If you are using WordPress to build and maintain a website, then one of the most important things you need to know is when and how to backup your website. Things happen and sometimes calamity can strike a website; hackers can infect it with malware.
Server crashes cause lost data – permanently. But if you have a backup, then you are protected in that you can restore back to your previous save point. Here are some of the guidelines on when you should run a backup and how you can complete this task using a schedule.
To Backup or Not To Backup
The common sense reasoning would be that you need to backup your website as often as possible. However, this isn’t necessarily true. If you backup your website, you are going to need storage space to save that backup. This can fill your storage space up quickly if you backup too often.
If you are storing on your network server, this can also impede your site’s performance because a full storage space can slow down your computer. It may be a good idea to only backup your website when you update the site itself. If you are a blogger who only creates a new post on a weekly basis, then once a week should be fine. If you are posting new content daily, then you need to backup every day as well.
What Should You Backup?
There are four main types of files you need to backup.
First – your database. Without your database, your website would be a complete blank. This means that you absolutely must have a backup of your database and keep it up-to-date.
Your core files are important too and should be regularly backed up. These files control the website itself and will cause a full site collapse if you lose them.
Your content and configuration files only need to be backed up whenever you actually make substantial changes to them.
The configuration files are the settings of your website and these can be reset if needed.
What to do about Database Files?
If you are planning to do multiple, regular updates, you probably don’t want to house these on your network server. Instead, consider off-site, cloud-based storage such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox. All of these have free storage options, but for relatively low fees, you can add space to fully backup your site regularly. These platforms provide a safe location that can be easily accessed should your server crash or become compromised.
How To Backup a Website
There are dozens of plugins in the WordPress.org repository that offer the ability to backup your website. Many of these can be scheduled to update regularly, or you can simply select the backup option when you are logged in as an admin.
The main thing you want to look for when choosing a plugin is if it has lots of downloads and a high rating. You don’t want to test out a new plugin that hasn’t been thoroughly vetted.
You should also look for the ability to overwrite older backups to limit storage issues. It is best to keep between three and five backups, but probably no more than that. You should also look for the ease with which you can use the plugin to restore your data–with a good plugin, this can be done with the click of a button.
If you are going to work a lot with your WordPress site, then knowing how to backup a website is an important skill that you must explore. By taking the time to consider several functions and aspects of backup plugins, you can find the system that works best for you.
Correction: InMotion Hosting no longer offers free backups. Sorry! However, you can now get the feature-rich backup manager service for an additional $2/month. Don’t let your site get caught without backups.