Just a cautionary tale today. Until recently I was only partially backing up this WordPress blog. I didn’t realise this and thankfully I never had to restore the blog from backups otherwise I would have learned my mistake too late – and it’s just not enough to rely on your blog host to come up with the backups when there’s a problem. Some are better than others but they can’t be relied upon.
So where was I going wrong? Well to put it simply, there are two important things you should be considering in a WordPress backup – your blog database AND your files. I had read enough posts about WordPress backup plugins and I installed one (WP-DB-Backup) very early in my blogging history to backup the database of posts. But that’s actually not enough. If you’re not backing up your files then really important stuff like all the image uploads for each post, your plugins, and your themes (including css and php files) aren’t being backed up and you’ll need these to completely restore your blog quickly in the event of a disaster or your blog being hacked.
Backing up your WordPress blog database
There are different ways to do this but I’ve always used WP-DB-Backup and use the option to download the backup to my hard drive although you can also have it emailed to you. On my PC, I’ve created a new folder called My Sites for my blogs as I already have My Documents, My Pictures, etc and this continues a consistent folder naming policy. I then created the folders Techandlife/Database Backups in this folder. I also backup this database backup regularly to an external backup hard drive so I have a second copy.
Backing up your WordPress blog files
Again there are different ways to do this but I use an FTP client to download the WordPress files to my hard drive and again also backing this up to an external hard drive. The important files on your WordPress blog are all in the directory public_html/wp-content. Again this goes into my My Sites/Techandlife folder. I must admit I don’t back up regularly enough but I try and do it once a month, so at worst I’ve lost just the last month of posts. The FTP client I use, Ipswitch WS FTP LE is a classic freeware product and still works fine under Windows 7. You could also use FileZilla for your file backups.
Another way to backup your files is with the WordPress Backup plugin.
Backup everything at once
I haven’t tried this but understand that EZPZ One Click Backup will backup (and restore) both the database and files but I note on the download page that quite a few people have problems getting it to work. Everything mentioned so far are free solutions but there are also paid solutions like WP Dolly Pro and monthly subscription services like blogVault.
Backup Windows Live Writer
If you compose your posts in Windows Live Writer, you can back up your settings, recent posts, drafts and plugins with Windows Live Writer Backup.
I’ve never had to restore my blog from backup yet so I’d love to hear your experiences with backing up and particularly restoring your WordPress blog. Did it work for you? What did you learn? Which backup plugins do you use if any? We all want to be fully prepared for this disaster waiting to happen and know that we’re in good shape to get going again as quickly as possible. Drop a comment below with your experiences, good and bad.