Backing up a WordPress site

It is a good idea to always keep a recent local WordPress back up copy of your hosted website. is one of the more reliable hosting companies and they offer a backup facility for customers. But even so, if you have a recent local copy of your website safely stored on your hard drive there is no question about your ability to restore your site should the worst happen.

A local copy also gives you the chance to build a local clone of your site. This makes debugging, testing and general experimentation much less risky. If you irretrievably wreck your local version it is annoying. But rebuilding it does not mean your live site is down and out.

You can if you so wish also independently move your website to another host without relying on any “auto” set-up that may (or may not) work. Having said that I have to say I’ve found to be good for shared hosting. They are not the fastest but their loading speed is not bad. They are consistent and reliable, unlike many of their peers. Even so, a local back-up is really worth doing. If only for peace of mind.


I’ll concentrate on how to copy your website and it’s associated database to your local hard drive. You can (if you like) do all this with a WordPress plugin but here I’ll concentrate on how to do this without introducing any modifications to your website. I’ll use the tools available from the control panel.

Backing up a wordpress site is a two stage operation. First off we will back up the most important part which is the database. The database contains all your posts so if you lose that you lose all the information you have put onto the site. It is worth backing up the database regularly even if you do not back up the file system as often.

Backing up the WordPress Database.

Access Then click control panel. front page

You should get to a page that looks a bit like this. On the left log into your account. control panel login page

When you have logged in you will be taken to a page like this. Look for the advanced setting box then click on “PHP and database settings” control panel page

After clicking “PHP and database settings you end up on a page like this: database page

Mostly people only have one database with but whatever, you need to click the box on the right hand side marked “select database” and select the database you want to download. As I said, if you are only running a single wordpress site in this control panel then there will only be one database in this drop down box.

Double click on the database name. You end up in the database management tool called phpmyadmin on a page like this phpmyadmin front page

Double click the database name in the left column (mines blacked out in the image above). You end up with a list of all the tables in the database, like this phpmyadmin table display

then click the tab at top marked “Export” This takes you to a page like that below. Just click the “Go” button. Export Database page

After a short while Firefox throws up a dialog box like this..

firefox sql download

Select save. The database will be downloaded to your laptop/PC.

Backing up the WordPress File System.

With the database backed up we now need to backup the file system.

Go back to this page control panel filemanager select

Find the “Files and Security” box and click on “File Manager” You end up here: downloading files

[click the down arrowhead top left corner and choose “select all” like this: file manager select all

When you select one or more files the option to download then appears on the right hand side of the screen. Until then it is absent.

Click on the download option. The filesystem will be compressed into a file (the existing file system won’t be affected – this is essentially a zip file copy) and that zip file will be downloaded.

firefox download

Firefox puts up a dialog box that that above. Choose download and click go.

You’re Done!

Put the database and the file-set somewhere safe.

You now have a full back-up of your current website on your PC.

If you want to build a local clone of this site then first you need to install a webserver and database and do some fairly straight forward changes to the database, wp-config.php file and the htaccess file.

More on that in another post.

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