One of the most important things you need to do when you are a WordPress website owner is to ensure that your website is regularly backed-up. You need to be able to roll back easily to a previous version for a lot of reasons. Here are just a few of the most important ones:
- WordPress is continually being updated for enhancements, security and bug fixes. Most updates will go smoothly and everything will keep working perfectly. However there is a possibility that it might break something, especially if you have a lot of plugins or your theme hasn’t been updated.
- WordPress is OpenSource software. This means that the entire codebase is fully available for everyone to view and use. OpenSource is one of the key things that makes for a vibrant and active community building plugins to do pretty much anything you want to do with your site. It also means that hackers can get to know the code too – and exploit it to install links to malicious websites and malware.
- When you install and activate a new plugin – there is the possibility that it will break something on your website if it is not compatible or it has a bug. Every plugin page on the WordPress website has a compatibility widget to let you know the most recent WordPress version that the plugin has been tested to work with.
Recently I installed a plugin that made all my text in the backend editor white so it was invisible. It was a known issue that had affected many other websites. I uninstalled the plugin but it didn’t fix the issue. Luckily I had a recent back up to roll back to. It can save a lot of time easily wasted in troubleshooting if you can go back to a recent last working version and not loose much or any work.
Best ways to backup WordPress
There are quite a lot of options for backing up your WordPress website and it’s a good idea to use at least 2 different backup methods. To be sure, to be sure!
Here are the ones that I recommend for small business owners with a simple WordPress website (no multi-site):
- Use cPanel hosting (recommended for sooo many other reasons too) and install your WordPress website using Installatron. Installatron has settings to enable regular automatic backups.
The backups are in the last option – and you need to select to manually configure to see the backup options. I always set to 1 Daily > 1 Weekly > 1 Monthly. This gives you a one click, super-fast roll back to any of these backups – which are automatically done. Set and forget : )
- Manually compress the public_html directory (folder) in cPanel File Manager, then manually export your mySQL database. Requires familiarity with cPanel. I have shown many business owners how to do with and nobody has had trouble learning this method.
- Use a plugin. There are many different WordPress backup plugins to choose from. Paid versions will back up your website to your Google Drive or Dropbox etc – free ones will package it up so that you can download your backup or keep a copy.
Plugins to backup WordPress
- Jetpack is one of the most popular backup plugins. It also sends you an email whenever your website goes down and informs you exactly how long your site was down.
- Updraft Plus – 2 million active installs can’t be wrong. Backup your site to the cloud in one click with the most robust backup solution for WordPress. All the popular cloud storage providers are supported! Download Updraft Plus
- Duplicator – Another popular plugin to back up and clone your WordPress website. Not quite as user friendly as Updraft Plus and I’ve found that it requires a lot of server resources. This can be an issue if you are on a budget shared web hosting server – most small businesses are! Duplicator is also designed for moving your website to a new domain.