How to Backup Your WordPress Blog

Funny thing happened to me the other day……….

I sat down to write this blog post, and a few paragraphs in I decided it was time to head over to my blog dashboard and get a couple of screen shots. Imagine my shock when I loaded up my admin page and got the most awful error message! My blog was gone! I had to laugh at the complete irony of the situation!

The error message was something to the effect that a particular file was missing and the blog could not be loaded (I only wish now that I had a screenshot of that error message), but thankfully I had just backed up that morning! I had deleted several themes that I wasn’t using any longer, and something, somehow got corrupted in the process. I just restored my backup and voila! – back up and running.

I know that we have all experienced the horror of our hard drives crashing, or accidentally deleting files and not having a backup.  What if that happened to your website (or blog)? We may have learned to back up our files at home, either with an external hard drive, or by using one of the many online back-up services, but have you thought about your website or blog?

Now, if you have a designer maintaining your website, then it is no doubt installed on their computer, and therefore it is being backed up regularly, so if it disappeared off your server for whatever reason, there would be a backup copy to replace it. And , if you’re maintaining your own website, you probably have it installed locally on your computer and you’re backing that up, as well, right?

But what if you are using a blog as your website? Blogs are typically accessed via your admin log-in and all your work is done in your dashboard. So what happens if, for example, you’re updating to the latest version of WordPress and all of the sudden, in the process, something gets corrupted and your blog will no longer load properly? Uh oh.

I’m sure there are numerous ways to back up your WordPress blog, but today I’m going to talk about three of them. The first method is to use the Import/Export feature available in your WordPress dashboard. The method creates an XML file that you can store locally on your computer (and of course back up to another location for safe keeping).

I’m going to leave the default settings to back up all dates, categories, tags, content, etc. Click the Download Export File button and save the file to a location on your computer.

I would perform this action at least weekly, more often if you change your blog frequently. If you need to restore the file for any reason, you simply choose the Import option from the Tools menu, browse to file and select it. WordPress will do the rest.

Another method is to use an FTP client, such as FileZilla or Dreamweaver, if you have it. If you are self-hosting your blog, you should have set up an FTP or hosting account user name and password. Additionally you’ll need to know the FTP address (i.e. ftp.microsoft.com), and if you need to log in to a specific directory for your account. Once you’re logged in and connected, you will see your local files on one side of the screen and your remote files on the other. Select which folders or files you want to back up, drag them to your local machine, or “GET” files, or whatever command your FTP client uses.

Once downloaded to your local machine, the files will be safely backed up by your local backup method and you can restore them if necessary.

The third method may not be available to all, however I discovered it recently, through my own web hosting service, and it may be available through your host as well. Go into your hosting account dashboard, and find where you can view the files that have been uploaded to your account.

Once there, you will see a directory of current files, and files stored in the history. You want to view the files in your history. Select the root directory on the left, check the box next to the folder you want to restore, select the date you want to restore back to, then click the restore button at the top. Your blog will be restored to whatever date you selected and you’re good to go!

Whatever method you choose, the important thing is to just do the backup, and do it regularly, so that you’re not faced with the dreaded disappearing blog.

If you have other methods you use to backup your blog, please share them here, so we will all benefit!

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