How to Backup A WordPress Site

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Backups of your website are the one thing you hope to never need but are essential to have in case the worst happens. If you are somehow the victim of a scam, your website is utilizing a bad plugin or theme, or even if your website magically disappears, having a backup can save you countless hours and stress. 

Luckily, it isn’t too challenging if the worst happens to create a backup of your website. Both manually and plugins are available if the worst happens, you have an easy solution. 

Method 1: Backup your WordPress Site Manually

Even if you aren’t technically-savvy, it’s possible to backup your WordPress site manually. These steps will show you a few different techniques to ensure that your entire WordPress directory, including all sub-folders, are backed up. 

Step 1: Manually Backup Your WordPress Files

Logging in through your cPanel or using an SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) program are the two different ways to download your WordPress directory and back up your files manually. 

Using cPanel

  1. Go to your login page for cPanel. Typically, it will be your domain name or IP address and then /Cpanel.
  2. Navigate to Files, and click File Manager
  3. You’ll see the public_html folder on the left panel. Click on the + symbol to expand the file and locate the folder with your website’s name. 
  4. Right-click on this folder and hit “Compress.”
  5. Choose “Zip Archive” and then “Compress File(s).
  6. It shouldn’t take very long to compress the website. After it is done, click on the zip file, and then “Download” from the top menu bar. 
  7. Save your backup in a safe and secure location on your hard drive. 

Manually backing up your WordPress site is relatively easy! As you can see, there are not very many steps to follow, and it is all relatively straight forward. If you don’t have a cPanel, you can use other methods like SFTP. 

Using SFTP 

Using a file manager like Transmit or FileZilla might be helpful in your quest to backup WordPress sites because they are easy enough for even website novices to use. Once you have downloaded one of these applications on your computer, you’ll have to get your SFTP login credentials from your hosting account. 

Once you have decided which file manager to use, login and enter the details of your website: nickname, unique SFTP username and password, as well as website URL. Change the port number to 2222. 

After you have entered these details, you’ll be able to find all your WordPress files. Select everything, right-click, and select “Download Selected Items.” After you’ve done so, zip the files and label the files with the date. 

Manually Backup Your WordPress Database

Once you have your WordPress file copies, your work isn’t quite done. Next, you’ll need to have a complete backup of your entire WordPress database, just in case something goes wrong and you need to do a full restore of your website. Once again, these steps are so easy that even a complete novice can navigate these instructions. 

Go to your hosting panel and navigate to phpMyAdmin. Depending on your control panel, you will find this in different places. For cPanel users, you’ll see it under Database Tools. Once you have found and logged into phpMyAdmin, the main administration panel will pop up, and you can find the “Databases.” Depending on how you installed your WordPress site, you might have several different databases to choose from. 

Once you are within your file manager, you’ll go to the WordPress direct and find the wp-config.php file. Right-click and select view. Another window will open up and you will want to find: define(‘DB_NAME', ‘yourdatabase_name'); which will tell you which database you are looking for. In this example, the database’s name is yourdatabase_name. Now that you know what to look for, go back to the database file in phpMyAdmin and find the correct database. Next, “Check All” on the files, go to the Export tab, and select the export format as SQL. 

Once it has downloaded, make sure to save your entire database in a secure file, and to have multiple copies! 

While this process is easy, you can use plugins if you would like an even easier method. Here’s how. 

Method 2: Use Plugins To Backup WordPress Automatically 

Using a plugin can make this job much more efficient. The two plugins we are exploring today are Duplicator and Updraft.


This free WordPress plugin has the primary purpose of closing or migrating your site to a different location. You won’t be able to schedule backups, but it can help you save your files and database in a ZIP archive. To make it even easier for you, it creates a specific PHP file to make reinstating your backup a breeze. 


Another high-rated WordPress plugin, Updraft also makes it easy to backup your site. Some of the features include email and storage options, quick restore, site duplicator, the option to split large websites into multiple archives, and more. If you want even more features, there is a pro version that gives you even more options. 

Start Backing Up Your WordPress Site

Even if your hosting provider offers free backups, it is always a good idea to have your own version on hand. It only takes a few minutes to ensure that your site is safe and secure, and if anything goes wrong, you (and your website) can quickly recover.

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