How to Perform a Full WordPress Website Backup


April 25, 2017

Cloud Computing, Data and Analytics 7 min read

How to Perform a Full WordPress Website Backup

As part of the overall management of your website, it’s essential for site owners to create a full backup of their website. This protects your site against possible breakdown, data loss, or cyber hacks.

How to perform a full website backup is one of the most frequently asked questions here at Vodien. So we decided to answer that question in this comprehensive article.

What is a Website Backup?

What is a Website Backup

Each time we upload images or videos, add texts, and install plugins, we change certain aspects to our website. We’d like to think that it will perform at its best all the time, but that’s not always the case. It can sometimes be prone to security issues and data loss, especially when certain security measures are not implemented.

A website backup is a secondary copy of your site for restoration in case something goes wrong. It is a failsafe measure that can save you from unwanted stress and lost revenue.

Think of it as saving several copies of your songs, videos and other personal files in different backup storages devices like flash drives and external hard drives. You turn to these backup copies in case something goes wrong with the main file.

Why It’s a Must to Create a Full Backup?

Why It's a Must to Create a Full Backup

Whether you own a  small or large website, it’s scary to think that anyone can fall victim to high-scale data breaches. We recommend all Vodien customers to take the necessary steps to back up their websites regularly and convert to an HTTPs website.

Here are some reasons why it’s essential to create a backup for your site:

  • Virus Infection - When you link to sites laden with malicious viruses, it may corrupt your files and worse, may disable your computer.
  • Website crashes – Cheap web hosting service might be prone to intermittent site crashes which might lead to data loss.
  • Hard Drive Failure - Most hard drives and servers are built to last long, but there’s still a small margin of error for hard drives to fail. The chances of failure will depend on the type of server deployed by your web host and how these servers are configured.
  • Server Failure - If your site is hosted on reliable servers, this will rarely happen. When it does happen, it can cause lots of downtimes and issues to your site. A backup copy saves you from that.
  • Cyber Hacking - You might think your site is safe and secure, but hackers tend to exploit sensitive portions found in your site's codes.
  • Data Loss during Upgrades -  When you build your website using Content Management System (CMS), you need to update its theme and plugins regularly. While these updates rarely cause issues, you always want to be on the safe side and have a full backup copy ready before updating anything on your site.

READ: 7 Smart Tips to Protect Your Site Before a WordPress Update

What Includes a WordPress Website Backup?

There are two essential components that you need to backup for your WordPress site:

  • Wp-content folder – This is where you can find all the media files, scripts, themes, plugins and etc. that forms the structure and gives functionality to the site.
  • MySQL Database – It stores all the site’s web pages, posts, comments, users, categories, and other options set in the WordPress admin.

To ensure that you have a copy of your website, we recommend that you do a full website backup both for wp-content folder and MySQL database. Next, we’re going to show you how to create a full backup copy of your website.

How to Perform a Full Website Backup?

Manual Backup

The fastest way to do this is through FTP or File Transfer Protocol. We suggest that you use Filezilla because it’s free and it works. It allows you to upload or download files to and from a remote server. It’s the oldest method of transferring files through the Internet.


To backup through Filezilla:

  • Login to your server through quick connect.
  • Check the server files are on the right side (remote) while the computer files are on the left (local).
  • Choose a location (or folders) on your computer hard drive where you want to save your backup copy.
  • On the server (remote), open public_html  folder, select all, and drag and drop these files and folders to your chosen computer backup location.
  • Wait for the download to finish.

WordPress database can be backed up like any other databases. Here’s a simple tutorial on how to do a MySQL database backup.

If you have several MySQL databases and don’t know which one your site is running on, open your wp-config.php file inside the WordPress root folder where the database name should be next to the DB_NAME option.

Backup Plugins

Backup plugins_

To install a backup plugin and download a backup file, here’s how:

  • On your WordPress Dashboard, hover over Plugins menu and click Add New.
  • On the right side, you’ll find the search field. Type ‘backup plugins’ and enter.
  • There are thousands of backup plugins to choose from. Make sure to check on the plugin details (ratings, compatibility, last update, etc.) before installing.
  • As soon as you’re ready, click Install Now and wait for the installation to complete.
  • Go back to the Plugins menu and click on Installed Plugin to see if your plugin was successfully installed.
  • Click on the backup plugin. Run through the settings.
  • Create a backup as per instructions. After the backup files are done downloading, you may store them to a backup location.  NOTE: Do not to store your backup file in the server. Instead, store them on your computer.

Here are some of the backup plugins you might want to try:

cPanel Backup

To back up your entire site via cPanel, follow these steps:

  • Go to your web host’s control panel account (e.g. cPanel) and log in.
  • On File Manager, pick either the Home Directory or Web Root (public_html/www). For those using a different control panel like vDeck or Plesk, just find the File Manager and follow the same similar process outlined here.
  • Find the WordPress directory you want to create a backup copy.
  • Since you can’t download the WordPress folder (it’s because the download button is greyed out), you have to compress it first prior to downloading.
  • Click on the WordPress folder, right-click and choose Compress option. Alternatively, you can click on the Compress button on the top menu bar.
  • For Compression type, you have several options to choose from: Zip archive, Tar archive, Gziped Tar Archive Bzip2ed Tar Archive. We recommend  Zip archive.
  • Click the Compress File button and wait for the system to process and save a compressed copy of the WordPress folder. To find it, sort files by Last Modified column to the current date. The compressed file should show up on the first row.
  • Click on the compressed file. You can right-click “Download” or click on the Download button on the menu bar.
  • Once the compressed file is downloaded, save the backup copy to your preferred backup location such as your computer or cloud storage drives like Google Drive or Dropbox. We recommended saving at least 3 copies on different backup platforms to ensure that you have several copies of your files.
  • Repeat this process as often as necessary.

READ: How to Bulletproof your cPanel Account from Hackers

Built-in Backup Service Provided from your Web Host

Most web hosts already include scheduled backup service in their web hosting plans. Here at Vodien, we provide one remote automatic website backup per week for all our web hosting plans. Talk to your web host and see if they do offer such backup service too.

Depending on the type of web hosting plan you have, your web host might offer a Data Backup or Disaster Recovery Backup option bundled with your plan. Discuss these options with your web host and choose which one will work for your site.

It would be great if you can also do the manual website backup along with the backup copy sent by your web host. In this way, you still completely control your website.

Backup Service Provider

Backup Service Provider

Another great website backup solution is through a special backup service provider like Jet Backup Manager. It processes local and remote backup of your site simultaneously. It transfers WordPress files to their servers— saving you from manually doing the backup yourself.

This allows you to save your backup copies in a remotely different location. If anything bad happens to your local drives, you can recover them with no worries.

Bonus Tip

Regardless of how frequently you post, do website backup regularly. If you post at least 30 times a day, you have to create more backups as well. Besides that, we recommend that you discuss your backup solutions with your web host.

What Matters Most

There's no doubt that that having a solid backup solution for your WordPress site is a must. Pick any of the backup solutions mentioned above, and expect that to restore your site in no time.

Along with that, we’re happy to announce to all our Vodien clients that we provide Website Daily Backup and Recovery Service on top of all our web hosting plans. Focus on your business productivity while we do the backing up for you!

Get at least 7 days worth of backup copies daily. Don't worry about forgetting to create copies for your website. Our system will do it for you.

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