16 Jul 2017

Manually Backup your WordPress Website

There’s lots of WordPress backup plugins available that will help you back up your WordPress installation, either on a one-off basis or to a set schedule, but sometimes I feel most secure knowing I’ve made a manual backup which I can archive off somewhere.

In this post, I’ll show you the process I use to backup my WordPress installations on our standard web hosting using the eXtend Control. The steps may vary from host to host but the concepts and steps are essentially the same.

With WordPress, any changes you make to the website files outside of a blank WordPress install will be made within the wp-content directory. As it’s always possible to download a fresh install of WordPress from wordpress.org, I generally only backup the wp-content directory. All of your content such as pages, posts, comments and products are stored in the WordPress database.

The general principle then is

  1. Backup wp-content directory
  2. Backup WordPress database

Step 1 – Login to your webhost control panel and navigate to your files

If using Watch the Dot hosting, details on how to login to your hosting account can be found here

Step 2 – Navigate into the public_html directory and compress wp-content

You can compress a directory by right clicking and selecting pack. Select the .zip file type.

Step 3 – Download your wp-content.zip file and archive

After a few moments you should have a file called wp-content.zip within your file structure. You can click on this to download and save offline<

Step 4 – Navigate to your database

Within your Watch the Dot control panel, navigate to “Web Tools” > “MySQL Databases” > “Manage”

Step 5 – Select your WordPress database

You should now be within the phpMyAdmin tool for managing your MySQL WordPress database. You will need to select your WordPress database. If you only have one WordPress install, this is likely to be the one that isn’t called INFORMATION SCHEMA. (note: If you have more than one install or a number of databases, you will need to look inside your wp-config.php file within the public_html directory to determine which database your WordPress install uses).

Step 6 – Export your database

Once you have selected your database, select the tab marked ‘Export’ along the top row. This will open the Export screen. You can select the defaults and hit Go. This will automatically download a file to your local PC.

You should now have two files – your wp-content.zip back up file and you database backup. You can now archive these away somewhere safe. Note that any changes made to your website after this backup has been made will not be saved in this backup!

If you need assistance backing up your WordPress install, you can submit a WordPress support request here

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