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Your WordPress database contains every post, every comment and every link you have on your blog. If your database gets erased or corrupted, you stand to lose everything you have written. There are many reasons why this could happen and not all are things you can control. But what you can do is backup your data. After all, it is important. Right?
Making backups is essential because problems inevitably occur and you need to be in a position to take action when disaster strikes. Spending a few minutes to make an easy, convenient backup of your database will allow you to spend even more time being creative and productive with your website.
Answering Backup Questions
- How often should you back up?
- That depends on how often you blog, how often you want to do this, and how you would feel if your database were lost along with a few posts. It is your decision.
- Can you use this method to back up other data?
- Yes. And you should. Backups are good.
- How many backups should I keep?
- Excellent question. Most people make a backup and then just replace it every time. It saves space and is less to worry about. But what if that backup file is corrupted or lost? Then what? The general rule of thumb is to keep at least three backups and keep them in three different places or forms, like floppies, CDs, different hard drives, web disk, your e-mail account, etc.
- My database backups are huge! Can I do anything about that?
- Possibly. Typically, anti-spam and statistics plugins can add large amounts of data and because they are constantly gathering information, the database can swell significantly. When backing up the database, such information is probably not important to keep. Do not mark those tables for backup when selecting them during the backup process.
- Can backups be automated?
- Yes. There are several methods of automating the backup process available, but back up those auto backups with a manual backup every once in a while to guarantee that the process is working. See Backup Resources for more information.
The following are general documents for helping you to backup and restore your WordPress data.
- Backing Up Your Database
- Restoring Your Database From Backup
- Backing Up Your WordPress Site
- WordPress Database Backup Instructions
Backing Up Your WordPress Site
There are two parts to backing up your WordPress site: Database and Files. You need to back up the entire site, and you need to backup your WordPress database. Below are instructions for backing up your WordPress database for various server programs. We will start with backing up the rest of your WordPress Site.
Your WordPress site consists of the following:
- WordPress Core Installation
- WordPress Plugins
- WordPress Themes
- Images and Files
- Additional Files and Static Web Pages
All of these are used in various combinations to generate your website. The database contains your posts and a lot of data generated on your site, but it does not include the above elements that all come together to create the look and information on your site. These need to be saved.
Most hosts back up the entire server, including your site, but it takes time to request a copy of your site from their backups, and a speedy recovery is critical. You need to learn how to backup your own site files and restore them. Here are some methods.
- Website Host Provided Backup Software
- Most website hosts provide software to back up your site. Check with your host to find out what services and programs they provide.
- Create Synchs With Your Site
- 2Bright Sparks's Synchback and WinSCP are programs which allow you to synch with your website to keep a mirror copy of the content on your server and hard drive updated. It saves time and makes sure you have the latest files in both places.
- Copy Your Files to Your Desktop
- Using FTP Clients or UNIX Shell Skills you can copy the files to a folder on your computer. Once there, you can zip or compress them into a zip file to save space, allowing you to keep several versions.
Remember, keep at least three backups on file, just in case one is corrupted or lost, and store them in different places and on different mediums, like CD, DVD, different hard drives, etc.
Database Backup Instructions
Back up your WordPress database regularly, and always before an upgrade or move to a new location. The following information will help you backup your WordPress database using various popular server software packages. For detailed information, contact your website host for more information on the program, control panel, and resources they provide.
phpMyAdmin is one of the most popular database management systems found on most website hosts. You will need to know where it is and how to access it on your website host's interface or control panel. We have provided information on accessing phpMyAdmin below.
phpMyAdmin is used by site administrators to manage and interact with their MySQL databases. During the installation process, you probably accessed mySQL through phpMyAdmin to create your WordPress Database and set up the password. WordPress stores all of its information in the MySQL database and phpMyAdmin provides the interface to access that data.
While familiarity with phpMyAdmin is not necessary to back up your WordPress database, these instructions should take you step-by-step through the process of finding phpMyAdmin on your server and then you can follow the instructions below as a simple and easy backup or for more detailed instructions see Backing Up Your Database.
On your main control panel for cPanel, look for the MySQL logo and click the link to MySQL Databases. On the next page, look for phpMyAdmin link and click it to access your phpMyAdmin.
From Your Account page, look for MySQL Management and click it to access phpMyAdmin.
Look for the MySQL Admin logo and click the link. Under Configuration choose MySQL Administration Tool.
Click the button for Databases. Then choose the link to the WordPress database you setup during the WordPress installation. Then click on the button for phpMyAdmin.
From the main control panel, click Host Manager, then click Databases. In the next window, click Admin. Another window will popup taking you to the phpMyAdmin login screen.
The following is a very simple version of how to use phpMyAdmin to back up your WordPress database. For more detailed information see WordPress Backups and Backing Up Your Database. Once you have discovered how to access your site's phpMyAdmin, follow these simple instructions.
Begin by clicking database in your phpMyAdmin panel.
You may have several databases. Click the one that holds your WordPress data, the database you created when you installed WordPress.
This shows only default tables. You may have more tables -- this would happen if you have any statistics plugins or anti-spam plugins.
- Select ONLY those that hold your Wordpress site.
- Check the "Add DROP TABLE" box.
- Check the "Complete inserts" box.
- Check the "Save as File" box
- Check the "None" for compression. If your database is very large use a compression method.
- Click Go. The data will now be saved into your computer.
Keep these files safe !
- Backing Up Your Database
- Backing Up Your WordPress Files
- Restoring Your Database From Backup
- Using phpMyAdmin with WordPressWordPress Site]
- Cron Job Backups - nightly SQL backup which can be emailed to you
- WP-DB-Backup Plugin - Email, Save to Server, and Auto-Scheduling
- WordPress DBManager - Supports automatic scheduling of backing up and optimizing of database
- BackupWordPress - Backup database as well as files
Information on Backup Week
For more information on the WordPress Backup Week or to volunteer, see: WordPress Backup Week.