One often overlooked, very important step to setting up a WordPress website is creating a solid backup process. Here’s a nice setup I’ve found to be the best for my circumstances. I wanted something that would backup everything, by everything I mean:
- All Content (database backup)
Backup Your WordPress Database (all of your content)
First and foremost let’s backup our database, where all of the content created with WordPress is stored. I’ve found that the DBC Backup plugin is by far the best for this. It let’s you automatically backup your WordPress database and store a copy on your web server. Many others will simply email you a copy.
Furthermore it will allow you to set an expiration for each backup so that you don’t accumulate too many backups. I have kevinleary.net set up to store backups for 14 days, and delete anything older than that. This way disk space will never be an issue.
Best of all it’s 100% automated, follow the install instructions and you’ll be on your way.
Backup Your Theme Files, Plugins and Uploads
For this I use the WordPress Backup plugin. This plugin will backup the upload directory (images and media), the current theme directory, and the plugins directory, store them all in a zip file and place that ZIP file in a location on your server (that you can set). Zip files can also be sent to email if you like.
Like the DBC Backup plugin you can also set an interval for it to run automatically. I’ve set mine to 1 week.
The one caveat to this plugin is that it doesn’t auto-delete files that are old, so if you set it to do automatic backups, it will start eating up storage on your server. Because the uploads and plugins directories can get rather large, the space can add up quickly so proceed with caution on this one.
Offsite Backup for Extra Security
If you really want to be on the safe side, you can store database backups on your server and backup your files to Amazon S3. Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is an online web storage service offered by Amazon Web Services. At the time of this writing it costs $0.150 per GB for the first 50 TB / month of storage used. If you use more than that it decreases in increments of $0.10 per GB.
To automatically backup your files to Amazon use the WP S3 Backups plugin. If you use the DBC Backup plugin to store your database backups in one of the folders backed up to Amazon, then you’ve effectively backed up your entire WordPress setup to an incredibly reliable offsite storage facility.
Right now there is little to no documentation on the Amazon S3 plugin for WordPress, and it requires a linux host to use. Hopefully in the future this plugin will really take off, it’s incredibly valuable.
Right now I cannot say what aspects of the blog it will backup to the Amazon S3 servers because it isn’t documented and I can’t for the life of me find the author’s, Dan Coulter, email.
Like all things WordPress there is no right or wrong way to do something. How do you backup your WordPress website?
About the Author
Kevin Leary is a freelance developer in Boston, MA with a strong portfolio of work, and over 13 years of experience as a programming consultant and digital strategy provider. Interested in working together? Hire me for your next project.