I grew up in Houston, where preparing for a hurricane was routine enough that we had drills at school. Once a hurricane entered gulf waters, folks would make a mad rush to the store for duct tape, batteries, and canned tuna. (If the prep list had been left to me, I probably would have stocked up on Twizzlers, Oreos, and Tang.)
When you’re dealing with a WordPress site, the prep list looks a little different (no Twizzlers or duct tape). By taking a few minutes to create a WordPress backup plan can be the difference between smooth sailing and total devastation.
A “Hurricane Prep list” for WordPress
When making a WordPress backup plan, your prep list should include two main things:
- Backing up your data.
- Backing up your files.
Shortest list ever, right? Below are two options (one free, one premium) for making sure your site is safe.
Free WordPress Backup Solution
There are a slew of free backup plugins available at the wordpress.org plugin directory.
I prefer the simple, and easy to use WordPress Database Backup. As the name suggests, it’s only for backing up your data. It comes with multiple options for your backups (receive it via email, ftp to server, or stash it in The Cloud). I have a separate email account I use just for database backups. They’re all safe and secure should I ever need to re-install or recover my data.
When it comes to files, I like to go old-fashioned and manually FTP the wp-contents folder. Zip it up and hide it away.
Premium WordPress Backup Solution
There are several great options in this space. My preferences are BackupBuddy (ideal for single site backups) and ManageWP (great for managing backups for multiple WordPress sites in one spot).
With either of these, you can back up your entire WordPress installation, including widgets, themes, plugins, files and your SQL database and you can store your backup in a variety of ways (Dropbox, Amazon, FTP, etc.)
They also both include Restore and Migrate/Clone features.With a free solution like WordPress Database Backup, there’s some manual labor with a slice of technical know-how needed to restore a site. But with BackupBuddy or ManageWP, you can restore your site or even move the entire installation to a new server with minimal effort.
* Side note: You can use BackupBuddy with multiple sites. I say it’s ideal for single site backups since you’re doing the backup management from within your WordPress install. This is a nice option if you have clients managing their own backups & updates. ManageWP, on the other hand, is perfect if you’re managing multiple client sites as it allows you to do that from a single dashboard vs logging in to each individual WordPress site.
What if disaster strikes your WordPress website?
If something goes wrong, would you be able to restore it to a fully functional state in short order? With a quick investment of your time, you can be prepared for a WordPress emergency – well worth it!
12 thoughts on “Hurricane Prep List for WordPress”
I backup everything manually – FTP site files and Cpanel PHPMyAdmin for database.
However… I have been looking with covetous eyes at BackupBuddy.
Are you using it?
Always good to see you around these parts. 🙂 I bought the personal license for BackupBuddy and it’s good for two sites. I’m using it here and on a Multisite. I recently migrated my own site to a different web host and loved the Move/migration feature.
As you know from doing things the manual way, it’s not hard to restore files or the database, but there are a handful of setup options (I’m especially thinking about widgets) that get lost in the translation. The BackupBuddy Move keeps all your configuration options intact!
p.s. I’ve filled out an affiliate app for BackupBuddy. Maybe I can get it to pay for itself. 🙂
“…but there are a handful of setup options (I’m especially thinking about widgets) that get lost in the translation. The BackupBuddy Move keeps all your configuration options intact!”
Worth knowing that Carrie.
As for affiliate… you need the BackupBuddy video that they use over on their site.
Good video, but it’s the only one without a share facility!
I use WP DB Manager to create backups. There aren’t many files on my site so I don’t worry much about that.
BackupBuddy is on my list. The complete set of plugins in Developer Package by iThemes is great!
Thanks for pointing out the rest of the plugins in the Dev Pack – I hadn’t really looked at those. Looks like some great ones in there!
Great post… Some of the important things about your WordPress backup is that you store your backups outside your hosting account and that you workout a great backup strategy for automatic backups… In my experience manual backups tend to “fail” because I forget to do them 🙂
I’ve described a good mix of daily, weekly and monthly backups with auto-deletion of old backup archives in my WordPress Backup article. It is using the BackWPup plugin, which is free…
On the WordPress Security site you can also download a free, comprehensive WordPress Security Checklist, which will help just about everyone improve their security…
Just my two cents… keep up the great work!
Ha! You make an excellent point about…forgetting. On sites where I’m using WordPress Database Backup, I’ve got it scheduled to 1x/weekly and don’t even think about it. There’d be a little pain in constructing a restore, but at least the data is there.
Thanks for mentioning the BackWPup plugin. I’ve used that and like it, too.
Thanks for stopping by!
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I use Infinite WP but have had issues with sites timing out so bought Backup Buddy. Still having timing out issues so I think it is a we hosting/server problem and don’t know how to overcome it. Still working on it but if anyone has a solution let me now. I manage about 40 sites and on any give day 3-5+ of them don’t back up due to Timeout (mostly 408 error). Often sites with problems are on Go Daddy but not all, and some GD sites do not have issues at all.
Nemanja from ManageWP here, I’m familiar with the issue you’re having (InfiniteWP backups running on an older version of the ManageWP code). The PHP script backup (ManageWP, InfiniteWP, BackupBuddy, and a lot of other solutions out there) is not a very good solution due to high site server resource consumption; that’s why we decided to build a completely new backup solution for the upcoming Orion release.
If you want, I’ll be happy to arrange a beta invite so you could try running backups on your GoDaddy websites.
Carrie has already tried the Orion beta, I believe she’s happy about how things are turning out, but I’ll let her weigh in 🙂
Hey Nemanja, thanks for chiming in!
Tara – yes, I’m digging Orion. Mostly just itching for the full release to happen!
Thanks Kouteki. I would like to try it. firstname.lastname@example.org