How to Backup a WordPress Blog

Today is a special day here at Virgin Blogger Notes because we have our first ever guest post. Please join me in welcoming Ishan Sharma from Blogging With Success.

Backup Before Your Blog Blows

Imagine you get up one morning and check your blog for new comments. But instead of your blog, you see a message that says, “Ha! This blog is hacked!”

Isn’t that horrible?

Sadly, this is something that can happen to any one of us. There are lot of cyber-criminals out there who do such things for fun or profit.

Last week, Jean wrote an excellent post, When Bad Things Happen To Good Bloggers. This encouraged me to write a bit about safeguarding a blog from hackers. The safest way to keep your data secure is to take regular backups.

In this post, I will discuss three ways to take backups of a WordPress blog.

Note Of Caution: Some of the following methods involve working with your WordPress DataBase and host. Make sure to proceed carefully as one wrong step can render your blog unusable. If you need help, you can contact me anytime. However, neither me nor Jean is to be held liable for any damage caused by instructions in this tutorial.

1. BlogBackupr

BlogBackupr is a free service that can backup your blog online. You do not need to download anything.

To register, you need to provide your blog address and email address. After registering, BlogBackupr will automatically take backups of your posts and images using your RSS feed. There’s a 100 MB storage limit but that should be enough considering that my 10 posts including images took 2 MB space. So, in 100 MB, I can easily store 500 posts. Not bad!

Pros: BlogBackupr is completely automatic. Set it up and forget it.

Cons: It can only backup posts and images. Also, the backups start from 10/20 recent posts (depending on your feed settings), and previous posts are still not safe.

2. WP DB Manager Plugin

DB Manager is an excellent plugin that can help you keep your DataBase in good shape and also back it up automatically.

Here’s how to set it up for automatic backups:

  1. Download and install the plugin from WordPress Plugin Directory. You can find the plugin here.
  2. After activating the plugin, you will see a new menu added in WordPress admin at bottom left side.WP DB Manager Menu
  3. Click on “DB Options” option.
  4. Now, you can set path to backup and number of backup files to store. Path to backup is usually /home/public_html/wp-content/backup-db . You can also change it if you want. Make sure that this directory is writable.
  5. Scroll below and you will see options for automatic backups. Here, set the backup frequency and set Gzip to Yes. (For those who are curious, Gzip compresses your backup file so that it does not occupy much space on server)
  6. Enter your email address in the field below. Now, along with storing files on the server, WP DB Manager will also send the backup file to you (it would be best to give your GMail address here! It would be a good use of 7+ GB storage space. It is recommended to set up a filter to automatically archive backup files).

Now, this would save you from a lot of work. In case anything goes wrong, all you have to do is restore the DB.

Pros: Automatic backups can save you from a lot of work, and since the whole DB is copied, all the posts and settings are taken care of.

Cons: It’s still not complete! If things go horribly wrong, you might lose your theme and need to install plugins from scratch (although the settings of plugins will still be safe).

3. cPanel

This is the longest but most fool-proof method. This will backup all folders and files including the database.

Here are the steps to take backup using this method:

  1. Go to your cPanel.
  2. Under files, there is “Backup Wizard”. Take a look at the screenshot:cPanel Backup
  3. Click “Backup” on next page.
  4. On next page, click “Full Backup”.
  5. Now, select the destination of backup file. This is where the backup file will be stored. You will also be asked for an email address to which notification of the backup will be sent.
  6. Once backup is complete, you can either download the zipped file or let it stay on the server.

To restore a previous backup, just select “Restore” from the first page of Backup Wizard and follow the instructions.

Pros: Complete backup ensures that everything is safe.

Cons: Takes more time. Downloading and storing backup files can be very large.

My Recommendations: I’d advise to set up WP DB Manager to take a backup on a weekly basis and store these in your GMail/Yahoo inbox and take a manual backup once a month.

These are three methods that can be used to backup your WordPress blog. Do you know about any other methods? Let me know via the comments. If you encounter any problems, just drop me a mail at contact (at) ishansharma (dot) com

Image Credits: Backup image from Wikimedia. Screenshots by me! 😉

Guest Writer
Ishan SharmaHello. My name is Ishan Sharma. I am co-founder of Blogging With Success blog and write there about Blogging Tips, Resources and WordPress.
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58 Responses to How to Backup a WordPress Blog

  1. BrandonBurgh May 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    Hey Ishan,
    thanks for sharing. i have DB Backup plugin installed, but I like the looks of this one you have better. I think I'll “upgrade” this afternoon.

    Thanks for the tips.


  2. Mike Roosa May 19, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    I'm using WordPress Database Backup. I assume it's just as good, right?

  3. mmangen May 19, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

    Thanks for this post. I use Option #2 and had not heard of #1 before. I've also used another one of the WP plugins for backing up and it worked OK (don't remember the name of it now). Have you ever had to restore a file from WP DB Backup plugin? Does it work as it's supposed to?

  4. Sally_Neill May 19, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    Thank you for explaining wordpress back up so clearly, I have not used any of the options but I am swaying towards using DB Backup, but wasn't sure how to actually use it until I read your post, I shall go do it now, rather than wait until something bad happens, Sally :)

  5. leahmcclellan May 19, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    Love the photo!!! I am lazy with backups but I've got myself on a pretty fair schedule plus have WP DB. I have done the ftp method too—just download wp-content onto my harddrive but I haven't been completely sure that everything I need is in there (?). So that's why I got WP DB..

    I'm also paying my web hosting company extra ($15/yr) to do back-ups–I think it's hourly or several times per day. I like having control over things though but I'm scared of losing my work. I also write my posts in Word, first, and then post and, even though I usually edit in the post, I copy and paste from there back into word and resave so at least I have my posts. Of course, if I were really anal I should send the Word version of the posts up to google docs or something lol

  6. Scott Barron May 19, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    Hi Jean,

    I use “Lazy Backup” which is a plug in for Joomla users. I have it scheduled at Midnight and it emails me a GZ file of my site.

    Lucky for me, I haven't needed the back up file yet!

    That would be scary to loose a whole site. That would be another chapter in your book, “Nancy Drew – Case of the Missing Blogger“.

  7. virginbloggernotes May 19, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    I just wanted to pop in here and say that Ishan will be responding to your comments a bit later. Our time zones are just a little bit different :) I can't find enough good things to say about Ishan, by the way. He approached me with the idea for this post and handled things from start to finish.Thanks again, Ishan, for providing us with technical information in a way we can all understand and use.

  8. Katie Tallo May 19, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    Crap! You give me way to much useful and valuable information for my tiny beginner blogger brain to handle. I'm printing this one and getting on it when I resurface from bootcamp. This has been worrying me a little and I'm so glad you addressed it — eighty steps ahead, as always Jean. Thank you to your guest poster, Ishan. I shall check out your blog.

  9. matthewneedham May 19, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

    Hi Ishan

    This is great timing for me. Last night I was uploading an image for my ebook launch when I got the error 'missing temporary folder'. I will certainly have a look at these in more detail.

  10. Angela Artemis May 19, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    Hi Ishan & Jean,
    Ishan this is an excellent post. I already went and got BlogBackupr.

    I'm trying to download the BP Database plug-in but I can't find anything with that exact name on WP. Would you mind double checking to see that this is the exact name? There's one called WP-DB-Backup and another one called WP DB Optimizer.

    If I download the WP plug-in do I also need to use the cPanel, or BlogBackupr?

    Thanks again for this extremely important and helpful post!

  11. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 12:54 am #

    Hi, Angela. Ishan is the authority here, but the link above took me to WP-DB Manager. I just tried finding it from my dashboard (Dashboard/Plug-ins/Add New/Search and it came up for me so hopefully it will for you too? Personally, I'm also going to do the cPanel once a month to make sure the theme and plugins are backed up. I guess I have a “the more the better” philosophy :)

  12. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 12:55 am #

    Well, I can't take a speck of credit here because Ishan had the idea and did all the work. I just sat back and sipped on ice tea in my hammock :)

  13. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 12:56 am #

    Good Lord, I don't even know what Joomla is. It sounds like some sort of tribal dance where they sacrifice virgins. Yikes!

  14. Cathy May 20, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    Thanks for the reminder. Just backed up my joomla site!

  15. Kaizenvision May 20, 2010 at 2:43 am #

    Oh this Article is a blessing! Woo-Hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ..and I love the photo! It's one of my biggest fears being a non-Information technology girl.

  16. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    Hi Mike. Ishan can hopefully answer this for us, but I'm thinking the one you're using doesn't back up images and the one Ishan talks about does a complete backup. Something to check into!

  17. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    I love the photo Ishan picked out. Now that's attention getting!

  18. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    It's easy to forget this kind of thing. We get so caught up in the day-to-day tasks that we forget things that fall into the “out of sight” category. That's why I like going the automatic route and having the backups emailed to me.

  19. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    Good luck on your launch, Matthew!

  20. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    That doesn't seem like a bad price to have that done by a hosting company. Do they send you a copy of the backups?

  21. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    It's easy to put these things off, so that's why I was glad when Ishan wrote this article. It's definitely good insurance to back things up!

  22. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    I'd never heard of #1 either, but plan to give it a try. Hopefully Ishan will see your question on restoring files.

  23. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    Hope things went well with the plug-in install, Brandon!

  24. BrandonBurgh May 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    Hey Jean,
    Why, yes they did. It took me a minute or so to find it under the dashboard, when I clicked add new plugins. if you type in the name “wp-dbmanager” it will pop right up.
    Thanks for the tips!

  25. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    Glad to hear it! Now you can have extra peace of mind and put even more energy into your great work.

  26. Brandon Connell May 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    I backup my data and files religiously because I have had this happen a couple of times in the past and it totally sucks.

  27. Ishan May 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    Yes, I know it is bad. Never happened to me but some of friends had it and I was really scared by their stories!

  28. Ishan May 20, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    Thanks for commenting. I am glad that the article helped you. I got the photo from Wikimedia.

  29. Ishan May 20, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    Hi Cathy, It is great to know that review was useful(as a reminder 😉 ).

  30. Ishan May 20, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    Exact name is WP-DBManager. I have also linked it in point #1. Let me know if you need help with it.

  31. Ishan May 20, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

    Good Luck with ebook launch! Hope that you will find it easy to take backups(and also, hopefully, never need those!)

  32. Ishan May 20, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    Hi, Thanks for checking out BWS. I hope you found useful information there. If you need any help, just contact me at my email address or use BWs contact form.

  33. Ishan May 20, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    I was busy with a project when you published the post and did not know about it. just visited to see and it had lot of comments!

  34. Ishan May 20, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

    Hi Scott, I have used Joomla a bit but it was too complex for a blog! Good Luck, I hope that need for file does not arise in future too!

  35. Ishan May 20, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    Ha Ha! Well I don't know why but many content management systems have weired names! Some examples(and how they sound to me):

    Mambo: Head Organizer of the tribal dance(joomla)
    Habari: Head Priest in the tribal dance!
    Zikula: Wife of head priest!

  36. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    Love your names and descriptions, Ishan :)

  37. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    See, this just goes to show how helpful your post was!

  38. virginbloggernotes May 20, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

    Hi Brandon. Just wanted to pop in here to say “welcome” and thanks for taking the time to comment.

  39. Scott Barron May 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    No, we stopped doing that last year. Something about a cape, feather and Bloomer, Wisconsin spells trouble! You're safe!

    Actually Joomla is a content management system, much like WordPress, but more complex. The reason I chose Joomla over WordPress is because my goal is to have a static website.

  40. Scott Barron May 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm #

    Yes, it's much too complex for a blog. If I had to do it over again, I would have used WordPress. But I'm too far along to switch.

  41. Ishan May 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm #

    FYI, wp-content has following things:
    The posts are not there, they are in backup. cPanel is still he only complete solution for backups as everything is backuped.

    You seem pretty paranoid about your data. $15 per year in fine if hosting company does all the technical work for you. May I ask which company do you use? I use Doreo and they take backups twice a day for free!

  42. Ishan May 20, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    Thanks for comment. Let me know if you need any help.

  43. Ishan May 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    I had restored a backup file but as far as I remember, it was WordPress version 2.8. It worked fine. I can not guarantee anything
    However, if you take a look on plugin page, 15 people have said that it works and only 1 has reported it as broken.

  44. Ishan May 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

    It is fine. I took a look at plugin homepage and last update I saw was for WordPress 2.7 It may have problems with latest versions. On the other hand, WP-DBManager works fine with 2.9.2(latest version)

  45. Ishan May 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

    It's nice to hear that upgrade went well. Let me know if you encounter any problems.

  46. leahmcclellan May 20, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    LOL! I wish I were paranoid.I've been experimenting with what works best for me. I'm with Fatcow.

  47. leahmcclellan May 20, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    If I recall correctly, there's an option to have it sent to you but I didn't choose it. Right now my choices are to leave the backup files on the server or download them. One of these days soon I'm going to look through all the different methods and get in a habit of a certain day of the week taking care of things, or daily. I was hacked awhile back–actually twice, once randomly and once by someone I knew years ago–the recent random attack was my own fault for not having the best password and it was a huge hassle. Fortunately I didn't lose anything but it reinforced the important of backups.

  48. Angela Artemis May 20, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    Hi Ishan & Jean,
    Thank you. I got the link from the post and installed it. When I went to DB Options I found an address already in the Backup box. Should I delete this and copy the one you gave us in the post?

    Also, the DB Options says to back up the previous 10 posts and then write over them for the next 10 posts. Do I change this? Or leave it?

    I'm a nervous nellie when it comes to tech-stuff. I'm afraid I'll “break” my site if you know what I mean.

    Thank you for all the help. I really appreciate it.

  49. Mike Helton May 20, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    Great tip.

    Now that I'm more serious about blogging, I need to backup my site and this is the information I needed.


  50. virginbloggernotes May 22, 2010 at 11:53 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by, Mike. Glad to hear the information was helpful to you. If there are any other topics you'd like to see covered, let us know.

  51. Darren L Carter May 27, 2010 at 4:39 am #


    Really great post! I'm just getting started with WordPress but this had been on my mind. I found your blog from a comment over on Alex Whalley's blog. Glad I did, I just got my site backed up! Thanks.

    Darren L Carter

  52. Darren L Carter May 27, 2010 at 4:39 am #


    Really great post! I'm just getting started with WordPress but this had been on my mind. I found your blog from a comment over on Alex Whalley's blog. Glad I did, I just got my site backed up! Thanks.

    Darren L Carter

  53. custom-web-design May 27, 2010 at 7:33 am #

    First get everything back using FTP and then go to admin panel >>> data base>>>> export all fields of data base…:) thats it

  54. Keith Davis August 28, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Hi Ishan
    A bit of a pain but a must for every blogger… backing up your database and your site files.

    I use FTP to download my site files to my hard drive plus back up to an external hard drive.

    I use Cpanel MySQL to download the database.

    Not used the wizard but might give it a try.
    Keith Davis recently posted..Two way traffic

  55. keylogger February 19, 2011 at 5:41 am #

    Thank you. I got the link from the post and installed it. When I went to DB Options


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