Need to create a WordPress backup database before troubleshooting an issue with your site? It’s one of the first recommendations we make for the thousands of WordPress users we support each day.
Nothing sucks more than realizing you can’t hit “undo” after something unexpected happens to your site. Database backups are a smart way to ensure all of your posts, pages, and other content can be restored.
There are three main database backup options available:
- Server backups (provided by your host)
- WordPress backup tools (i.e. plugins)
- WordPress manual backup (DIY)
Why Create a WordPress Backup Database?
Whether you’re manually updating your plugins or making other changes to your site, there’s always a chance something could go wrong. When things start going haywire and you wish you had a backup WordPress site to rewind to, you’ll want a recent backup copy to use to restore your site to the previous settings.
A WordPress website is made up of two parts: the files and the database. Your WordPress database is the home where all of the content on your site lives, including all the posts, pages, and comments on your site. It also contains metadata, user information, and plugin settings. If your database becomes corrupted, you could stand to lose everything. Your site files, which also need to be backed up, give your web browser instructions on where & how to display your content. While backing up your files is certainly important, in this post we’re going to focus on options for creating a backup of your database.
Backup, Backup, and then Backup Again
The WordPress codex recommends that as a rule of thumb, you should keep at least three backups, and that you keep them in three different places or forms (such as stored on different hard drives, thumb drives, or cloud servers). This makes a lot of sense – if one copy becomes damaged and you have multiple backups, you’ll still be able to access an intact backup of you database.
The recommended frequency for your WordPress database backups depends on how often updates are made to your site, both from a content standpoint (new posts, images, content, etc…) and a code perspective (plugin updates, CSS changes, etc…). In general, it’s better to err on the side of backing up more frequently. If you publish new content every hour, you may want to backup your database several times a day. If you only publish a few times per month, weekly backups are likely totally sufficient for your needs.
Three Methods to Create a WordPress Database Backup
Server Backups: Many hosting companies provide some type of backup service for your site. The quality, frequency, and ability to access those backups vary, so it is important to check with your individual provider before assuming they have things handled for you.
WordPress backup tools: There are plenty of plugins available to automate the backup process. Both free and premium backup plugins are out there, with various features available to meet your requirements such as scheduled backups, security scans, and automatic restores.
DIY/Manual Backup: If you prefer to control how your backups are created, you can perform a manual backup of your WordPress database. You can use cPanel, phpMyAdmin, or MySQL code to manually create a WordPress backup database. The WordPress Codex has step-by-step backup instructions outlining how to use these manual methods.
Prevent Disaster With Regular Database Backups
Backing up your WordPress database is one of the most important things you can do for your site. When something breaks, whether from human error, a plugin conflict, or a variety of other reasons, you want to be able to retrieve & restore a working version.
Don’t risk losing all of the hard work you’ve done to make your site what it is. Use one or more of the methods we just outlined above to make sure you’ve backed that thang up.