How To Easily Auto Backup Your WordPress Database

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backup So for the past few weeks my mind has pretty much been in ‘blog’ mode, which you can probably tell due to my recent fixation on blog related posts. I’ve done nothing but think about my new blog and over the previous weekend I got the barebones live on the net.

However, it didn’t all go to plan. There was something wrong with the host which left my site back in 1982 until the MUO authors, more specifically Karl, was able to get her up and running while I yelled at my hosting company.

So I was happy. For a while. But then the thought of “˜what if the host was to go belly up right now?’ popped into my mind. At any minute it could all just go wrong and I’d be left blogless. All my posts would be gone. The theme I’ve fine-tuned. The media I’ve uploaded. It would be the virtual equivalent of pulling the pin from the hand grenade and tossing it into the epicentre of my site. The only remnants of its existence being a ‘404’ error. And you want to know the worst thing? No matter how many times your press ‘F5’, the blog simply wont appear. Ever.

There are two things you need to do to have a full backup of your website. The first one is easy, you just have to backups server files. This can be easily done using any FTP client. Just connect to your server and copy the contents of the folder to your computer.

Second, you need to backup your database. Figuring out how to backup your WordPress blog database is the way to go. Most definitely.

One could do this the hard way. You could manually backup everything using an FTP client and an external hard drive. But that’s the hard way. So here is an easy way to backup your WordPress blog – in three easy steps no less.

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Getting a WordPress database ‘back up’ plug-in

If there’s one thing that separates WordPress from the other half dozen popular blogging platforms, it’s the abundance of plug-ins. There are quite a few which back-up your blog but I recommend using the ‘WordPress Database Backup Plugin’. For those of you familiar with the innermost working of a website – this plug-in will back-up your tables in your WordPress database. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the innermost working of a website – it will save you a weekend of going through the five stages of grief.

Installing the plugin

Have the plugin downloaded? You sure? You’re not just reading on through this post while your blog sits utterly vulnerable to destruction? OK, good.

backup your blogNow comes the installation. It’s pretty much the same as any other plugin installation.

First go to the plugin menu on the WordPress admin page and under plugins click ‘add new‘ as seen in the screenshot. Upload the plugin. You can leave it in the .zip format if you like. Then click ‘Activate‘ once the install has finished.

Setting it up

Go to ‘Tools‘ along the left-hand sidebar in the WordPress admin area. Under ‘Tools‘ you’ll find a new menu called ‘Backup‘. Click on that.

There are three main areas that you have to fill out in the screen which appears. The first area is entitled ‘Tables‘ and put simply, it allows you to specify what you want to back up. I’d suggest leaving everything ticked. This will basically back up your entire blog including posts, comments, users and settings.

backup your blog

Then, under ‘Back Up Options‘ you can select where you want the backup files to go. You can either save to your server, download to your computer or e-mail to a specified address. Pick whichever one works for you. I’ll be keeping mine on an external hard-drive so I’ll be downloading it to my computer. However the other two options – particularly the e-mail options are also good.

backup your blog

Finally, the third table allows you to choose how often your blog is backed up. This is done automatically. I’d suggest doing it at least weekly. If your blog is really big with multiple posts per hour you can back up hourly, daily and twice daily.

Finally click ‘Backup Now‘ under the second section to make sure you’re safe from the get-go.

So now if it all does go horribly wrong (i.e. a virtual hand grenade has just blown up in serverland) you’ll be back up (no pun intended) in no time by simply restoring the backed up database and uploading WordPress files using an FTP such as FileZilla.

For more great plugins for your WordPress blog click here.

Image Credit: John Loo

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