There is a saying. There are two kinds of people in the world.

– The ones never does backups.
– The ones that has lost data.

Life is never as painful as when we lose important information or maybe mess up a live site so our customers can’t access it. That is the time when we bitterly regret that we never did that backup that we have been thinking of for a long time.

There are companies that has been hurt so much that they can’t recover and has gone under because of this.

Luckily, for WordPress, backups are easy. And I’ll show you how to do it. The only cost is your time because it is a manual process. But it’s not much work.

There are two reasons we want to create backups.

  1. Safety You should always do a backup! Either you or your web hotel will mess up your site. Been there, done that myself. Both of them. It hurts.
    It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.
  2. You are moving your site Either from your local developer machine to the live site, or from one hotel to another.
    If you are interested in this process, check out my articles about WAMP.

This article works well for both scenarios. And more, I guess…  

Install the plugin All-in-One WP Migration

Just click “add new plugin” and search for it. I’m pretty sure it will be the first one in the list.

Install and activate.

That’s it. No configuration. No setting up. Just install.

Where do I start the backup? The dashboard!

When you install the All-in-One WP Migration plugin, it creates a top level menu entry in the dashboard. It contains three menu entries: Export, Import and Backups.

Create the backup

To make a backup of your entier WordPress site:

1. Install the All-in-One WP Migration plugin.
2. The plugin has its own menu in the dashboard. Find it and select Export.
3. In the “Export” menu, select “File”.
4. Wait while the backup file is created.
5. Click “Download”. It is downloaded to the default download folder your browser uses.
6. Move the file to a safe place.

When you want to create a backup of your site, you select the Export option. This will open a dialog where you can select where you want to send the backup file. There are a number of options, like File, Dropbox, FTP, and so on.

I always use File because that suits my way of doing things, so that’s what I will be showing. And some of the others can cost money to use.

When you click on File, the plugin starts creating the backup file. It runs through a number of steps, where the final is asking you to start downloading it.

When you click on the button, the file is downloaded in your browser to the default place where it stores all downloaded files.

If you don’t know where that is, check your browsers settings. And if you don’t know where you find them, search the web (with this link, for example).

Now, just move the file to a safe place, and you’re done.

What is stored in the file?

This file will contain everything.

You can recreate the entire site with it.

Restore a backup from the file on your local machine

To restore your backup using All-in-One WP Migration:

1. The plugin has its own menu in the Dashboard. Select “Import” from it.
2. Drag-and-drop the backup file to the upload area. Or, select “File” in the “Import From” menu, and click your way to the file.
3. You are about to overwrite the entire site! Verify that your are sure by clicking “Proceed”.
4. When the upload is done, just click “Finish”.

Restoring the backup is the reverse process of creating it.

You select “Import” from the menu. Select “File” and either drag the backup file from your file manager (for Windows it is the Explorer, Mac uses the Finder).

Or, in the “Import From” menu, you select “File” and click your way to the file. Whatever floats your boat.

Lastly, confirm that you know what you are doing. The plugin is kind enough to double check that you really want to overwrite everything. What you have on the site now will disappear, and be replaced with the content in the backup. Just click “Proceed”.

The file is too big! Not a problem…

If it is the first time you do this, you will probably get the error that the file is too big, just follow the instructions on this page:
How to increase the max file upload size in WordPress with “.htaccess”

All the backup files are also stored on the server

Every backup you create is stored on the web hotel server too. This will take up space on your web hotel, which can be a problem for instance if your plan is a low cost with not too much space and your site is big. Remember to prune the collection. You have all the older versions on your local machine, so you don’t need it on the web hotel server too.

This is a feature that can be quite useful if you have a site that has a high requirement on uptime. Just remember, you have to become a paying user of the plugin, but it could in the end save you money.

It is a fast way to restore the site if anything goes wrong. You don’t have to wait until you’ve located the old backup and uploaded it to the site. You just restore the backup.

Decide what works best for you.

Labour intense, but free

This process is entirely manual, but it’s free. When your business goes from hobby to commercial or your business grows, you probably don’t want to waste your time on manual backups. There are ways to automate the backup, and they will most likely cost you money. But manual work costs time instead. You have to decide if your time is best spent on creating backups or on developing your business. Or if your budget can take it. There are many reasons to go either way. It’s all up to you.

— Cheers!

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