Backup your WordPress site – Best Practices

WordPress Performance 8 min read
Last Update on December 9, 2022

All professional web developers stress how important it is to back up websites. This is a very important thing to do to keep your site safe and fully functional. People who use WordPress and other web hosting services like it need to be extra careful with this task. Here are the best ways for developers of WordPress sites to back up their sites.

Why Are Backups Important?

First and foremost, website backups are a plan B in case someone makes a mistake. Even the most experienced WordPress users make common mistakes, but backups let us fix our mistakes and retain our websites functioning perfectly.

There are several other reasons to take backups seriously:

  • Reverses problematic updates: Sometimes a new update backfires and hurts the layout or user experience of your website. With backups, you can undo those bad updates.
  • Protects data: You won’t lose or mess up important data if you restore your site to a previous version.
  • Addresses site compatibility issues: If your site isn’t compatible with a new theme, installation, or add-on, you can back it up and undo the changes.
  • Bolsters cybersecurity: Backups can help you get rid of malware and regain control of your site if a hacker gets in.
  • Tests website features: If you’re adding a new feature to your site, you can run the feature without worrying and make a backup if something goes wrong.
  • Ensures consistent revenue: Downtime on a website can be very expensive. Your site will be down less often and your income will stay steady if you back it up often.

Making regular backups of your website is essential. It’s a high-stakes responsibility that all web developers and business owners who want to get the most out of their sites must practice. If you use WordPress, the habits we talk about below will be especially important for keeping your site safe and successful.

Automatic Backups

The most crucial thing WordPress users need to do is run automatic backups. You can’t be sure that you’ll be able to manually back up your site every day. So you need to find another way. Most automated backup services can connect to your website using the file transfer protocol (FTP) or the secure shell protocol (SSH), so you don’t have to install anything new.

The service will set up automatic backup tasks and run them without your assistance, so you can use your time and energy elsewhere. Smart cybersecurity standards include updates that happen over and over again. Plan your automatic backups along with everything else you have to do as an administrator.

Periodic Manual Backups

Automatic backups are easy and convenient, but you shouldn’t rely on them to keep your website up to date. Manual backups should still be done from time to time. WordPress says that you should have at least three copies of your site in different places.

If you do things by hand, you can back up your files whenever you want. You have full control over the data backup tasks, and making backups often doesn’t cost anything extra. You can back up your files from your site’s admin page or by downloading them through FTP and using phpMyAdmin to back up the data.

Manual backups might take more time and effort than automatic backups, but they teach you more about your website’s data and how it is organized. Just make sure you set a reminder because forgetting to do a manual backup could cost you more money and cause problems with how the system works. Site managers must be serious about this job.

Data Encryption

You should also encrypt your backups and plugins to make sure your data stays the same if and when you need to recover it. It also keeps people from getting in who shouldn’t. Here’s how to get WordPress to start encrypting data:

  1. Go to Total Upkeep > Settings > Backup Security in your WordPress dashboard.
  2. To turn on database encryption, click the radio button next to “Enabled.”
  3. To get your encryption token, click the “Show” button. Put the token on the clipboard.
  4. Put the token somewhere safe outside of the website.
  5. Click “Save Changes” and refresh the page.

For some people, data encryption is a need, not an obligation. WordPress is very serious about security, so all custom domains must be encrypted with a secure sockets layer (SSL). Your site will be even safer if you encrypt your backups and plugins by hand.

Website Plugins

In addition to making regular manual backups, you might want to use website plugins. You can add a plugin to the admin page or use one of the following external plugins:

  • BackWPup
  • Jetpack
  • WPvivid
  • UpdraftPlus
  • Yoast SEO

Most WordPress plugins are free or very cheap. They add backup features to your website without making changes to the admin page that aren’t necessary. Some plugins also have scheduling options that let them become part of your automatic backup strategy.

Using a lot of plugins can be bad in some ways. A disgruntled employee could easily disable or delete them. WordPress could also block a plugin if it makes the web server work too hard. Make sure your hardware can handle more than one plugin before you install it.

Preserve Your Hard Work

If you back up your WordPress site, it will be safer, run better, and make you more money. But the most important thing is that it will keep your hard work safe. Don’t let a small mistake or bug ruin your site as a whole. Make sure your work doesn’t go to waste by regularly making copies of your site in more than one place.

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