automatic. For simplicity and practicality, we’re going to discuss the automatic options using plug-ins as the manual option requires extra advanced knowledge and expertise to be able to do it successfully.
It is important to understand that there are two sets of files that need to be backed up on your site; the actual media files or page-related files, and the database which stores all the settings and configurations.
It is also worth noting that some website hosting services may offer you backups as well, however, we want to make sure that we are in control of our backups ourselves, just in case anything goes wrong on their end, you have your own backups that you can restore at any point.
Here are a couple of WordPress backup plugins that I use:
- Updraftplus – this is a free plug-in that also has a paid option available for you to back up and restore your entire WordPress website files and database. If gives you the option to either download the files and to your computer, or you can use a cloud service to store them such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
One of the great features that I love about Updraftplus is that it allows you to schedule backups automatically. This means instead of manually going in and creating these backups you can set a schedule for multiple frequencies such as monthly, weekly, or daily. You have the option to also choose how many copies of your backups are kept on file before they are automatically deleted. Restoring your files is as simple as clicking the restore button for the selected backup, and within a few minutes, your website will revert to that particular backup.
- WPvivid – WP vivid is another plug-in I use that has similar features to UpdraftPlus. It is also a free plugin with premium features available if you’d like to upgrade. The primary use for this plug-in for me is to be able to clone and migrate websites from one hosting service to another. Normally to get a good plug-in to do this you have to pay for this feature, so I was happy to discover that the free version of WP Vivid does this, and does it very well.
Of the plug-ins mentioned above can be found inside the WordPress repository as well as directly on their specific websites.
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