Anyone working with software and hardware knows that it’s essential to backup up your work regularly. Who hasn’t lost a lot of time and effort because they weren’t in the habit of saving as they went along? It’s no different with wordpress. If you have a self-hosted wordpress blog, you need to handle this yourself. Backups can be done manually. Or they can be automated. Here are the steps showing you how to manually backup a wordpress blog. In this example, it’s hosted by Blacknight.

There are two components that you need to back up in case of a complete loss of data. The database, and the website files. Then if there’s a problem with your hosting provider or (more likely) an update or new plugin breaks something, you have the option of restoring your blog back to a working state.

Manual Database Backup

This works if your database isn’t very large. If it’s larger than 10MB you will probably need to back it up via a cron job (discussed elsewhere).

Step 1.

Log in to your blacknight control panel at https://cp.blacknight.com/

 

Step 2.

In the ‘More Services’ section (at the bottom of the page) select the Databases link

Blacknight-More-Services-Section

 

Step 3.

This gives you a list of your databases.

Blacknight-Databases-List

 

Click the link for the database associated with the blog that you want to back up.

 

Step 4.

Now use the Browse database manager link to access the database via the phpMyAdmin

Blacknight-Database-Details

Step 5.

phpMyAdmin gives you full access to the database.

Go to the Export tab at the top.

PhpMyAdmin-Tabs

Step 6.

You can do a quick export in sql format. Just hit the Go button.

PhpMyAdmin-Quick-Database-Export

Step 7.

Your database is now exported to your local computer. Save it in a safe place.

PhpMyAdmin-Export-File

Website backup

Now you need to back up the files from  your site. To do this you need ftp access. If you already have these then skip ahead to step 2.

Step 1.

To get ftp access details go to your Websites tab and select the website you want to back up.

Blacknight-Websites-Tab

Now use the FTP Access link to bring you the the FTP details screen. You need to know the ftp server and ftp login name.

Blacknight-Ftp-Details

Here you’ll see your ftp login name and if you don’t already know the password you use the Edit button and tick the change password box to set a new one.

Blacknight-Edit-Ftp-Password

Take note of the new password and use the Submit button to save the changes.

Step 2.

Now you need ftp software to connect to the site using ftp. My preference is FileZilla which is free to use for PC and mac.

Step 3.

You need to get the ftp access details for your website. You will get these from the FTP details screen described in Step 1.

Step 4.

Open up Filezilla

Filezilla-Blank

Step 5.

Open the Site Manager via File -> Site Manager

Filezilla-File-Site-Manager

Step 6.

Add your ftp access details, then connect to the server.

Filezilla-Connection-Details

Once connected, you see both a local site (left side) and a remote site (right side). The local site is your computer/laptop. You can see that you’re in the root folder / on the local site. The remote site is your blacknight hosting. You are also in the root folder there by default.

Filezilla-Connected

Step 7.

Go to /webspace/siteapps/WordPress-xxxxxx/htdocs/wp-content on the remote site by double-clicking each folder you want to enter.

Filezilla-Root-WP-Folder

Browse to the local folder where you want to store your downloaded files.

Step 8.

There are three folders that you really need to take a copy of if you want to have a full backup of your site. (The rest are default wordpress files, or easily reconfigurable).

First is the plugins folder. This is not essential, as you can reinstall plugins.

Filezilla-Plugins

You download this by right-clicking on the plugins folder and selecting to Download.

Filezilla-Download

Step 9.

Now you want to download the themes folder. This is also not essential, as you can reinstall a theme again.

Wordpress-Themes

Step 10.

Lastly, the uploads folder. This is where all your images are stored so it’s essential to back it up. It’s also the slowest part if you have a lot of big images. If I know that only recent folders have changed I’d only download those and add them to a previous backup of the upload folder.

Wordpress-Uploads

Step 11.

Watch out for any failed transfers. You can see the running total at the bottom of your screen.

Filezilla-Failed-Transfers

 

When your downloading has finished, go to this tab and right-click to ‘reset and requeue all’ for the files that failed to transfer. You will see the queued files number increase as they are all added to the queue.

Filezilla-Requeue-Failed-Transfer

 

Now you can use Transfer -> Process Queue to download any files that didn’t successfully download initially.

Filezilla-Process-Queue

Step 11.

If you’ve made any other custom changes to your site files that can’t be reproduced easily, then you should back these files up too.

Store the backup files safely

Now you have the blog backed up. Make sure to keep a couple of copies of the files in different places. Eg. on your laptop and on an external drive.