In a previous guide of ours, we examined how you can back up the Database of your WordPress website to avoid any implications caused by hacking, server malfunctioning, or even physical disaster. You can find our popular guide following this link.
This time, however, we decided to take a step even further. What we are about to show you is how to create a backup of an entire WordPress website. This will not only allow you to be assured about the security of your site, but it will also give you the chance to migrate your site to a whole new server in a matter of clicks. So let’s get straight to the point. Enjoy your reading!
A Website backup; why do I need it?
While we will try not to bore you with unnecessary information, it would be good to list some reasons why you need a full backup of your website as soon as possible. Here it goes:
- Security matters! You don’t want a website it took you months, or even years to build to be destroyed. Even more, you don’t want to lose any chance of restoring your website. So, you’d better be safe than sorry for your website(s).
- As a web developer, having backups of all your websites, even those that belong to clients, means professionalism.
- Having a full WordPress site backup is much more useful than maintaining only a mere copy of your database. Plus, your website can be restored much easier this way.
- You might want to migrate your website to a new server.
- Last but not least, backing up your website, is a piece of cake nowadays.
How do I create a backup of my WordPress website “the traditional way”?
For the old-school WordPress admins the process of backing up a WordPress site goes like this:
- Create a backup of your WordPress Database (using the mysqldump command, for the tech savvies).
- Create a backup of the files that your site contains. This backup is merely a zip, gzip or tar file.
- Download the above two files to your computer or send them to another server using an FTP client like WinSCP or Filezilla.
If the above steps seem confusing or old-fashioned to you, don’t worry! What you’re about to learn is how you can perform a full backup of your site instantly, using one of our favorite WordPress plugins. Why would you mess with commands and clients when someone has done all the necessary work for you?
Behold! The “Duplicator” plugin for WordPress!
This free, yet very powerful WordPress plugin is one of the most popular WordPress site backup plugins. As of writing this guide, it has over 800,000 active installs and an incredible rating of 4.9 stars. Impressive, isn’t it?
The success of this plugin lies in its zero-cost and its ease of use. In fact, it took us only 2 minutes to download the plugin, activate it, and create a backup of our site for this guide. Let’s see how you can do this as well:
Step 1: You will have to log in to your WordPress Dashboard.
Step 2: Navigate to Plugins >> Add New.
Step 3: Locate the search box at the upper right of your screen. Type the word “Duplicator” and hit enter.
Step 4: You should now see the Duplicator plugin first on the search results page. Click the “Install” button. When the installation process is over, click on the “Activate” button.
Step 5: Once the plugin is activated, a new item appears on your navigation bar. It should have the “Duplicator” tab on it. Navigate to Duplicator >> Packages from your navigation bar.
Step 6: On the next screen you can see all the currently existing backups. It should be empty now, but this is going to change very soon 🙂 . Locate the “Create New” button at the upper right of your screen and click it.
Step 7: As soon as you click on the “Create New” button, a new page loads displaying the details of your package (i.e. your backup). From this page, you can check if all server requirements are met so that you can create your backup. You can also define where the package will be stored on your server from this page. If any of the requirements isn’t met, you can always click on the relative arrow next to it to find out what went wrong. You can also contact the creators of the plugin who provide excellent support (Trust our words on that! We judge by our experience). If you see a green “Pass” indication next to the Requirements title, however, this means you’re good to go! Just click Next.
Step 8: The plugin is now scanning the contents of your website to see if everything is as it should concerning the sizes and names of the files on your website. It also performs a final test on the server, and the WordPress and PHP versions. If every section has a green “Good” indication next to it, you can build your backup right away. If there are problems in any of the sections, however, you can consult the messages that appear (by clicking on the related arrows) to fix the problems that have occurred during the testing phase.
Click on the “Build” button to begin the backup creation process.
Step 9: When the backup creation process is complete, you can download the files created by clicking on the relevant buttons. There are two files: 1) The backup itself (called Archive), and 2) The installer. Make sure you download and maintain a copy of both.
That’s it! You now have a fully operational backup of your entire WordPress website you can restore at any time. You can also clone your website, or you can even have a local copy of it to test any new features you want to add to it before delivering it to your visitors or clients.
Wait! We are not done yet! How do you restore or migrate your site using your backup?
What’s the use of having backups of your website if you don’t know how to restore them or generally use them? Don’t worry! Restoring your backup is as easy as the backup process. Do you remember that you’ve created two files during the backup process? They were the installer file and the archive file. To migrate your website or restore a backup you just have to follow three steps:
- Upload them to your new server and put them in an empty folder.
- Create a new database on your server for your site.
- Type the domain name of your website followed by the suffix /installer.php in a browser window. For example, if your site is called abc.com, you will have to type: abc.com/installer.php. This will trigger the installer you’ve created in the backup phase above, and your site restoration is only two clicks away. It wasn’t difficult, was it?
This concludes our guide on how to create full WordPress site backups. We delved into what it takes to create a backup in the traditional, but we also learned how much easier it is to build a backup using an excellent plugin called “Duplicator.” This powerful plugin needs only ten clicks to create a backup of your entire site. Last but not least, we saw how you could use the backup you’ve created to restore your site in case anything went wrong on your server or in case you wanted to clone it.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide.
Thank you for reading!