Continuing our series on the benefits of a WordPress website support package, this post looks at why it’s so important to backup your WordPress website, and how best to go about it.
People often ask us:
- Why do I need to backup my website?
- What do I need to backup?
- How often do I need to take backups?
- Can’t I just click on “export” in the dashboard?
- Doesn’t someone else do all this for me?
- How do I backup my website?
- What’s the easiest way to backup my website?
Why do I need to backup my website?
Websites can, and do, go wrong from time to time. The three most common reasons for this are:
Whilst updating WordPress itself, or a WordPress plugin, or a WordPress theme, the update does not run properly and something goes wrong. If this is the case, you may be faced with a blank screen and you will need to restore your website and start again.
Changes to your website
Sometimes, if you make changes to your website, some files may not update properly or they may get corrupted. Whilst this is rare, you will be very grateful for a backup if this does happen to you.
Your website is hacked
Websites can and do get hacked. It’s far more common than most people realise. If you do not have a copy of your website to restore from, then all your hard work will have gone to waste.
A backup is like an insurance policy for your website. If the worst happens and something goes wrong, you will be able to restore your website from the backup and save many hours of heartache, hassle and expense.
What do I need to backup?
This is where lots of people go wrong. A WordPress website has 2 main parts; the database and the files. Your website content – e.g. the words in the posts and pages that you put on your site – sits in the database. The files are what makes up the structure of your website. The files also include any images on your website. So you need to take a copy of both the files AND the database in order to be able to restore your website.
How often do I need to backup my website?
If you often make changes to your site, you need to backup more frequently. For many people, a weekly backup of both the database and the files will be sufficient. Always take a full copy (of the files AND the database) before you upgrade to a new version of WordPress, before you install any new plugins, before you update your WordPress theme and before making any major changes to your website.
Can’t I just click on “export” in the dashboard?
Whilst this is better than nothing, this will only export your pages, posts and comments. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to restore your website structure from this.
Doesn’t someone else do all this for me?
Never, ever rely on someone else to do your backups for you unless you are absolutely sure that you know what they are doing for you. Frequently, website hosts will say that they backup your website for you. Whilst they do run backups, this is to protect themselves (and not you)! In an emergency, they may be able to restore your site for you, but they are usually under no obligation to do so. But there is no guarantee that they will have a recent copy of your website, and no guarantee that they will be able to retrieve your website. Generally speaking, it’s not your web host’s responsibility to make backups available to you.
How do I backup my website?
You can backup manually with an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) service (such as FileZilla), you can use cpanel, or you can use a WordPress plugin to backup your website. But remember to keep the backup in a separate location from your website! Once you’ve found a method that you are happy with, don’t forget to test the process to make sure that you can restore your website should the worst happen. For more information on how to backup your own WordPress website, please read this official WordPress advice.
What’s the easiest way to backup my website?
If all this sounds like too much of a headache, the easiest way to make sure your website is looked after correctly is to invest in a regular monthly website support package. These packages really do take all the hassle out of looking after your website. Our premium support packages for WordPress include regular backups of your website. We also restore your website for you should anything go wrong. So you never have to worry about backing up your website. Our packages start from £99+VAT per month, and include many other features and benefits. To find out more about what’s included, please visit our Premium WordPress Support Packages page.