How to Perform a Full WordPress Website Backup

As part of an overall management of your website, it’s important for site owners to create a full backup of their website. This is to protect your site against possible breakdown, data loss, cyber hacking or when migrating to another server.

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?

Each time we upload images or videos, add texts, change themes 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 secondary copy of your site which you can use to restore in case something goes wrong. It is a failsafe measure that can prevent you from undue stress and lost revenue.

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

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

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

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 it failing 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, if at all. However, when it does happen, it can potentially cause lots of downtimes and issues to your site. A backup copy allows you to completely restore your site in no time.
  • Catastrophes/Natural Disasters – This is something we all can’t avoid but if you want your website to continue its operations (especially for global businesses). It’s recommended to find a third-party website backup service that can generate a full backup of your website from a remote location.
  • Cyber Hacking – You might think your site is safe and secure and there’s nothing really worth breaching data for, but hackers tend to exploit the weaknesses found in the many of the site’s codes that have exploitable vulnerabilities.
  • Data Loss during Upgrades –  when you build your website using Content Management System (CMS), you need to update its theme and various plugins on regular basis. While these updates rarely cause issues, you always want to be on the safe side and have full backup copy ready before updating anything on your site.

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 full backup copy of your website.

How to Perform a Full Website Backup?

  1. Manual Backup

The fastest way to do this is through FTP or File Transfer Protocol. We suggest that you use Filezilla because its’ free and it works just as well. 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.

FileZilla - WordPress Backups

To backup through Filezilla:

  • Login to your server through quick connect.
  • Once logged in, 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.
  • It may take awhile so do something while download is going on.

WordPress database can be backed up just as any other databases. Here’s a simple tutorial on how to do a MySQL database backup. If you have several MySQL databases and you don’t know which one your site is running on, just open your wp-config.php file inside the WordPress root folder and the database name should be next to the DB_NAME option.

  1. 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 so make sure to check on the plugin details (ratings, compatibility, last update, etc.) before installing any plugins.
  • As soon as you’re ready, click on Install Now button and wait for the installation to complete.
  • Go back to the Plugins menu and click on Installed Plugin to see if it 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: It’s important 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:


  1. 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 create a backup copy.
  • Since you can’t download the WordPress folder (it’s because the download button is grayed 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 you choose the 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 the said copy, 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.
  • Repeat this process as often as necessary.
  1. 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 you a Data Backup or Disaster Recovery Backup option bundled with your hosting 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 are still in complete control of your website.

  1. Backup Service Provider

Jetserver Backup Manager - WordPress Backups

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

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


Bonus Tip

Depending on how frequent you post on your WordPress site, we suggest that you also do website backup just as regularly. If you post at least 30 times or more per day, then you have to create backups more frequently as well. Besides that, we will always recommend that you discuss your backup solution options with your web host.


What Matters Most

One of the best strategy you can maintain for your WordPress site is having a solid backup solution. We can’t predict what will happen, but having a backup strategy in place will help you sleep well at night. 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. It works by restoring any files or databases through the web hosting control panel. Focus on your business produtivity while we do the backing up for you!

Get at least 7 days worth of backup copies daily. The best thing about it that you don’t have to worry about forgetting to create copies for  your site. Our system automatically does it for you in the background–protecting your most important digital asset from possible data loss.

So what are you waiting for? CLICK on the link below to discuss this option with our Super Support Specialist today.