How To Backup WordPress Blogs – NO more WP Backup Lies please…

I’ve had blogs hacked, I’ve had hosting companies let me down. I’ve installed bad plugins and uploaded dodgy themes and not upgraded WordPress when I should – in fact I’ve done about everything the wrong way before learning the right way! It’s not just down to knowing how to backup WordPress!

So what do I know now that I’ve done it all wrong in the past? here are my tips for maintaining a pretty good secure WordPress site and avoiding the ‘bad stuff’ , and in no particular order.

  • When WordPress suggest you update your site only do so immediately if it’s a ‘major’ security update e.g. 3.0 to 3.1 as opposed to a minor fix as in 3.0 to 3.01. Let others see if there’s an issue with a minor update before you do. WordPress will soon let you know!
  • Always backup your database before uploading and activating new themes and plugins – that way you just delete the new add ons and revert back to the way you were before if necessary. Better yet – if you have a spare domain ( or even a folder added to your domain e.g. and install a ‘test’ WP Blog there – just remember to ‘hide’ it from the Search Engines via Settings > Privacy in your admin area ( the only time you’ll ever choose that option in my opinion):

  • There are a few database backup plugins out there ( and don’t forget you can always back up your databases via your hosting Control Panel too.) such as WP-DB-Backup and WP-DBManager both of which allow you to schedule backups and send them via email ( set up a free Google email account just for those backups is my tip!) or back up to your computer or external hard drive.

Seems a bit crazy to me to save your backup files solely to the server file where your blog sits! Something goes wrong and you lose your site you lose your backups too!

OK but there’s something you need to remember and what a lot of people forget to tell you! Backing up your database is great, do it after every post you make! B U T ….

Database backup Warning

it includes all your posts, comments, categories and tags – that’s GREAT! – but no photos or images in your posts or pages!

Your logo? Your themes and plugins? Maybe you’ve tweaked the code on your site’s theme and had work done on it?

You’ve uploaded Audio files to your server and incorporated them into your site? Maybe Slideshows or Videos too?

Well, not to put too fine a point on it, you are ‘F@#2-d’ !

There is a solution of course! Simply, whenever you do a regular database backup use your FTP program of choice and download your /uploads/ folder with all your images in. Plus any other folders you might have set up for, maybe. /audio/ or /video/ or whatever – download those too.

Also download your /wp-content/themes/ and /wp-content/plugins folders as well!

And don’t forget your wp-config.php file!

So do you see what I’m saying here? If you are being told, and accepting as gospel, that by simply using a database backup plugin that you are fully covered if something goes badly wrong on your site or server and that you are protecting your site:  ‘against the day’ then…

You are being misled about the best way to Backup WordPress Blogs! That’s just crazy!

…unintentionally no doubt but incomplete information is bad information where I come from! Especially when it involves something as important as a web site that you could lose forever simply through ignorance of the true facts. If you’ve got a nice content rich site starting from scratch just with your textual content having lost all your media, site logo, plugins, theme and tweaks just doesn’t bear thinking about.

So, what are you going to do about it?

Keep on doing what you are doing and ‘fingers crossed’? Yep! That’ll do it :-)

No, you have 2 choices use my free FTP method above or learn how to clone your blog ( database PLUS all the other stuff I mentioned above) in just a couple of clicks and a few minutes downloading or uploading time. WATCH AND LEARN….

But first let me ask you this. If you had to re-instate your WordPress site ( from SCRATCH!) even on a new hosting account. Not just the Backup WordPress info but all your content, imagery, plugins, themes EVERYTHING! A carbon copy of your original site!


Well if not, why not? Don’t you think it would be somewhat cool if you could? Check this out!

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About the Author

Clive McGonigal is a full time Web Developer, Marketer, WordPress Evangelist and all round Decent Chap. He lives between London and France ( on a tiny rowing boat with an internet connection) and spends his offline time wining, dining and conversing with his dogs. He loves WordPress ( themes, plugins and tweaks) and blogs about them whenever he can.

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