Having a reliable backup of your WordPress site is incredibly important if you don’t want to lose all your online work. In this post, we’ll cover some WordPress backup basics and how to backup a WordPress site in five simple steps.

how to backup wordpress site

WordPress Backup Basics

Before we begin, it’s important to cover some WordPress backup basics.

WordPress doesn’t have a built-in backup system.

By default, the WordPress software running your website doesn’t have a built-in backup system. So, it’s important to take the necessary steps to make sure you have a WordPress backup strategy in place.

You basically have three options when it comes to WordPress backups:

  1. Rely on your web host (or service provided by your web host) to backup your WordPress site
  2. Perform a manual backup by downloading all WordPress files from your server – see instructions here from the WordPress codex for backing up your WordPress site.
  3. Use a WordPress backup plugin like BackupBuddy

Pros & Cons of WordPress Backup Options

In the chart below, we outline some of the most important features of a WordPress backup solution and how each option shapes up.

WordPress Backup Plugin (BackupBuddy) Backup Service through Web Host Manual Backup
Automatic, Scheduled Backups ✔ (check with host to confirm frequency) ✘ (manual process)
Backup All Files + Database ✔ (check with host to confirm Media Files + all files in site directory are included)
Fast & Easy Restores ✔ (check with host to confirm)
Database Rollbacks ✔ (check with host to confirm)
Migration (Move to New Host or Domain) ✘ (usually requires support tech) ✘ (requires additional steps)
Downloadable Backup Zip Files ✔ (check with host to confirm) ✘ (files won’t be zipped by default)
Off-site Storage of Backup Files ✔ (includes multiple options) ✔ (check with host to confirm storage location) ✘ (you’ll have to set this up on your own)
Performance Relies on Quality of Host ✔ (Some shared hosting plans limit server resources, loopbacks, etc.)

Why Use a WordPress Backup Plugin Like BackupBuddy?

Since host backup quality varies widely and manual backups are far too time-consuming, we recommend using a WordPress backup plugin to backup your WordPress site. Using a backup plugin will save you time, ensure you own your backup files and site data, and allow you to easily restore (or move) your WordPress site.

Our recommendation: Use BackupBuddy to save time and automate backups.

As explained in the chart above, running a backup plugin to handle backups for you has several advantages. One important component of a successful backup strategy is the ability to set up scheduled, automatic WordPress backups.

Not sure if BackupBuddy is right for you? Check out this guide for finding the best WordPress backup plugin.

BackupBuddy includes a ton of backup scheduling options that most backup services provided by your host don’t actually offer, including yearly, twice yearly, every three months, once monthly, twice monthly, once weekly, twice weekly, every other day, once daily, twice daily and once hourly. If you are using a backup solution through your host, confirm their backup scheduling options can run to match how frequently your site is updated.

Another advantage of using a plugin is that you actually own your backup files and data. With a plugin like BackupBuddy, you can download your backup zip files to your computer or store them in a secure, off-site storage destination of your choosing. You don’t have to request a zip file from a service, wait on file delivery, or get stuck with an incomplete backup.

BackupBuddy also handles restoring your WordPress site if something goes wrong. A WordPress backup and restore feature is the second component of a complete WordPress backup solution. What good is a backup if you can’t do anything with it?

Last, BackupBuddy also allows you to move your WordPress site to a new host or domain. Owning your website files means not being locked into a poor web host. BackupBuddy’s WordPress migration feature makes it possible to easily change hosts, servers or your WordPress site’s domain name.

How to Backup a WordPress Site: 5 Simple Steps

1. Follow the normal WordPress plugin installation methods to install and activate the BackupBuddy plugin on your WordPress site.

Complete the Quick Setup Wizard to fill out some necessary backup settings.


2. Run a complete backup of your WordPress site. Download the zip file of your WordPress site backup.

Navigate to the BackupBuddy > Backups page and click the (Full) Complete Backup button. BackupBuddy will go to work backing up your WordPress site’s database and files, zipping up the files and verifying the backup integrity.

wordpress site backup

You can download your backup zip file immediately here by clicking the “Download backup file” button.

3. Set up Remote Destinations to store your WordPress Backups.

Your backup files should be stored safely off-site in a secure, remote storage location. From the BackupBuddy > Remote Destinations page, you con configure your Remote Destinations settings here.

wordpress backup

BackupBuddy supports several remote destinations, including WordPress backup to Dropbox and WordPress backup to Google Drive.

4. Set up Backup Schedules so backups run automatically.

The next important step is to make sure WordPress backup schedules are set up and running. Setting up these schedules means you don’t have to manually run backups; BackupBuddy will just handle your WordPress backups automatically for you.

Visit the BackupBuddy > Schedules page to configure your settings. From here, you can select backup intervals and where to deliver backups once they complete.


5. Enable Stash Live for real-time, cloud-based backups.

BackupBuddy 7.0 introduced a new cloud-based, real-time WordPress backup system. All BackupBuddy users get 1GB of free backup storage space, so enable Stash Live to take advantage of this redundant backup.

From the BackupBuddy menu, visit the Stash Live page. Enter your iThemes username and password and Stash Live will go to work building a complete snapshot of your WordPress site.

real time wordpress backup

Backup Your WordPress Site Today

To start backing up your WordPress site, you can grab your license for BackupBuddy. If you have questions or need help, leave a comment below or iThemes Community members can open a support ticket from the iThemes Help Desk.

Get BackupBuddy now

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