How To Back Up WordPress Website Database And Files Manually and using Plugins

Learn how to backup WordPress site files and database manually and using free plugins.

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WordPress is by far the most popular content management system (CMS) globally because it automates the majority of functions and makes website administration easy and intuitive. However, it doesn’t mean that you can set it and forget it as even the simplest WordPress website forces you to invest a fair share of time and effort to keep things running smoothly.

The WordPress CMS currently powers almost 35% of the entire Internet, but its share in the CMS market goes well beyond 60%.

It means that millions of webmasters spend a lot of time creating content for WordPress-powered sites, so it would be quite a disaster to let it all disappear within seconds for causes that could be prevented quite simply.

One such reason could be the failure to back up the system regularly. Our goal is to help you understand the importance of this process, so keep reading our post to learn how to back up your WordPress website files and database.

What Makes WordPress Files and Database Backups Important?

Before we begin discussing the ways to conduct backups, we need to explain what makes the process so important for your WordPress site. After all, many webmasters don’t understand it and we want to make things clear straight away.

What does it mean to back up your files and database? It means making a copy that you can save and make use of later in case something happens to the original versions. If you do this, you don’t have to worry about losing website content and jeopardizing its functionality.

Now that you understand the significance of WordPress backups, we can show you several ways to do it properly.

How to Back Up WordPress Files and Database Manually?

As a WordPress webmaster, you should know how to get the job done manually. There are two basic methods to use here, so let’s check them out here:

1. The SFTP method

The first solution is the so-called SFTP method. In order to make it work, you need an SFTP system such as FileZilla (which is one of the most popular solutions in this field).

When you launch the application, you will need to enter basic information such as username, password, port, and host. In case you don’t know, you can find these details in the hosting panel of your WordPress account.

As soon as you log in successfully, you can make a new folder (in FileZilla or on your laptop directly) that will serve as the backup source for your WordPress site.

Then you should enter the right section in FileZilla and select the folder entitled public_html, which is where your WordPress files and database are stored. After that, you only need to drag the public_html folder to the new backup folder and your site will be safe and sound.

2. The CPanel Method

Another way to protect the website database and files is to use the cPanel method. It is a bit more complicated than the previous solution, but don’t let that scare you because the process is still relatively simple.

Once again, you will need to log in and then go to the File Manager. You will find the public_html folder over there as well, so make sure to select it and click the Compress option. When you do it, the system will ask you to name the file and pick the desired format.

You should choose Zip Archive and Compress Files. After that, you need to choose the newly-established Zip file and download it to your laptop or desktop computer.

To back up the database, you must visit phpMyAdmin. This is where you’ll notice the list of all sites that you are currently administering, so make sure to choose the right one and check all of its tables.

Then you need to go to the Export lab and select the Quick Export option. This should get the job done and back up your WordPress database.

How to backup site using Hosting Provider’s Control Panel?

Another thing you can try is to back up the website files and database with the help of your hosting provider. Keep in mind that this solution won’t work if you are cooperating with unreliable providers, but it will function flawlessly if your partner is a trustworthy organization such as WP Engine or similar.

Reliable hosting providers offer users a built-in backup solution. It is usually a simple multistep procedure that goes like this:

  • Login to your Hosting control Panel
  • Go to Installs and choose your account
  • Select the option called Backup Points or similar
  • Click Backup Now
  • Write a backup description
  • Select the option Create production backup

When you’re done with it, the backup version of your files and database should be visible on the dashboard.

The Best WordPress Backup Plugins

Although simple, manual backups are still harder to figure out than specialized WordPress plugins. This is why so many webmasters use backup tools to protect their sites. If you are interested in this solution as well, check out the six best WordPress database and files backup plugins.

1. UpdraftPlus

With over two million active installations, Updraft Plus is one of the most popular WordPress backup plugins. The idea behind this tool is simple – it makes file and database backups very simple, while you can save the entire work on the cloud or your computer. Updraft Plus is easy to figure out even for first- time users and you can

2. VaultPress

Vault Press is a Jetpack-powered backup plugin with functions that enable real-time system support. The tool is straightforward and you can use it to back up everything from blog posts and media files to revisions and users’ comments. The standard set of features is free, but the premium version comes with the $3.5 price tag.

3. Backup Buddy

Backup Buddy is an all-encompassing tool developed for diligent content creators who want their files to be perfectly safe 365 days a year. What we love about Backup Buddy is the fact that it comes with a variety of additional functions that extend far beyond simple backups. If you opt for a paid package at $52 a month, you can use it to improve security and prevent a wide range of other WordPress issues.

4. Total Upkeep by Bold Grid

Total Upkeep is yet another highly reliable backup plugin that can help you to prevent damages and data leakage. It allows you to conduct automatic or manual backups, but there are also options such as remote backups, server analytics, website migrations, restore solutions, and many more. If you need a full version of Total Upkeep, you will need to pay $60 for it.

5. BlogVault

Blog Vault is a powerful backup system with a 100% website restore rate. It comes with an entire set of useful functions, but we need to highlight another very important aspect. Namely, Blog Vault offers users excellent customer service, which means you can expect the developers to answer your questions within hours or even minutes in some cases. The pro version of this plugin costs $89 annually.

6. BackWPUP

The last plugin on our list is free of charge, but it doesn’t make it any less relevant or useful for WordPress webmasters. On the contrary, BackWPup offers you pretty much everything you need to make the database and system files secure, so feel free to give it a try.


We’ve seen too many WordPress websites crashing just because their administrators failed to back up the system on a regular basis. You should be smarter than that and conduct regular backups to ensure the long and flawless functioning of your site. In this post, we discussed the following topics:

  • Why database and file backups matter
  • How to back up the site manually
  • How to back up the site via hosting provider
  • How to back up the site using WordPress plugins

The tips we analyzed above will help you to administer the website without any side effects. Make sure to use our suggestions and leave a comment if you need additional information – we would be glad to answer you!

About Author: Isabell Gaylord

Isabell Gaylord is a full-time WordPress developer and a part-time blogger who creates content for dissertation writing services. Isabell specializes in website administration and cybersecurity, but she also loves writing about other topics like Commerce and digital marketing. Isabell is a mother of two lovely toddlers and a dedicated supporter of New York Yankees.

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