I’ve already blogged about backing up your WordPress database and files to your hard drive and external drive but how do you keep your backups up to date quickly?
Automatic Backup of Blog Database
The database contains your posts, comments, etc. The best way to keep this up to date is to use a plugin like WP-DB-Backup and automatically email database backups to yourself daily. You can then back this up to your external drive or to the cloud. An automatic backup is as quick as you can get and needs no planning so that’s that covered.
Backup Only WordPress Files that Have Changed or Been Added
So you’ve already backed up your wp-content folder, with your uploads, themes, plugins, etc to your hard drive. Fine, but then you add a post or two. What files do you need to back up to keep everything up to date? The problem I’ve found is that if you use an FTP client (I use CoffeeCup Free FTP) to copy your updated wp-content folder from your webhost to your hard drive, it may just copy everything again rather than sync only the changed or new files, and that takes time. I have almost 250 posts on this blog now and the wp-content folder has a total of almost 4000 files reaching over 200MB. That seems a pointless waste of precious bandwidth when just a few files are added with each new post. We only want to back up those new files.
Here’s the thing. When you add a new post and don’t change any settings in your theme and you don’t update any plugins, the only folder that’s changed is your uploads folder containing the images added for the new post, and of course the database. So after adding a new post and changing nothing else, really all you have to backup is the uploads (images) for the current month. For me, that’s at public_html/wp-content/uploads/current year/. So just fire up your FTP client and download the images for the current month to the appropriate folder on your hard drive and make sure those new files are also backed up to your external drive.
Of course, if you’ve updated your plugins, copy public_html/wp-content/plugins and if you updated your theme, download public_html/wp-content/themes/current theme. And that should save you some time and bandwidth. Until I have to do a blog restore, I personally haven’t checked this. But when I asked what files have changed since the last post on the forum at WordPress.org, the reply I got was ‘the DB would have changed and any media files added should be backed up also’. No one else commented to contradict this, so I assume it’s correct. If you know differently, please let me know!