How to Backup A WordPress Site And Database?

23 minutes read

To backup a WordPress site and database, you need to follow a series of steps:

  1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Install and activate a reliable backup plugin, such as UpdraftPlus or VaultPress.
  3. Once the plugin is activated, go to the plugin settings or options page.
  4. Configure the backup settings according to your preferences, including the backup frequency, destination, and file compression.
  5. Specify if you want to include the entire site or only specific files and folders in the backup.
  6. Choose whether you want to backup the WordPress database, media files, themes, plugins, or other components.
  7. Select the backup destination, such as your local computer or a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive.
  8. Set up any additional options provided by the backup plugin, such as encryption or scheduling.
  9. Save the settings and initiate the backup process by clicking on the backup button or running a manual backup.
  10. Wait for the backup process to complete. The time required will depend on the size of your site and the speed of your server.
  11. Once the backup is finished, you will receive a notification or see a confirmation message.
  12. Store the backup files in a secure location, ideally on multiple devices or storage services for redundancy.


Backing up your WordPress site and database regularly ensures that you have a safe copy of your data in case of any unforeseen circumstances, such as website crashes, hacking attempts, or accidental data loss.

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How can I compress a backup of a WordPress site and database to save disk space?

There are several ways to compress a backup of a WordPress site and database to save disk space:

  1. Use a backup plugin: Many backup plugins, such as UpdraftPlus or BackupBuddy, offer built-in compression options. You can configure the plugin to compress the backup files during the backup process itself.
  2. Manually compress backup files: If you are creating manual backups or using a backup method that doesn't offer compression, you can compress the backup files using file compression tools like ZIP or GZIP. These tools are available on most operating systems. Simply select the backup files/folders and compress them using the appropriate tool.
  3. Exclude unnecessary files: Before creating a backup, remove any unnecessary files or directories that don't need to be backed up. For example, you can exclude temporary files, cache directories, or log files. This will reduce the backup size and save disk space.
  4. Optimize your database: Before taking a backup, optimize your WordPress database to reduce its size. You can use plugins like WP-Optimize or WP-Sweep to remove unnecessary data, spam comments, post revisions, and other database clutter. A smaller database will result in a smaller backup file size.
  5. Store backups in a compressed format: If your backup solution allows it, store the backups in a compressed format directly. For example, when using cloud storage services like Amazon S3 or Google Drive, you can enable compression settings for the storage container to save space.
  6. Delete old backups: Regularly remove old backups that are no longer needed. This will free up disk space and prevent clutter. Be sure to keep an adequate number of recent backups for security purposes.


Remember to test your backups regularly to ensure they can be restored successfully. Additionally, consider off-site storage or cloud backups for added security.

Can I access individual files within a backup of a WordPress site and database?

Yes, you can access individual files within a backup of a WordPress site and database.


To access the files, you'll need to extract the backup files (if they are in a compressed format like ZIP or GZ) using a file extraction tool. Once extracted, you can navigate through the backup file structure to find the specific files you need.


For the WordPress site files, you can typically find them in the same directory structure as you would find in a live WordPress installation. Common files to look for include PHP files, theme files, plugin files, and media uploads.


Regarding the database, you'll need to import the database backup to a local or remote database server. Once imported, you can access the individual tables and data using tools like phpMyAdmin or MySQL command-line interface.


Keep in mind that accessing individual files within a backup is more useful for reference or restoring specific components of your WordPress site rather than making changes directly to the backup files.

How much disk space is required to store a backup of a WordPress site and database?

The disk space required to store a backup of a WordPress site and database can vary depending on various factors such as the size of the website, the number of images and media files, the size of the database, and the frequency of backups.


On average, a basic WordPress site with a few pages and blog posts, along with a small-sized database, may require anywhere between 100MB to 500MB of disk space for a backup. However, larger and more complex WordPress sites with multiple plugins, themes, large media files, and extensive databases can require several gigabytes of disk space for backups.


It's worth noting that backup plugins or services often compress the backup files to reduce their size. This might further reduce the required disk space, but it depends on the specific backup tool being used.

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Can I backup a WordPress site and database manually without using any plugins?

Yes, it is possible to backup a WordPress site and database manually without using any plugins. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you:

  1. Backup the WordPress files: Connect to your website using an FTP client or access the file manager in your hosting control panel. Locate the root folder of your WordPress installation (usually named "public_html" or "www"). Download all files and folders within the WordPress root folder to your local computer.
  2. Backup the WordPress database: Access your hosting control panel and open phpMyAdmin (or any similar database management tool provided by your hosting provider). Select the database associated with your WordPress installation from the list on the left. Click on the "Export" tab at the top. Ensure that all tables are selected, choose the "Custom" method, and select "SQL" as the export format. Click "Go" to initiate the database export. Save the exported SQL file to your local computer.
  3. Verify the backup: Check the downloaded WordPress files to make sure all necessary files and folders are included. Open the exported SQL file in a text editor to ensure the database structure and content are present.


By following these steps, you will have a manual backup of your WordPress site's files and database. It is recommended to regularly perform these backups to ensure the safety of your website.

What happens to plugins and themes when I restore a backup of a WordPress site and database?

When you restore a backup of a WordPress site and database, the plugins and themes that were installed before the backup was created will be restored along with the rest of the website.


Here's what happens to plugins and themes during the restoration process:

  1. Plugin Files: The backup includes the plugin files, so when you restore the backup, the plugin files will be replaced with the ones from the backup. This means that all the plugins that were installed before the backup will be restored to their previous state.
  2. Plugin Data: Along with the plugin files, the backup also includes the plugin data stored in the database. So when you restore a backup, the plugin settings and configurations will be restored as well. Any data specific to the plugins, such as custom settings or content, should also be restored.
  3. Theme Files: Similarly, the theme files will be replaced with the ones from the backup. The themes installed before the backup will be restored to their previous state.
  4. Theme Data: The backup also includes the theme-related data stored in the database, such as theme settings, customizations, and content specific to the theme. So, these data will also be restored when you restore the backup.


It's important to note that if you have installed or made changes to plugins or themes after creating the backup, those changes will not be included in the backup and will be lost during the restoration process. Therefore, it's always a good practice to keep your plugins, themes, and database backups up to date to ensure you have the most recent version of your website.

How long does it usually take to backup a WordPress site and database?

The time required to backup a WordPress site and database can vary based on various factors, including the size of the site, the hosting provider, the speed of the server, and the backup method used. In general, for an average-sized WordPress site with a moderate amount of content, a backup can take anywhere between a few minutes to half an hour. However, for larger sites with extensive databases or slower server speeds, the backup process may take longer.

What are the recommended file formats for WordPress backups?

The recommended file formats for WordPress backups are:

  1. SQL export file: This format includes the entire WordPress database and is created using the export feature in phpMyAdmin or another database management tool. It captures all the posts, pages, comments, settings, and other data stored in the database.
  2. XML export file: This format is created using the export feature in the WordPress dashboard. It exports posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags in an XML format that can be imported into another WordPress installation.
  3. WordPress-specific backup plugins: Various plugins, such as UpdraftPlus, BackupBuddy, and Duplicator, offer their own backup file formats. These plugins usually provide comprehensive backups, including both the files and database, in their respective formats.


It's recommended to use a combination of these formats to ensure a comprehensive backup solution. Having a database backup (SQL or XML) and a separate file backup (plugins, themes, media uploads, etc.) provides redundancy and ensures you have all aspects of your WordPress site covered during a restore process.

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