BackupBuddy, our WordPress backup plugin, makes it easy to backup your WordPress website directly from your WordPress admin dashboard. With just a few clicks, you can run several different types of WordPress backups. In this post, we’ll cover all the basics of WordPress backups with BackupBuddy.
Why Backup Your WordPress Website? 7 Reasons
First off, let’s cover why it’s so important to have a backup plan for your WordPress website. Here are a few reasons you need a backup of your site.
- Just like backing up your computer or phone, your website also needs a backup. Files on your computer or phone could potentially be lost, and the same is true for your website’s files. Your website’s files reside on a server, but these files can easily be deleted or lost entirely, so you’ll need a backup of all the files necessary to run your website.
- Your website faces security threats and data loss risks. The truth is, WordPress websites can be an easy target for hacks or security breaches if certain security measures are not implemented. A hacked website could mean permanent changes or corrupted files that make it impossible to get your website back … if you don’t have a backup. Additional risks include malware, server crashes, bad commands and, of course, user error.
- WordPress, by default, doesn’t have a built-in backup mechanism, so you’ll need to find a backup solution. WordPress is arguably the most powerful Content Management System (CMS) in existence today, but the software relies on users to take care of certain website management tasks, like updates, security … and backups.
- Your host’s backup may not be enough. Some hosts provide backups for your websites, so you think you’re covered. But these backups may fall short because they’re not actually designed specifically for WordPress websites. Host backups may lack the frequency, control or customization options you need. You may also have to rely on a support tech to manually restore your website if something goes wrong, costing you valuable downtime.
- Most websites change frequently, so backups need to happen frequently. Changes to your website include everything from new or updated content (like new blog posts or pages), purchases (if you run an ecommerce site), comments, new users, image or file uploads, or even version updates to your plugins, themes or WordPress core. Some of these changes may happen in the background, so you’ll want to capture all of them with frequent backups in case you need to revert back.
- Before running updates to your themes, plugins and WordPress core, you need a backup. Keeping your website’s software up to date is a very important security best practice because version updates to your themes, plugins and WordPress core often involve security patches. While most developer test backward compatibility before pushing updates, it’s also always a good idea to run a backup before updating anything in case something breaks.
- Backups are like insurance for your website. You may not think of it this way, but your website has a substantial monetary value, based solely on the time you’ve spent building, editing and maintaining it. Want to see how much your website is actually worth?
How to Backup WordPress with the BackupBuddy Plugin
After purchasing the BackupBuddy plugin, you’ll get an email confirmation with instructions on how to download your plugin zip file from the iThemes Member Panel. Install and activate the BackupBuddy plugin just like any other WordPress plugin using the Plugins > Add New menu item in your WordPress admin dashboard.
From the BackupBuddy > Backups page, navigate to the Create Backup tab.
5 Different Types of Website Backups
On the Create Backup page, you’ll see 5 different backup options, or Backup Profiles.
- Complete Backup
- Database Backup
- Themes Only Backup
- Plugins Only Backup
- Media Only Backup
Let’s unpack these types of backups.
1. What’s Included in a Complete Backup?
A Complete backup is is the “whole enchilada.” This type of backup contains everything related to your WordPress installation, so it’s important to run this type of backup after you first install BackupBuddy. Just keep in mind this type of backup may be a larger file, depending on the total size of your website.
A complete backup includes:
- Theme Files
- Plugin Files
- Theme & Plugin Settings
- Media Library Files
- WordPress Settings
- WordPress Database
- WordPress Core Files
- Custom Post Types
- Categories & Tags
- JPG, JPEG, PNG, PDF files, etc
- WooCommerce products, transactions, sales, etc.
Once BackupBuddy generates this backup, you’ll be able to download a zip file of your Complete backup. You can watch BackupBuddy work as it backs up your files, your database, zips up the backup and verifies the integrity of the backup.
One cool thing about your BackupBuddy backups is the ability to download a zip file of backup, which is essentially your whole website.
Here’s a peek inside a BackupBuddy Complete Backup zip file:
2. What’s Included in a Database Backup?
We often say “a WordPress site is just a database with a face.” That means WordPress uses a MySQL database to store most of the important components of your website, including the content of your posts, users, comments, categories and tags, settings, links, etc.
Here’s a list of all the database tables included in a standard BackupBuddy Database backup.
Note: Additional database tables may be added by the plugins you use. You can get a complete breakdown of what’s included in these tables in this extensive article covering Database Descriptions on the WordPress.org Codex.
Once BackupBuddy completes the backup, you can download your Database backup as a zip file to expand the backup. Here’s a look inside.
3. What’s Included in a Plugins Only Backup?
The next three backup types are pretty self-explanatory. A Plugins Only type of backup backs up all your plugin files, regardless if the plugin is active or not.
This type of backup is extremely useful to run before you update plugins as the previous versions of the plugins will be preserved in case you need to revert back.
Once BackupBuddy finishes, the zip file download of the backup shows all the contents. Each plugin will have its own folder.
For this site, I only have a few plugins installed, but you can see each plugin folder contained within the backup.
4. What’s Included in a Themes Only Backup?
A Themes Only type of backup is exactly what it sounds like … a backup of all the themes installed on your site, regardless if they are active or not. This type of backup is extremely useful to run before you update themes as the previous versions of the theme will be preserved in case you need to revert back.
Once BackupBuddy finishes, the zip file download of the backup shows all the contents. Each theme installed on your site will have its own folder.
Each theme folder is contained within the backup.
5. What’s Included in a Media Only Backup?
A Media Only type of backup is a backup of all the media files you’ve uploaded to your website via the Media Library. This type of backup is extremely helpful if you’ve ever accidentally deleted an image file out of your Media Library and need to get it back.
Once BackupBuddy finishes, the zip file download of the backup shows all the contents.
Since your Media Library is organized by date, files will be organized into folders by year and month.
Learn More About BackupBuddy, the 3-in-1 WordPress Backup Plugin
BackupBuddy, our WordPress backup plugin, can backup, restore and migrate your WordPress website to a new host or domain. You can then store you backups safely off-site with OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive integration, or use BackupBuddy Stash, our secure, remote backup storage destination (you get 1GB free with your BackupBuddy subscription!)
Next up, we’ll be covering the importance of backup schedules and remote destinations as part of your WordPress backup strategy.
Need to restore from a backup? Check out BackupBuddy University: Restore Plugins, Themes, WordPress Version and Individual Files for a look at BackupBuddy’s in-dashboard restore feature.