Last week I showed you how to backup your WordPress blog using the Export function or various plugins that would do the job partially. Remember, you will only get part of the database backed up while all other files will be left on the server.
In this post you’ll find more advanced techniques of backing up your WordPress blog. By the end of it, you’ll be able to backup your complete database and WordPress’ files, including your themes, plugins, theme modifications and whatnot. Let’s get started:
Backing Up Your WordPress Files
We’ll split this guide into 2 parts:
- Backing up files;
- Backing up database.
Let’s start with the backup of the files, as this is somewhat simpler than backing up the database. Why would you even want to backup the files, right? Well, every image that you have in your blog posts isn’t saved in the database. If you ever modified your blog’s theme it’s saved in the various files in WordPress. Therefore, backing up the database isn’t enough for a complete and true backup.
You will need a FTP client (like FileZilla or TotalCommander) and your server information (address, login info) which you should have gotten from your hosting provider. Enter that information into your FTP application and connect to the server. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and it’s a standard way of moving files from a local computer to servers and vice versa.
You should now navigate to a folder called public_html, or www in some cases. You would usually upload your websites and other files to this folder. Now, let’s locate the files you need to backup: If you uploaded your WordPress blog into a single folder, which is probably named wordpress, blog or something like that, just download that folder. Save it on your local computer, archive it, get it into Dropbox or on a USB memory stick.
In the case that your blog is all over the public_html folder, you will need to locate three folder and some files. The folder names are:
…and the rest of the files are also easy to find as their names start with the “wp-“ prefix. Download those files and folders. Now you’ve backed up your files via FTP.
If you don’t have access to your server via FTP, you should contact your hosting provider to enable it for you. You can also try to download the files inside the control panel of your server. If you ever need to restore your blog, just upload the files to the same place from where you downloaded them (overwriting the old files).
Backing Up the Database with phpMyAdmin
Once you have backed up your WordPress files, it’s time to backup your complete database. We’ll use a tool called phpMyAdmin for this. It’s an application that 99% of servers have installed. It’s widely used for database administration and it will help us get (or restore) your blog’s database.
You can find phpMyAdmin in your servers’ control panel (in the database section) or sometimes by visiting http://yourblog.com/phpmyadmin/
The logic behind the following steps is simple; the database consists of numerous tables. Tables contain all of the data for your blog. You will select all the tables in the database and dump them. Don’t worry, dumping the database is an operation that will give us a simple textual file with all of our data inside it.
Log into your phpMyAdmin, find your database, and click on it. On the left, you can see all the tables contained in your database and on the right; you can see more information on them. Click on the Export button at the top.
This is where most of the work is done. In the Export section, click Select All to select every table in the database. Choose SQL from the different formats. Now move over to the Structure part, where you should check Add DROP TABLE. Finally, check the Save as file box, enter a name for your backup and choose no compression for the file. Click on the Go button and your file will start downloading. Beware; depending on the size of your blog, this file might get big. My got up to 16 MBs.
If you ever need to restore your database, choose Export instead of Import and upload the dump file.
I hope that now you’ll do backup regularly! If there are any questions or comments, add them in the comments before backing up your blog.