Automating your wordpress backup is easily done with a plugin. In this example we’re going to use UpdraftPlus which is free to use unless you want more advanced features. You will also need a Dropbox account for storing the backup files.
Before installing UpdraftPlus I would highly recommend doing a manual backup first. This is always a good idea before making any changes to your wordpress blog. Just in case you have any problems running the plugin.
Also, if you have a large number of big images then you may want to skip backing up the entire uploads folder automatically and do that part manually yourself. This will drastically cut down the length of time for each backup and will reduce the chance of problems. I’ve had problems with the length of time the backup was taking on a particular site with a lot of images. Doing a manual backup of the images means you can choose to download only the folders that are likely to have changed since the last backup was made.
In your WordPress Dashboard, go to the Plugins section.
Use the Add New link and search for updraft. You want to install ‘UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration’, seen here on the right. Click the ‘Install Now’ button.
You will see this screen as the plugin installs. You then use the Activate Plugin link to enable the plugin.
Now go to the Plugins section and find UpdraftPlus. You need to configure the plugin via the Settings link.
This brings you to the initial UpdraftPlus settings. You can see that no backups have been done yet.
Go to the Settings tab. Currently the backup interval is set to manual, so no backups will happen automatically.
In the Reporting section you can configure an email address which will be notified whenever a backup is run.
Scroll down to the ‘Copying Your Backup To Remote Storage’ option.
I choose to use my Dropbox account for the backups. Select Dropbox in the dropdown list and save the changes.
As you can see from the Dropbox instructions, you should come back to this section after saving and click this link to authenticate with your Dropbox account.
This is as simple as signing into Dropbox with your login credentials.
Now Dropbox will send a verification code for you to enter.
Once you’re authenticated you need to give permission for UpdraftPlus to create a folder in Dropbox to store the backup files in.
Your Dropbox settings are now successfully set.
Now test the backup works by using the “Backup Now” button to do a backup of your blog.
Leave the checkboxes empty to do a full backup of everything. If you have a lot of images or very large ones, then you can just back up the database and do a manual backup of the files less regularly.
The length of time to complete the backup will depend on the size of your database and of the number and size of images you have in your account, but you can see how the backup is progressing.
Once the backup is complete you will see a message on screen to say that the backup was successful. If you enabled email reporting then you’ll also get an email notification.
On the Existing Backups tab you will see the manual backup you’ve just made. (It might take a minute or two for the page to update).
Now go back to the Settings page and decide how regularly you want to run a backup. In this example, I’ve configured a database backup for once a week. The files – plugins and themes will be backed up once a month. I have unchecked the Uploads folder and will handle that manually. Make sure to ‘Save Changes’ at the bottom of the page.
On the Current Status screen you will see that a backup is now scheduled to take place for both Database and files.
And that’s it. UpdraftPlus will handle backing up your wordpress blog for you. If something nasty happens to your blog you will be able to retrieve the backup files from your Dropbox folder.