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Backing Up Your WordPress Website

One of the worst things that can happen to you as a business owner is having your website go down, or even worse, hacked.

If this ever happens, one of the most important things that will help you get back online is a recent backup. That’s why it’s so important to have a strategic backup plan in place.

Your hosting provider will likely have a certain amount of backups, but these may not be sufficient for your needs and are not always dependable.  We recommended having off-site backups of your website, in addition to what your hosting provider offers.

If you are using WordPress, there are several plugins for creating backups. One that we recommend is Updraft Plus. They have a free version and a premium version. In this article, I will show you how to install, activate and configure the free version of the plugin. I will also show you how to send your backups to remote storage.

Install and Activating the Plugin

  1. To install the Updraft Plus plugin, first, go to your WordPress Dashboard, hover over Plugins and click Add New.Add a New WordPress Plugin
  2. In the Search Bar, type Updraft Plus. You will see the plugin displayed in the list of results. Click on the Install Now buttonto begin the installation process.Install Updraft Plus
  3. Once the plugin has been installed, the Install Now button will change to Activate. Click on Activate to complete the installation.Activate Updraft Plus
  4. When the installation has been completed, you will see a pop-up to start the configuration of the plugin. To begin, click the Click here to start! button.Start Updraft Plus Configuration
  5.  You will see another pop-up to take you on a tour of the plugin. You can view the tour or simlay close the pop-up.Close Updraft Plus Tour

Configuring your Backups

The first thing you may notice is that the plugin references Files and Database. In a WordPress website, files do not change very often. These are the files that make WordPress work, and only change when you update your WordPress application, install a new plugin, etc. The database is where your website’s information is stored, and this changes every time you publish (or update) a page or a post, when someone adds a comment, etc.  I’ll talk a bit more about this below.

Files vd Database

  1. To start the configuration process, click on the Settings tab.Updraft Plus Settings Tab
  2. This is where you will schedule your backups. You’ll see here that you can schedule your files and your database separately.Schedule Backups
  3. To schedule your backups, click on the dropdown and select the frequency that you wish to have your files and database backed up.Weekly Backup
  4. For Files, we suggest that you schedule weekly backups. As I mentioned above, your Database changes more frequently than your files, therefore it should be backed up more frequently. We suggest daily backups for the database.
  5. You will also need to configure the number of backups that you will want to retain. Do do this, use the arrows to increase/decrease the number, or simply type in the number.Configure Number Of Backups
  6. We recommend that you maintain at least 2 backups of your files. If you backup your files once a week, that will give you 2 weeks of file backups. For databases, we recommend that you maintain at least 14 backups of your database. If you backup your database once a day, this will give you 2 weeks of database backups.

Sending your Backups to Remote Storage

As mentioned above, it’s very important to store your backups in a remote location. That way, if any ever happened to your web host’s servers, you have an independent backup that can be used to recover your website.

You’ll notice that Updraft Plus offers a number of option for remote storage. Today, I’ll show you how to send your backups to Dropbox.

  1. To start, click on the Dropbox icon.DropBox Icon
  2. You’ll see that your choice becomes highlighted.DropBox Icon Highlighted
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Save Changes button (you can leave the other settings as is).Save Updraft Plus Changes
  4. You will then be asked to allow Updraft Plus to access your Dropbox account.Authorize Dropbox
  5. Click Complete Setup to give Updraft Plus authorsation and complete the setup.Complete Dropbox
  6. You will then be redirected back to your WordPress dashboard

Testing your Backup Configuration

The first thing you should do is create a backup to make sure your settings are correct and that your backups are being sent to the remote location that you have selected (in this case, it would be Dropbox).

  1. To do this, click on Backup Now.
    Backup Now
  2. Ensure Send this backup to remote storage is checked and click Backup Now.Backup Now
  3. When the backup is completed, you will see it in the backup list.Backup Completed
  4. The final step is to locate the file in your remote storage (in this case Dropbox). In Dropbox, the files are stored in a directory called Apps. You should see your backup, which will confirm that you have set up everything correctly.

I hope you found this walkthrough helpful. If you would like to learn more about keeping your website safe, download our FREE Guide – Five Essentials For Keeping Yoru WordPress Website Safe.

Mark Pridham

Mark Pridham is the owner of The Pridham Group, a digital agency based in Saint John, New Brunswick. A life long resident of Saint John, Mark is passionate about design, entrepreneurship, and supporting and promoting local businesses.

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