How to backup your blog

One of the most common technical questions about blogging is “how do I backup my blog?”.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest mistakes to make, is not to!

So this week, I’m going to show you how to backup your blog.  Today, we’re going to do it manually.  Then in the next two posts, I’ll show you how to automate the process, so that you don’t forget to do it!

A WordPress blog is essentially made up of three parts.  There is the database, the content folder, and then the rest.

The rest is not usually a big worry, because this can be re-installed by downloading WordPress.

The database contains all of the posts, page comments, so losing this means losing everything you have written, and all of the comments as well!  So it is vital, that the database is backed up.

Finally, the wp-content folder needs backing up as well, as this contains any photos or graphics that you have uploaded, as well as your theme.  It also contains the plug-ins, which you can, of course, re-install.  But having them backed up in one place saves a lot of searching!

So let’s start with the database.

If you are running WordPress, then you are probably using something called a MySQL database.  This was more than likely set up by your hosting company, and you received a username and password which you entered into WordPress during the installation.

Now, somewhere you have a username and password for your hosting package.  Using this, you need to log in to that and start something called “phpMyAdmin“.  This may be called something else, like “Database Administration”, but ask your hoster if you cannot find it.

Inside phpMyAdmin you can see the “tables” that WordPress has created on the left-hand side of the screen.  On the right-hand side you should have a row of options, one of which is “Export”:

phpMyAdmin Export (shown here in German)

Click on this, and you will either see the name of the database in a small selection box, or the names of the tables.  Select ALL of those tables, or the database name as applicable.

Further down the screen this is an option called “compression”.  Select “ZIP-compressed”.

Select ZIP compression

Click on “OK” and the database will be exported and offered to you as a file to save on your hard disc.

That’s it!  That was the database backup!

Now you need to at least backup the wp-content directory.

To do this, start your FTP program and connect to the server.  Navigate to the directory containing your blog, and download the wp-content directory to your hard disc.  Take particular care to make sure that the images have been backed up, these are usually in the “uploads” directory, or sorted into one directory per year.

Directories needing particular attention in the backup

So now you have one backup of your blog.  But as I said before, this needs to be done regularly.  How often you take a backup will depend on how often you post and also how often you receive comments.

In my next two posts, I’ll show you how to automate the process so make sure you are signed up to the RSS feed!

About Graham Tappenden

Graham Tappenden is a blogger from Germany. He has written code for WordPress themes since 2006 and been creating websites since 1994.
This entry was posted in WordPress Basics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.