Secure the Content: Backing Up Your WordPress Site

Why Bother To Back Up Your WordPress Site?

Backup your WordPress site and secure all that valuable content.

In the world of computing, nothing is perfect.  Power Outage, computer component failure, unexpected accidents, and countless other unthinkable events may take place to ruin your day. 

I know that I spend numerous hours writing and developing my site.  I would NEVER want all my hard work to go down the drain if I can be proactive and prevent anything bad from happening to my website. 

Accidents happen to the unprepared – don’t be unprepared. 

Implementing A Simple And Effective Backup Solution

The process of backing up your site is very simple and straightforward – there is no excuse for not doing it. 

Backing up your site will be the difference between quitting blogging for good (because of the unrecoverable loss) or restoring your site back in almost no time. 

Learn this lesson from someone who has had some experience working for the I.T industry.  I can’t tell you the countless times I have had to rely on good backups to save the day. 

Backup Your WordPress and Secure Your Valuable Content

Companies have lost immense amounts of money and time because good backups were not properly made or even made at all. 

History DOES NOT have to repeat itself – you know better. 

What Plugin Should You Use?

Using an opensource plugin called “BackupWordpress” by Human Made Limited, I am able to back up my website with ease and I can choose when and how often I back up.   

It is very important that you get the plugin installed along with two other plugins (Jetpack and Akismet) which I believe are ESSENTIAL to ANY WordPress setup and should be installed BEFORE you publish your site – or as soon as possible.   

Getting the Plugin

Go to this site and download the latest file containing the plugin.  Save it on your computer somewhere for later use.

 

 

Take a closer look at the rectangular blue “Download” button on the lower right-hand corner of the large picture featuring the faint laptop.  Click on it to download the latest plugin file.

Installing the Plugin

Once the plugin is downloaded, click on to the “Plugins” option on the WordPress sidebar.  This is the next screen you’ll see:

 

 

At the very top of this screen, find the “Add Plugins” label.  Right beside is the “Upload Plugins” button.  Click on it and this is the next screen you’ll see:

 

 

Find the button labeled ” Choose File” and click on it.  It will prompt you to locate the previous zip file you downloaded from the previous website.  When you find that zip file, click on it once to select the zip file and then click on “Open” button to install the contents of the zip file.

Activating The Plugin

When the plugin is properly installed, it will be listed with the rest of the plugins that are or have been installed on your WordPress site.  The “BackupWordPress” plugin is listed as the SECOND plugin on my WordPress site installation right after “Akismet Anti-Spam”.

 

 

The plugin on the SECOND row is the backup plugin (it might be listed further down on your WordPress setup) – in alphabetical order.  Notice that under the name of most plugins there are two words: “Activate” and “Delete”.  Click on “Activate” to enable the plugin. 

Once the plugin is activated, the “Activate” word will turn into “Deactivate”.  All this means is that you can deactivate the plugin at any time by clicking on the “Deactivate” button.  It just toggles from “Activate” to “Deactivate” and vice-versa depending on the state that it was in from before.

 

 

The screenshot on the right shows what it looks like when the plugin is ACTIVATED – it has the “Deactivate” option on.

Settings and Features Available for Backup

The plugin is very easy to install and also very easy to use.  The above is a screenshot of my own WordPress setup with the plugin already installed.  Notice at the bottom that it lists all the most current backup made on my website.  The backups are saved to a folder or directory listed at the top this screen.  Look carefully on the right side and the word “Download”.  That is exactly what it means.  After the plugin is done backing up your site, it will make it available as a zip file for you to download to your computer or some other place where you can keep a local copy of the site backup on your computer or other media you want to use to store a second backup of your site.  In my case, I always download a copy of my site to my computer hard drive.  The word “Delete” in red is exactly what you think it does – it deletes a backup. 

Here is a screenshot showing the GUI unexpanded.

 

Pay close attention to the 2 listings from this screenshot on the right.  At the bottom, it shows the 2 latest backups done by the plugin – these were done when I clicked on the “Run Now” label at the top. 

 

 

If you click on the label “Settings” (right beside “Run Now”), the screen expands to show you other options for customizing your backups – see screenshot below.

 Features Offered With This Plugin

 

The screenshot on the right is a close-up that focuses on the different settings you can change to customize your backup.  Let’s work our way from the top and explain each featured option in some detail.

From top to bottom, the features are:

  1. Backup
  2. Schedule
  3. Start Day
  4. Start Time
  5. Number of backups
  6. Email notification

1.Backup

What I like about this plugin is that it has the options to back up your files (database, site files, or database + site files) and it is still simple enough to use without reading having to read through an encyclopedia to know how to use it – very clear and self-explanatory.

 

 

2. Schedule

 

The schedule simply allows you to specify the frequency of your backups.  Once weekly is what I select for my backups for the other selections can range from “Manual Only” all the way to “Once Monthly”.  The screenshot above shows the drop-down menu with all the possible choices for selecting the frequency of a backup. 

 

3.Start Day

The Start Day backup option simply offers the user a way to choose a day of the week to automatically execute the backup of your WordPress website.  For this example, I picked Saturday to be the day that this plugin will do the backup for my entire site.  

4.Start Time

 

The “Start Time” option on this custom backup configuration screen allows for the user to pick the time of the day for the backup to take place.  It uses a 24-hour time format for you to select EXACTLY what time in the morning or afternoon the backup takes place.  By entering the backup time at 23:00, the backup of my WordPress website will take place exactly at 11 o’clock PM at night on a Saturday – done “Once Weekly”.

5. Number of Backups To Store On This Server

This limit is set so that the software knows what backups are valuable within the time frame specified.  The default is 7, but I set mine for 14 ( two weeks worth of backups before the oldest one gets deleted).  You can set this to a higher number depending on what you want to achieve in terms of backup.

 

6. Email Notification

This last option allows the plugin to send you an email notice about the status of the backup when it is complete.  If the backup is 10MB or less, it gets sent as an attachment with the email notice.  Otherwise, each backup made is recorded in a log and the backups can be downloaded as zip files. 

You can enter multiple emails, separated by commas, and let it send backup completion notices to each email address.  These zip files that are created by the log can be optionally downloaded to your computer and be stored safely elsewhere for extra precaution – a precaution well worth the effort.  I personally download these backup zip files back to my own computer and store it safely away as a secondary backup.  

 

Last But Not Least: Check Your Backup(s)!

This last step cannot be emphasized enough.  You could do 10000000000 backups and it will do you no good if the backups are corrupted or worse…empty!

Check your backup for the integrity and validity of its content.  I cannot tell you the number of times people have told me about doing backups, only to find the backups were either corrupted or did not have the data that you ASSUMED had been backed up. 

Do NOT set yourself up for the shock of discovering that you backed up gigabytes of worthless data or no data at all – fallen into the illusion that your data was safe the whole time.

 

 

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