Backup for WordPress

Last Revised: October 2, 2021

WordPress does not incorporate by default any type of automatic backup system, so you have to depend on a third-party tool for it.

When making a backup you have to keep in mind that WordPress is composed of two completely different elements: files and data. The file part is stored on your server, and can be accessed by FTP or any other method, and the data is stored in the database. This means that when making a backup you have to do it of both parts, since one does not work without the other.

Where to make copies

When it comes to making backups there are many methods for it. The first is that of the hosting server itself. Normally the providers themselves offer the possibility of making a copy of all the contents hosted on the machine. In general, these copies are made externally on a specific backup server. In this case you must know how it works when it comes to both seeing how and when they are made, as well as how to restore the copy, if it can be partial, total, and if you have access to the data in a simple way.

A second way is manual, through the operating system, so that you set up a system that makes a copy of all the files (for example in a ZIP) and on the other hand make a dump of the database to obtain a copy of the SQL file with all the data.

Finally, and the most common (in addition to what the provider can provide us) is to have a backup plugin. Plugins there are many and in general we recommend that you try several until you find the one that suits your needs. It is not the same to back up a small site (200 MB) than to make a large one (5 GB). Response times and server performance could cause the system to become saturated and copies not made, so we recommend that you test the different systems until you find the one that works best.

In addition, it is also important that when you make backups they are stored in at least two different places. One is usually the server itself where the website is. Sometimes the site gets corrupted but does not affect the machine, so having the files up close and available quickly is usually a great help. The other case is to have them outside the server, in an external place, and even outside the same network or provider or country. The fact that it is in a different place would allow that even if that provider had a serious problem (and for example you did not have the possibility of accessing it) you could restore your site from an external place.

When to make copies

Copies you can make as many as you want, although in moderation, like everything. It will generally depend on how many changes you make to your website and how often to determine how much data you’re willing to lose in an extreme case.

For example, if you have a site where you publish content every week, and your visitors are posting some comments, a daily backup is probably enough.

On the other hand, if for example you are a media that publishes a hundred articles daily and there is a lot of interaction, you will most likely want to make a copy every few hours.

In any case, it is advisable to have at least one copy daily for a week, and then store a weekly copy for at least a few months. In this way you would ensure that you have copies that go between 3 and 6 months ago. Again, it will depend on the size and configuration of your site.

About this document

This document is regulated by the EUPL v1.2 license, published in WP SysAdmin and created by Javier Casares. Please, if you use this content in your website, your presentation or any material you distribute, remember to mention this site or its author, and having to put the material you create under EUPL license.