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How to back-up your database in WordPress (step-by-step, for beginners)

If something goes wrong with your website, you need to have everything properly backed up. And if this happens, your business can take a huge lost.

While most IT professionals are mainly concerned about ransomware, hardware/software error is, in fact, the most common cause of data loss. According to statistics gathered by Storage Craft, roughly 31% of all data loss is due to hardware/software failure.

You never know when something may go wrong, so you have to keep your files backed up. Also, you have to know how to restore your backup files.

For a beginner, this may not be so easy. Luckily for you, in this guide, we’re going to demonstrate how to do just that. Here’s a short step by step guide to restoring your WordPress site from backup files…

How to Backup Using UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus is one of the most popular backup plugins for WordPress. Download the plugin and backup your Website. Afterwards, you need to download the files to your PC. Even if you store the files in a remote location like Google Drive or Dropbox, you should still download them.

You need to connect to an FTP client and proceed to delete all of your current WordPress files. Then, re-install WordPress and login to your site. You’ll have to activate your UpdraftPlus plugin again, then go to Settings, click on UpdraftPlus Backups and the Restore button.

Find the Upload Backup Files link, click on it, and you’ll see a window that allows you to upload those backup files you downloaded to your computer just a minute ago. You can either find the files manually or simply drop them, or you can click on Select Files button and select them from the Downloads directory on your computer.

Once the files are uploaded, the plugin will take a few minutes to scan them. You’ll see the progress on the Backups page. Now, just click the Restore button and the plugin will start restoring your old website. Before the process is done, you’ll see a popup window.

There, you’ll find a Restore button again. Click on it to continue the process. However, before you click on it, you should make sure that all available backups – including database, plugins, and themes among others – are checked.

After you’re done with that, the plugin will automatically start restoring backup data from the files. Once it’s finished, the plugin will redirect you to the “Success Page” where you can see whether the restore is successful or not.

How to Create a Manual Database Backup Using cPanel

On the other hand, your hosting company probably allows you to DOD backups (download-on-demand). And here’s how you can make use of that to create your own manual WordPress database backup.

You just need to login into your cPanel, head down to the Files section of the dashboard, and you’ll see the Backup button. Of course, HostGator and SiteGround also have similar options, and you should be able to back your database up using this manual.

Once you enter the Backups page, you just need to go down to the “Partial Backups” subdivision. Then, just click on the name of your database, and you’ll be able to download a backup file to your computer.

And if you need to, you can even download a backup of single files from here. And that’s how you backup your database manually, but we should warn you, this is not a perfect solution. For instance, if your host blocks your account or manages to lose your data, you won’t have an access to your database.

How to Backup Using BlogVault

Another great WordPress backup plugin you can use for your website is BlogVault. This plugin can be found free on WordPress.org and it is very easy to install and intuitive. Below is a small introduction to BlogVault.

Once you active BlogVault you will have to enter your email and agree to their terms and services in order to get started.

After you add your email and then create an account on their website you will be able to see BlogVault’s dashboard. From your account you can create back-ups, restore back-ups, enable or disable security, enable firewall, manage your plugins, add staging websites, schedule reports, manage themes and users.

To create a backup connect to your BlogVault dashboard and find the Sync button which is located on the top right hand side of your screen. Clicking on this button will open a window where you can add notes for this backup and start the sync.

Click on the OK button to start the backup and it will start syncing your website. This process might take a few minutes depending on the number of files, but once is done you will see your backup in your dashboard under ‘Backups’.

That’s it! Is that easy to sync your website and create back-ups with BlogVault. You can also change when your next Sync will be so you can have full control over your backups.

To restore a backup simply click on the Restore button under Backups and then you will have to fill in your FTP information: FTP host/Server name, FTP type, port, username, and password. You can find this information in the initial email you received from your hosting company or you can reach out to them and ask them to create for you a FTP account.

BlogVault also explains all of this in their ‘Know all about FTP’ section.

The next few steps require to select your WordPress installation folder and enter your website’s url. After you’re done sending all the necessary information the restoration process will start.

How to Create a Backup without a Plugin

If you want to try this method out, once again, you should go back to your cPanel dashboard. Then, access your phpMyAdmin. You need to have your username, password, and FTP details ready. After you access the data base, you should find WordPress in the left column to reveal the tables.

Now you need to find the Export button and click on it. This will reveal two options – Quick and Custom. The first option is the default one and it will back up your whole WordPress database. But if you want to back up specific files, you should click on Custom and pick the files you want to back up.

You also need to pick the file format of the backup – the choice is all up to you, but we recommend you save in the SQL format. After you chose the format, you just need to click on the go button and you’ll be completely done. Depending on the size of your database, the download may last a few minutes.

Bonus: Use a Backup Service

If you’re not someone who likes to deal with small things like this, you can always hire a backup service. This is actually the easiest way of keeping backups of your site. However, it’s also the most expensive way as well.

It works simply: you just need to find a service, provide them with access to your site, and they will do the dirty work for you, in exchange for a monthly fee. Some will give you plugin to install, while others need nothing more than your login credentials.

These companies backup your site on a regular basis and send the backups to the cloud. Although, some service also provide real-time backups. Some of the more popular WordPress services on the market today include:

This is a valuable option, because these services require little to no setup, they constantly backup your site, and even provide security monitoring features, at least that is the case with VaultPress.

What to Do After You Restore Your Site

Once you’re finished with the backup process, you should take a few steps to improve the security of your WordPress website. You should also change your password regularly. If you’re running a multiple-user site, you should immediately ask your peers to update their own passwords.

Lastly, make sure to install a firewall. Plugins like Sucuri will not only allow you to monitor your site 24/7 but also allow you to sleep knowing your website is completely safe. This plugin can help you block up to 150.000 malware attacks per month.

In the end, we hope this short guide helped you backup and restore your site. And as you can clearly see, the process is not so complicated, but in case a disaster happens, it can help you a lot. Backup all of your data regularly and avoid all possible mishaps.

Adam Ferraresi

Adam Ferraresi (@adamferraresi) is a successful web developer from Dallas, Texas. He is twenty five years old, and when he isn’t working on some interesting new article, he enjoys listening to music and watching old movies.

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