So, you’ve been thinking recently “I really should backup my WordPress site on a regular basis, but don’t know what to do!” – Fear not, this short tutorial will have you backed up and breathing more easily before your next coffee break, unless you drink tea of course.
BackWPup is a popular, easy to set-up and use backup plugin for your site. As a locally based web designer in Falkirk, I have found this tool invaluable when working with clients WordPress sites. From our experience, It appears to be more effective when implemented on small to medium sized web sites, which aren’t overloaded with too much content.
Anyway, with that mind let’s get down to it…
The first thing you need to do is download the BackWPup plugin. This can be done very easily from within WordPress admin, just search for “BackWPup” within the Add New Plugins section and click “Install Now”. After this has finished installing, activate the plugin and you’re ready to go.
If you wish to take an immediate backup of your site, click on BackWPup on the sidebar and press the “Download database backup” button you see on the page. You will instantly download a copy of your WordPress database to your desktop.
On the other hand, if you wish to create a scheduled job for BackWPup to perform regular backups, in the Dashboard sidebar and underneath the heading “BackWPup” you should see the title “Add new job”. Click on that to display the job scheduling page.
Under the General tab at the top of the page, you will be presented with a number of options, some of which you will need to complete. Start off by giving the Job a name, such as “Dropbox weekly backup”. Then choose which type of Job Tasks you wish the backup to complete. Normally you would select the following:
If you want to “Check database tables” then go ahead and select that option, whereas choosing “WordPress XML export” is normally used when you decide to import WordPress site content using the WordPress importer.
When BackWPup creates an archive it ZIPs everything up to make the files easier to handle. Under the “Backup File Creation” section, give your backup an “Archive name”. When you hover over that input field, you are provided with a number of options that you can use to determine the archive file name.
How you’d like to do this, is down to personal preference, but the default setup works fine as it’s easily readable and gives a clear indication of when the file was backed up. At the very least you could input your own site name, so you know exactly where this backup came from originally.
The “Archive format” again is down to how you prefer to do things, but selecting “Zip” is normally the simplest way of packaging the archive file. We have found this is the preferred way our web design clients in Falkirk and Stirling like to save their backups.
This is where BackWPup really comes into its own. The “Job Destination” section provides you with a number of options that allow you to specify where you would like the backup to be stored. They are all self-explanatory, it all depends upon your current circumstances but what sets this plugin apart from others, is the ability for you to select multiple different backups that will save to different locations, thus configuring a more advanced backup system.
Finally, you can setup where you wish the backup log files to be sent and only if an error occurs during the job execution. When you are happy with your decisions you can click the “Save changes button”.
Now, depending on which location you decided to save your backups, something interesting happens. You get the option to configure the location individually for each job, up in the Tab section of the Add New Job page. You will find that to the right of General, Schedule, etc.
As an example, If we want to store backups in a folder in your website, you would navigate to the “To: Folder” tab and under backup settings specify a folder on your web hosting account you wish to store scheduled backups.
Next up, is to schedule the actual backup.
By default, jobs are set to start manually. Normally you would want to start your backup jobs automatically. Select the “with WordPress Cron” option and once you’ve done that, you will see further choices appear underneath. It may look weird initially, but it’s not hard to understand.
First off, select the “basic” Scheduler type. Next, under the “Scheduler” section look at the various Types available – monthly, weekly, daily, hourly. This is fairly straightforward, decide how often you’d like backups to be made and click the “Save Changes” button. The backup process will now run at the frequency you specified!
Last but not least, you have to make sure you are backing up the right content. Click on the “DB Backup” tab at the top of the page, so you can check you are backing up the right content. You have the option of not backing up the tables from the database, but you’ll probably want to leave that alone. You can toggle the various tables on and off, enter the database backup file name and whether you want to compress the subsequent file.
Nothing too serious here to worry about.
Under the “Files” tab, you get to choose which files you want to back up. Normally you’ll find the default settings are pretty good. From our experience, you might want to exclude “wp-admin” and “wp-includes” from the “Backup root folder” section.
If anything, it’s probably a little bit self-indulgent to backup “backwpup” from the “Backup plugins” section, so exclude that also.
You can even specify individual folders or file types you want to backup or exclude in two sections further down the page, quite a powerful little feature.
At the very bottom, you can decide whether or not you want to “Include special files”, which include wp-config.php, robots.txt, .htaccess, htpasswd and favicon.ico from root. This is good if you decided to exclude the “Backup root folder” at the top of the page as you still keep the files that are important to you and stay safe.
It’s entirely up to you how you’d like to setup your backup job, play around with the settings a bit and settle with your preferred choice over time.
When you’ve finished, click the “Save Changes” button and you’re done. You’ve configured everything the way you want, the job will automatically run and your site will be backed up.
That’s it, another task ticked off your “To Do List”. We hope this tutorial has been useful.
Don’t forget to share!