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How To Back Up Your WordPress Website

We believe that you can never have enough backups (or know too much about backing up your website!), so here’s a quick walkthrough of the different ways you can back up your website so you’re always in control.

Backups can be used for a range of things, from undoing a significant change you’ve made to your site, to restoring the last known clean version of your website in the event of a security breach, to making sure you have a full copy of your website “just in case.”

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Creating a backup strategy

There are lots of different strategies for backing up your website, so there’s no one size fits all solution; a lot will come down to your website and your own needs and preferences. The main things you want to consider are consistency, cost, convenience, and security.

Consistency – How will you back up your website? If you’re choosing an automated option, it’s relatively hands off – you just want to double check it’s still running and backing up as expected every so often. If you’re downloading or uploading backups yourself, you’ll want to set a recurring calendar reminder you can stick to.

Cost – The more backups you have, the more expensive it starts to get. You can delete backups to free up space, but remember you’ll benefit from having a variety of older backups to choose from. So you want to back up very frequently, make sure you have the budget in place, otherwise you may not be able to go as far back as you like. For example, if you back up daily, you’ll use approximately the same amount of space in a week as you’d do in two months if you backed up weekly. Cost is likely to be more of a factor if you’re using cloud storage providers such as Dropbox.

Convenience – How easy are your backups to access? What format are they in? Do you have the database as well as the files? Have you lost them somewhere in the cloud or on an old hard drive, or do you have them neatly stored and dated in different locations? Are you backing up to your own web space simply because it’s easier? How quickly could you find a backup should you need one? And how easy would it be to know what that backup contained?

Security – Where you back up to has a big impact on security. If you use a plugin that backs up to your own web space, it’s easy for someone with access to your site to just delete everything anyway. If you have your website backup on your computer hard drive, it could fail. If you have it in the cloud, that cloud service could be inaccessible just when you need it most. And so on. This is why it’s best to have multiple backups in multiple locations. The more varied your backups are, the more chance you have of data recovery should the worst happen.

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How often should I back up my website?

Some people want to back up hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. If you update your website a lot, for example you have a team of people making changes all the time, hourly backups are can be a good idea. If you’re a blogger and you post daily, weekly, or less, then daily and/or weekly backups are likely to be the better option for you. If you’re not sure what to pick, daily or weekly backups are a good middle ground.


Where to store your website backups

We’d recommend having backups in at least one cloud and one local location. For example, you could have backups in Dropbox and backups on your computer. Or backups in Google Drive and backups on a separate external hard drive. It’s always good to have a mix for peace of mind.

When using cloud providers, make sure you’re following best practice security advice, including having a strong unique password, and two factor authentication switched on. If you’re not sure how to set that up, contact your storage provider directly or search to see if they have a walkthrough.


How to download a backup of your website from your hosting control panel

If you’re a Lyrical Host customer with an active hosting plan, we back up all your websites and databases automatically every 24 hours. You can download a full backup any time you like from LyricalCP, or restore your website from one of our backups.

1. Log into https://cp.lyricalhost.com with your usual details (if you’ve not created your LyricalCP user before, you’ll need to do that first: Log in to the Client Area of the Lyrical Host Hub (https://hub.lyricalhost.com/clientarea.php) using the details you just signed up to us with. Then click ‘Services’ and then your hosting package. Click the ‘Log in to Control Panel’ button and then ‘Change Password’ link in the top navigation bar. Your Lyrical Host Control Panel username is the email address you signed up to us with. You use that and the password you just set to log in).

2. Select ‘Manage’ next to the hosting package you wish to back up.

3. Select ‘Backup/Restore’ under the ‘Files’ subheading.

4. You can back up just your files, just your database, or both, by selecting the checkboxes and pressing ‘Create Backup.’

5. Once the Status changes to Backup Complete, you can select ‘Download,’ which downloads your backup to your computer.

If you’re not hosted with us, your website host may offer you the ability to download backups from your control panel, so you’d need to check that with them. Alternatively, you could take a backup of your website using a plugin, which is outlined below.


How to back up your WordPress website using a plugin

Another way to take backups of your website is to use a plugin. Backup plugins allow you to set your own schedule for backups, and also enable you to back up to cloud storage providers such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive.

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Always set your backup plugin to either back up to your cloud storage or your computer; never back up to your web space, FTP, email, or similar. This is to ensure that your backups are stored in a separate location for better security, and to stop your backups eating up your web space.

Most backup plugins are pretty straightforward to set up, and you just need to go into their settings in your WordPress Dashboard to get started. Here are some step-by-step instructions for two of the most popular backup plugins, Updraft Plus and BackupBuddy:


How to back up your website using Updraft Plus

1. Install the plugin by logging into your WordPress Dashboard at whatever-your-website-url-is.com/wp-admin and going to Plugins > Add New. From there you can search for “UpdraftPlus,” then click “Install” and “Activate.”

2. Go to Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups, then choose the “Settings” tab.

3. From here you can choose how often you want your files to be backed up and where they should be backed up to.

4. Once you’ve selected a cloud service such as Dropbox or Google to back up to, you’ll need to follow through the instructions for linking your accounts and authorizing them. This usually occurs in the form of entering your details for your account and clicking the “Allow” or “Authorize” button.

5. After that you’ll be taken to the UpdraftPlus confirmation screen, where you’ll need to click the “Complete setup” button.

6. To finish, scroll down to the bottom of your WordPress Dashboard page and click “Save Changes.”


How to back up your website using BackupBuddy

1. After installing and activating the plugin, click “BackupBuddy” in your WordPress Dashboard sidebar if you aren’t automatically directed there.

2. Complete the “Quick Setup Wizard.”

3. Click “Remote Destinations” under “BackupBuddy” in your WordPress Dashboard sidebar and click “Add New.” Choose from BackupBuddy Stash, Amazon S3, Google Drive, or Dropbox. Please do not select FTP, Email, SFTP or Local Directory Copy.

4. Follow the provided directions to authorize your preferred cloud storage service. Be sure to save all changes.

5. Next, back in the “BackupBuddy” part of your WordPress Dashboard sidebar, click “Schedules.” Choose how often to back up your website and where to back it up to, then make sure the “Enable new schedule” box is checked.

Having backups is vital if you care about your website, and you just never know when a backup may come in handy. Following the steps and advice above should help you feel more confident about your backup strategy, but if you have any questions, please leave a comment below (or raise a ticket if you’re one of our customers). Enjoy!


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Learn how to back up your WordPress website safely! This easy walkthrough has several different solutions you can use to keep your data safe.

Jenni Brown
Co-founder of Lyrical Host, Jenni has been in the web hosting industry for years and specializes in social media, copywriting, search engine optimization, and email marketing. She loves cats, baking, photography, and gaming.

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