Similar to having a backup of important files on a computer, it is necessary to have a complete backup of your WordPress site. When an unforeseen situation happens like database is corrupted due to update, the backup data can be restored quickly. WordPress site backup is one of the popular business areas where developers compete heavily by offering different types of plugins for free as well premium. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to avoid plugins when you have other options. In this article we will discuss in detail on how to backup WordPress site manually without plugins. You can learn 500+ free WordPress tutorials to take your site to next level.
Why You Need to Backup?
Though disasters happen rarely, it will be an unforgettable moment if you are not prepared for that. Assume, one fine morning when you open a site and see a message that “Your Site is Hacked”. In most such scenarios your hosting company may not help in rescuing your site. Or you need to pay a hefty amount from your own pocket to scan and restore the content. Important point to understand here is – though your data is stored on the hosting company’s server they will not own the bottomline responsibility of protecting your data. It is your own duty to backup the data regularly and prepare for emergency situations.
Backup WordPress Manually
Below are the steps involving in backup your WordPress site manually and test the restore process:
- Download MySQL database from phpMyAdmin section of your hosting account.
- Download all site files like media uploads, theme and plugins using FTP or File Manager.
- Upload the database and site files on localhost, staging or testing site.
We will explain each steps in detail in the below sections.
1. Backing Up WordPress Database
The most important aspect of backing up a WordPress site is to copy all the content on the site. WordPress stores text content as MySQL database table entries while the medial files like images, videos, PDF, etc. are stored in a separate uploads folder. Here we explain with backing up database using cPanel hosting, the process will be similar if you are using different type of hosting panel. For example, SiteGround users will have a custom Site Tools section where you can search and open phpMyAdmin app and follow the same steps.
Login to your hosting account and search for phpMyAdmin app. You can find this app generally under “Databases” or “Database Tools” section in cPanel hosting.
Open phpMyAdmin and login with your credentials. Generally, you will be automatically logged in to phyMyAdmin, otherwise, you can login with your hosting account user id / password.
You will see the list of databases on the left panel and click on the database you want to backup. This will expand the tables corresponding to that database.
Click on the “Export” tab and choose the following options.
- Export Method – click on the “Custom – display all possible options”.
- Tables – choose the tables to be exported, generally select all the tables. However, tables created by caching and security plugins may cause termination during restoration. Therefore, you can exclude them when exporting the database.
- Compression – choose the compression format as “gzipped”. Size of the uncompressed database will be much bigger, hence choose “gzipped” or “zipped” compression option to make the download easier.
- Format – select the database format as “SQL”.
Finally click on the “Go” button to download the complete database to your local computer.
2. Backup Site Files
The site files consist of media files, themes, plugins and WordPress core files come along with the installation package. Though you can download the files from “File Manager” option under cPanel hosting account, we highly recommend using FTP for faster downloading.
Once you have setup FTP account and installed FTP client on your computer, launch the software. If you have installed WordPress on the root directory (/public_html) then select all the files and right click to download to your local computer.
3. Restoring the Backup
As mentioned above, ensure to test whether the backed up database and site files can be restored without any issues. The easy way to test is to create a local WordPress installation which will also help to keep the complete backup of your live site on local computer. You can “Import” the database on localhost phyMyAdmin page and check you can restore the content successfully. Check out our articles on installing WordPress locally using MAMP and how to move live WordPress site to localhost.
Note: Plugins working with license key activation will not work when you restore the content on a dummy site as the license may work only on a single site. In all such scenarios, WordPress by default will deactivate the plugins when restoring.
We hope now you can backup your WordPress site without any plugin. Take a backup periodically as part of the maintenance routine. Also, always ensure to import the backed up database in localhost or staging site to make sure it can be reused in an emergency scenario, instead of just downloading and keeping it.