WordPress Backup Strategy

It will happen to every blogger one day, you’re blog will crash and you’ll need to recover it. Every WordPress blogger needs to prepare for this, preferably sooner rather than later. Just like keeping your computer backed up, you need to back up your blog regularly and methodically so that you can recover in case of a disaster.

There are two important elements to any WordPress backup strategy and that’s: Your Database and Your Files. These two elements are what make your blog tick. Luckily, I will also present a solution if you’ve failed to backup and need to recover your WordPress blog without a backup. It’s not the easiest solution but it might be your only option.

Your Database

This is by far the most important thing to keep backed up. Your blog content, from posts to comments lives in the database. Without the database, WordPress cannot function and your content will not exist. Databases have a tendency to get corrupted and not be recoverable. There have been many examples lately of social media websites that ceased to exist simply because their database failed and there was not an uncorrupted backup.

So, you need to backup your database often and keep EVERY backup. That way if your database gets corrupted you can go back in time and restore it to before the database got corrupted. So how do you backup the database?

For the technically inclined, you can log in to the the database and back it up manually. But most bloggers won’t know how to mess around in the database admin panel and will need a simple solution. That simple solution is the WordPress Database Backup Plugin . This creates an area within your WordPress dashboard that will allow you to control and schedule backups.

Personally, I recommend setting a weekly backup schedule and having the backups e-mailed to you. I use Gmail for my e-mail, so that backup is kept in multiple safe locations. This will also protect you if for some reason your computer happens to crash.

You can recover your blog from just a database backup, if necessary. However, to make sure your theme, plugins and other files are safe, you need to backup your server as well.

Your Files

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When you self host a WordPress blog, your files are kept on your personal web server. I recommend regularly backing up these files as well. While it’s possible to restore your blog from just a database backup, you would otherwise lose all your customized settings such as a custom theme or plugin. And this can be a real pain, especially if you do a lot of tweaking with your theme files.

I save this backup once a month since there are a lot of files that need to be backed up. It’s a slow process, but simply make a folder on your computer and download your entire web server to that folder. If you have some spare time, I would even recommend doing it once a week if you have the space.

This will also come in handy if you eventually need to move web servers or if some files get corrupted, you can just roll back to the previous backup. Keep in mind that your content such as blog posts and comments are not stored anywhere on this part of the web server. You can’t recover your blog from just backing up the files unless you have the database as well.

It’s also a good idea to keep your backup on an external hard drive as well, in case something happens to your computer (I’ve had this happen before).

If You Do Neither

Lets face it, blogging involves a lot of work. Marketing, writing, and designing to name a few things. That is why backing up can slip the minds of even the most successful bloggers. So, what do you do if you didn’t back up anything and your blog goes down?

Well, you are not totally out of luck. Chances are your wonderful content still lives somewhere on the the web. If you can gain access to the database, you might be able to at least get some of the content from it.

If you can not get any content from the database, you might want to see what you can find on the web. For example, when Google indexes your site, they create a cached copy of it. If you move quickly you can find all of your blog posts on the web by doing a ‘site:www.yourdomain.com’ search in Google. Then simply view the cached version of the posts and pages.

From there, you would have to manually cut and paste your content back into a new blog. It may not be the best solution, but you could at least recover some of the content.

Just remember, the more you back up your data, the easier it will be to recover when something does happen.