How to Backup A WordPress Website Manually?

18 minutes read

To back up a WordPress website manually, you can follow these steps:

  1. Connect to your website's hosting server using FTP or File Manager in cPanel.
  2. Navigate to the root directory of your WordPress installation, usually named public_html or www.
  3. Select and download all the files and folders within the WordPress directory to your local computer. You can either use FTP software or compress the files into a zip or tar archive and download it.
  4. This step is optional but highly recommended: Export your WordPress database. Log in to your website's hosting control panel (often cPanel) and access phpMyAdmin. Select your WordPress database and choose the export option. Ensure that the export method is set to "Quick" and format is "SQL". Click on "Go" or the export button to download the SQL file containing your database.
  5. Save the exported database file along with the compressed WordPress files in a safe location on your local computer.


By following these steps, you have successfully backed up your WordPress website manually. Remember to perform regular backups to ensure you have copies of all your website's files and database, which can be useful for restoration in case of any issues or data loss.

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Can you recommend any specific WordPress backup plugins that allow for manual backups?

Yes, there are several WordPress backup plugins that allow for manual backups. Here are a few popular options:

  1. UpdraftPlus: One of the most popular backup plugins, UpdraftPlus offers both manual and scheduled backups. It allows you to backup your WordPress files and database, and also provides options to store backups on cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and more.
  2. BackWPup: BackWPup is a free backup plugin that allows you to create complete WordPress backups, including files and database. It offers manual backups and supports saving backups to various destinations such as Amazon S3, Dropbox, FTP, and more.
  3. VaultPress: VaultPress is a premium backup service developed by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. It provides real-time automated backups, but also allows you to create manual backups whenever needed. VaultPress backs up your entire site, including files, database, themes, and plugins.
  4. Duplicator: Although primarily known as a migration plugin, Duplicator also offers backup functionality. It allows you to manually create backups of your entire WordPress site or just specific portions. You can choose to store backups on your computer, cloud storage, or upload them to a remote FTP server.


All of these plugins have good reputations and offer manual backup options, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs and preferences.

Can a WordPress website be backed up manually without access to the hosting control panel?

Yes, it is possible to manually back up a WordPress website without access to the hosting control panel. Here are the steps you can follow:

  1. Access your WordPress website via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) using an FTP client like FileZilla or Cyberduck.
  2. Connect to your website's server using the FTP client by entering the FTP credentials provided by your hosting provider.
  3. Once connected, navigate to the "public_html" or "www" folder, which contains the WordPress installation files.
  4. Select all the files and folders in the WordPress root directory and download them to your local computer. This will create a backup of your website's files.
  5. Export the website's database: Access your website's hosting control panel and look for the phpMyAdmin or database management section. If you don't have access to the control panel, you can ask your hosting provider for assistance or use a plugin like "WP-DB-Backup" to export the database.
  6. Once in phpMyAdmin or a similar database management tool, select your website's database and choose the "Export" option. This will generate a SQL file containing the database structure and data.
  7. Download the SQL file to your local computer. This file serves as a backup for your website's database.


By following the above steps, you will have manually backed up your WordPress website without the need for a hosting control panel.

Are there any specific files or directories that should not be included in a manual backup?

Yes, there are certain files or directories that are typically excluded from manual backups. Some examples include:

  1. Temporary files: These are files created by applications or the operating system temporarily and are not required for restoring data.
  2. Cache and log files: These files store data temporarily to improve performance or for troubleshooting purposes. Including them in backups is unnecessary as they can be regenerated or are not critical for restoring data.
  3. System files: Certain system files are actively used by the operating system and should not be included in manual backups. Restoring such files may cause system instability or inconsistencies.
  4. Application-specific directories: Some directories, such as those containing settings, preferences, or application-specific data, may not need to be backed up. This depends on the application and its purpose.
  5. Large files: Including very large files, such as media files or virtual machine disk images, in a manual backup can significantly increase the backup size and time required. It is often more efficient to exclude them and use separate backup strategies.


It is essential to carefully review and determine which files or directories need to be excluded based on their relevance, size, and how easily they can be re-created or restored if necessary.

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How often should a WordPress website be manually backed up?

It is generally recommended to manually back up a WordPress website at least once a week. However, the frequency of backups may vary depending on the frequency of changes and updates made to the website. If there are frequent content updates, regular backups can be scheduled accordingly to minimize the risk of data loss. Additionally, it is crucial to perform a manual backup before making any major changes to the website, such as updating themes or plugins, to ensure a recent backup is available in case anything goes wrong during the update process.

Are there any official or recommended WordPress documentation regarding manual backups?

Yes, there is official WordPress documentation regarding manual backups. The WordPress Codex, which is the official online manual for WordPress, provides detailed instructions on how to manually backup your WordPress site.


You can find the manual backup instructions on the following pages of the WordPress Codex:

  1. Backing Up Your Database: https://codex.wordpress.org/Backing_Up_Your_Database
  2. Backing Up Your WordPress Files: https://codex.wordpress.org/Backing_Up_Your_WordPress_Files


These pages provide step-by-step instructions on how to perform manual backups of your WordPress database and files. It is recommended to follow these instructions to ensure a proper backup of your website.

How do manual backups compare to automated backups in terms of reliability?

Manual backups are generally considered less reliable compared to automated backups. Here's why:

  1. Human error: Manual backups require individuals to initiate and perform the backup process, leaving room for human error. Mistakes like forgetting to back up essential files, performing backups incorrectly, or skipping backups entirely can lead to data loss. Automated backups eliminate these risks by following a predetermined schedule without human intervention.
  2. Consistency: Automated backups ensure consistency in backup frequency and process. They can be set to perform backups at regular intervals, guaranteeing that data is regularly protected. On the other hand, manual backups depend on users remembering to initiate backups, which can lead to irregular schedules and potential data loss if the backup is missed.
  3. Time and effort: Manual backups can be time-consuming and require effort to gather and copy files to a backup location manually. This process is prone to delays, procrastination, or even neglect. Automated backups, once configured, require minimal effort and save significant time as they run automatically in the background.
  4. Scalability: Automated backups are more suitable for handling large and complex data environments. They can back up multiple systems or devices simultaneously, ensuring the entire ecosystem is protected. Manual backups may struggle to maintain consistency and effectiveness with growing data volumes or an increasing number of devices.
  5. Accountability and tracking: Automated backup systems often provide logs, notifications, and reports to track backup activities. This allows better accountability, visibility, and troubleshooting. Manual backups lack such built-in mechanisms, making it difficult to track backup history, identify issues, or ensure backup completion.


While manual backups can still be reliable when performed diligently and correctly, they carry inherent risks associated with human involvement, uneven scheduling, and potential errors. Automated backups provide a more reliable and consistent approach to protecting data with reduced human dependency and enhanced scalability.

What are the potential risks of not regularly backing up a WordPress website?

There are several potential risks of not regularly backing up a WordPress website:

  1. Data loss: If your website experiences a technical failure, hacking attempt, or a hosting problem, without a recent backup, you may lose important data, including content, images, databases, and user information.
  2. Security breaches: WordPress websites are vulnerable to hacking attempts and security breaches. If your site gets compromised, having a backup allows you to quickly restore a clean version.
  3. Malware infections: Websites can be injected with malware, causing various problems such as site defacement, redirecting visitors to malicious pages, or stealing sensitive data. Regular backups can mitigate the impact of such infections.
  4. Plugin or theme conflicts: Updates to plugins or themes may conflict with your existing setup, causing errors or even making the website inoperable. Backups allow you to revert to a previous working version if such conflicts arise.
  5. Human error: Mistakes happen, and a small error while modifying code, updating the website, or making changes to the database can have disastrous consequences. Regular backups provide a safety net to undo or fix such errors.
  6. Server crashes or hardware failures: Hosting servers can crash or experience hardware failures, leading to data loss. If your web host doesn't have an effective backup policy, you might be left with no option to recover your website.
  7. Difficulty in migrating or switching hosts: If you decide to move your WordPress site to a new hosting provider or make substantial changes, having a recent backup simplifies the migration process and minimizes the chances of losing data during the transition.


Overall, regular backups serve as an insurance policy to reduce downtime, prevent loss of data, protect against security risks, and ensure smooth operations of your website.

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