How often to backup your WordPress website. Plus a carefree way to do it…

How often should I backup my website

Wondering how often to backup your WordPress website? 

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.

Our website support packages include WordPress website backup services, so people often ask us:

  • Why do I need to backup my WordPress 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 WordPress website?

Websites can, and do, go wrong from time to time. The three most common reasons for this are:

WordPress updates

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. Some WordPress themes are worse than others for this. Whilst this is rare, you will be really glad that you have 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 backup of your website to restore from, then all your hard work will have gone to waste and you will have to start again from scratch.

A backup is like an insurance policy for your website. If the worst happens and something goes wrong, you (or your developer) 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. It’s important to know that 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 to backup your WordPress 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.

If you’ve got a WooCommerce website with regular orders coming in, then you might need to take a backup more frequently. In any case, always take a full copy (of the files and the database) before you:

  • upgrade to a new version of WordPress;
  • install any new plugins;
  • update your WordPress theme; or
  • make any major changes to your website.

Of course, how often to backup your WordPress website is really up to you, but it doesn’t take long and it could save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

Can’t I just click on “export” in the dashboard?

No. Whilst this is better than nothing, this will only export the content of 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?

Probably not. 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.

There is no guarantee that your host will have a recent copy of your website, and no guarantee that they will be able to retrieve your website. This is especially true if you’ve opted for cheap hosting! 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 WordPress 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.

Our support packages include website backup services, so you never need to worry about not having a backup in place. Or how often to backup your WordPress website, because it’s all taken care of for you.

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, or how often to backup your WordPress website again.

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.

If you’d like more information, Mike has also made a quick video about backups.

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