Backing Up Your WordPress Installation

Backup VaultWhen I finally committed to performing a complete redesign for my fine art website, I investigated many possible options. As my previous blog post revealed, I opted to use the popular WordPress platform because of its great support community, responsive theme capability, incredible array of functional plugin options, the ease with which one can add new images to a portfolio and create blog posts, and most importantly there would be no need for me to code the entire website from scratch. I became so enamored with WordPress’ slick functionality that I completely forgot about one extremely important facet of website development: backing up your website and data.

In the past, all my website development took place locally on my desktop utilizing a simple text editor and an FTP client. I designed the site, uploaded it to the server, and backed up the entire site to a separate backup drive for safe-keeping. Actually, I have two backup drives for redundant protection as you can never be too safe when it comes to saving your hard work. At any one time, I may have close to 200 original paintings for sale and with each painting comes images, text entries, shopping cart short code, and even video. This is all precious information that I really don’t wish to lose.

With WordPress, however, my entire site was created through the administration screen. It didn’t dawn on me until just recently that if something goes wrong on the server, a file is corrupted, the site gets infected with malware, or some unethical individual decides to hack the website and do major damage, I have no backup. In fact, I was recently editing the .htaccess file on the server to speed the site up a bit, made a syntax error, and the site was completely inaccessible for a while until I was able to repair the damage I had done. This particular file is often the target of malicious attacks, by the way, since it is so easy to render a website useless (or worse) by messing with it. Up to this point, I had no local copies of the website or .htaccess file to rely upon in the event of a major web disaster. Because of this revelation, I decided to do a little research.

I knew I could simply use my FTP client to download the entire website to my harddrive but I also knew there had to be a more elegant solution available since there are so many non tech-savvy WordPress users out there who self-host their installations.

It turned out that there are several options available but many only backup the main WordPress database files and don’t protect the image folders, themes, .htaccess file, or main installation files. I was looking for a more all-inclusive solution than most of the options I found provided. After trying WordPress plugin after plugin, my exhaustive search continued until I ran across a plugin that completely met all my requirements. It is called Online Backup for WordPress and provides several different parameter selections, including cloud storage of the backup files (up to 100 mb of free space) and scheduled backup capability. The plugin can even email your backup files to you if it is desired. I have been using the plugin’s manual backup option with a downloadable compressed file. Thankfully, even the .htaccess file I mentioned earlier is included in the backup. I have taken a very in-depth look at the compressed backup file that the plugin produces and I am confident that it will be adequate if the need to restore my site is ever required.

You may or may not find that the above solution meets all your needs, particularly if you are not using a self-hosted version of WordPress but I certainly hope that this blog post prompts you to hunt for one that is. If I have motivated you to look for a backup solution for your blog that can save all your precious posts in the event of a disaster, I feel that this post has been worthwhile.

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Comments (2)
  • Bettye Harwell January 18, 2014

    Ken, thanks for this information. It should help a lot of bloggers.

    • Ken Powers January 18, 2014

      Thank you Bettye! Very kind of you!

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