What Does It Mean to Backup Your WordPress Site?
Your WordPress site, at it’s most basic level, is a collection of files stored in folders on your host server, just like files are stored on your computer. And, just like on your computer, when something goes wrong, it’s important to have backup for those times when it all goes wrong. When we talk about backing up your site, it means that regularly updated copies of those files are stored elsewhere, either on the same server, on a different server, downloaded to your computer, or any/all of the above. Let’s talk about a few reasons why you might need that security, and a few ways to achieve it!
Hackers are motivated for many reasons. They may hope to hold your site hostage for money, they may inject malicious code that redirects your visitors to scam sites or links that pay them for traffic, they may want access to stored users & passwords, or other important data gathered from forms on your site. Sometimes they do it for revenge, or social reasons, or simply because they can.
Whatever the reason, hackers are a persistent and very real threat to your WordPress site, no matter the size or perceived importance of your business. From the moment your site goes live, an army of bots moves in, testing for vulnerabilities. (That’s why it’s important to have a good security or maintenance plan, but that’s a post for another day.)
As an Antidote to Human Error
It happens to the best of us! No matter how careful a person is, eventually a file gets overwritten, a page gets deleted, a database gets wiped, or the new intern gets a little too ambitious. I make edits on client websites every day, but the first thing I do is take a current backup! That one habit has saved me multiple times.
Another very common issue is that a particular backup to a theme or plugin will cause errors on the site. Either the code gets released with bugs, or it doesn’t play well with another element on the site. This can result in sites that freeze up, or show white screens, or don’t display or function as expected. In these cases, the easiest fix is to roll back to an earlier version of the site and wait to do that update until the issue is resolved.
How do I Backup my WordPress site?
So now that we know why, let’s explore a few options for how.
The easiest first line of defense is to keep a good server backup. A quality host, such as Siteground will offer this as a basic part of their hosting service. In my opinion, if they charge extra for backups, get a better host. The great thing about a server backup is that it happens in the background without any extra effort on your part, and will (in most cases) fix your site with one push of a button. The downside is that if something were to happen at the server level—say a physical disruption, or a billing dispute—then that backup is not helpful, and you’ll need another line of defense.
Offsite backups are most easily achieved with a plugin such as Manage WP, or Updraft Plus, which can be configued to save backups to another location like Dropbox or Google Drive. These take a little more work, and must be managed to ensure that the drive does not fill up and stop saving your backups, but are important in the event that a server backup is not the right choice. Personally, I like the ease with which I can create a new backup file just prior to making any website changes.
Hosting & Maintenance Service
Here at Creekside Collaborative, our hosting and maintenance plans include both server backups and offsite backups, as it’s so important to be able to easily restore a site in the event that the worst happens!
If you find yourself wanting help with backing up your WordPress site, let us know, and we’ll be happy to get you set up properly.