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How To Backup a WordPress Website For Free

How To Backup a WordPress Website For Free

If you have built a website, you know how long the process can take. It takes time to learn the WordPress platform and how all the plugins are going to interact with each other. Once you have your website the way you want it, the main thing is to save your work. This is where a backup can come in handy.

A survey recently revealed that close to half of users do not do backups for their site on any sort of schedule. If your site goes down, that is going to be a lot of wasted work and extra time spent trying to find the docs you need to upload again. People underestimate how many things can go wrong with a site.

We use UpdraftPlus in this tutorial to take free backups. You can download it for free.

Common Mistakes

Most people that run a website are not technically savvy. They did not design the site from the ground up and they only have a basic understanding of the HTML code that was used to display the site. Once you start to venture into the world of having forms and interactive maps on the site, even less people will understand the code involved with this.

In reality, websites usually need several people to create something of note. Coding in JavaScript is a skill while web design and graphics are completely separate from programming. If you go into your HTML to try and fix a function and something goes wrong, how can you recover? It might take hours to comb through your code to figure out what went wrong.

Keep in mind also, hackers are always looking for vulnerable targets. This is another reason to make sure you have a backup ready to go. A third of sites that are targeted by hackers are small businesses. They are usually after financial information and also a way to spread spam. Backups make sure you don’t fall victim to the hackers for long.

A Backup Solution

UpdraftPlus is an excellent solution if you are looking for a quick way to backup your site. It is an all-in-one solution so if you get UpdraftPlus, you won’t have to worry about getting additional plugins to help you keep copies of your work.

Backups can be sent to the cloud, saved to a storage device, or just moved to the desktop of another computer. When you need to replace things, the WordPress files and databases will come back with just one click. It is very easy to understand and simple to use the interface.

When you get the core plugin, you will be ready for advanced features which include migration and also cloning. Perhaps you have a friend that likes the look or theme you used on a particular site. Clone the site and then send them the copy. They can easily manipulate the clone to their liking and get a great look with less work.

Migration is also going to be simple. If you need to switch hosts because the cost rose too high, the process is much simpler when you have a backup that can take effect if something goes wrong. Don’t stick with a poor host just because it will be difficult to migrate over!

How to Create a Backup

How to Create a Backup

If you think it is going to be difficult to learn how to make backups, just follow along with this guide. First, click the image above to visit UpdraftPlus & download the plugin. Once it comes up, hit the download button and install it on your WordPress website. Once that is done, activate your new plugin to get started.

Now that you have UpdraftPlus for free, it is time to make your first backup. You should see a screen that looks like this.

Click Back Up Now Button

As you can see, the plugin is not complicated. You have your three main options. They are Backup Now, Restore, and then Clone/Migrate. Let’s take a look at the first button Backup Now.

Backup Now

If you are a new user and you have no backups, this will be the first order of business. Once you have several backups made up and saved, you can start to look toward migration and cloning. Before you can set up your backup, click on the settings tab. With settings, you will decide when and how you will backup.


Here in settings, you will see many different options. Do you want to do manual backups or have them on an automatic schedule? It is a good idea to do a nice mix of both.

Backup Settings

With your backup schedule, it can be as regular as you want. Many times this hinges upon how much you really update your site. If you make minimal changes and the page is static, schedule a backup for each week. That way you always have a recent copy of your work.

For websites that are updated many times a day, you will want to schedule backups that will match this. An example would be a backup that is in the middle of the work day and then a second one at night to capture everything that was done that day.

Make sure as well that you schedule the database backup in sync with your file backup. If you have an Ecommerce store, it is important that your database is kept updated. Losing your databases could mean the loss of all of that product information or information from customers.

The Right Time to Backup

Consider as well the time of day that you are going to backup. Is your server busy during a certain time period? If you have a large influx of customers right in the morning when you open, put off your backup so that it happens around lunch. If your biggest customer base is in India, make sure that backups do not occur during prime shopping hours in India.

A backup will slow down the server and could impact performance. Depending on how much is being copied, you don’t want customers to notice any difference in service when you are doing your backup. For an American based company, it would be simple to set the time to update at midnight when most of your visitors will be asleep. UpdraftPlus makes this easy to do and you have your new copy scheduled with just a few clicks.

Where Will You Save the Information?

Now that you have seen how easy it is to set yourself up for automatic backups, you will need to decide how you are going to save the files. Will you use FTP or File Transfer Protocol? This could send it over to another server where it can be stored for later.

Dropbox is another common program that many enjoy using and the service is free up to a certain amount of storage. Try out the service with UpdraftPlus and see if your website is small enough to take advantage of the free version.

For larger websites, they will want to consider going with Google Cloud service or Amazon S3. Many companies will be familiar with these services so you won’t need to create new accounts or learn a new set of commands when you go with these popular services.

Amazon S3

If you go with Amazon S3, you will have a lot of different advantages. S3 scales with you. If your website suddenly starts to grow by a large amount as you add video and images, S3 can scale with you. This can happen when a business website really starts to take off and you are adding many new products.

With just a few clicks of the mouse, you can customize S3 so that you increase the read and write performance of their servers. Keep in mind, Amazon S3 is the biggest cloud infrastructure in the world. With that kind of experience, they are going to take care of your backups with no issues or worry about the backup getting corrupted.

Are These Cloud Services Secure?

You may have very valuable information on your website that you want to make sure stays secure. Is it safe to go with cloud services for your backup? Can you trust Google Cloud and Amazon S3? While there are many different companies that offer cloud storage, these are some of the largest in the world with the best reputations.

S3 is secure and they can give you a robust recovery solution if things do go down for you. Amazon makes sure they are always on the cutting edge of new technology to make sure hackers will not be able to break into their servers and capture the data that you are uploading. This is important with so many high profile hacks that have happened in recent years.

Email Backups

If you don’t feel comfortable going with Cloud services for your backup, you can also try and email the backup. It is easy to set up your UpdraftPlus to just send the backups to an email address that you control. If you have any doubt that the cloud services will be right for your business, sending the copies to your own email address will put you in control and give you more options for migrating and cloning things later.

Saving Your Backup

Now that you have set up the right options, save your settings and head back out to the main screen. That button you saw that says Backup Now can be clicked and you can watch as it creates a full website backup and then sends it to your storage option. It is that easy!

Keep coming back to Superb Themes for more in the world of backups and software reviews!

We use UpdraftPlus in this tutorial to take free backups. You can download it for free.

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