The importance of website backups cannot be over-emphasised. Due to the frequent compromise and hacking of websites by hackers and malicious bots, it’s important that we backup our websites on a regular basis, especially when it’s so easy to do with so many WordPress Backups plugins available.
Let’s assume your WordPress blog got hacked and the attacker deleted the website files and database. If unfortunately, you had no prior backup, it would mean you’d have to start your website from a clean slate. But if you had a backup, you could simply restore the backup and your website would be up and running again.
There are lots of backup plugins, both free and premium, that will seamlessly backup your WordPress files and database and send it to your email, web server, cloud storage or other means of storage.
WordPress Backups with Backup Scheduler
One such plugin is Backup Scheduler, my favorite backup plugin, which is freely available in the WordPress plugin directory.
In this article, I will be walking you through how the plugin works (i.e. backing up WordPress) and how to restore the backup when your website goes awry.
Installation & Setup
If you haven’t already installed the plugin, do so now simply by searching for the plugin in your WordPress dashboard and activating it.
On the plugin settings page, click the Parameters tab to configure how the plugin will take backups of your site.
In the first section titled “How often do you want to back up your website?”, you can:
- Set the frequency, in days, telling the plugin how often to backup WordPress,
- Set the time to initiate the backup,
- Set how long the files will be kept on your server, and
- Whether or not to be notified when the backup is completed.
The “Customise the name of the files?” section provides the ability to customise or alter the backup file naming.
The “What do you want to save?” section gives you the option to choose what to backup out of the following options:
- All directories (the full WordPress installation),
- The plugins directory,
- The themes directory,
- The upload directory, and
- The MySQL database.
The “Do you want that the backup sent by email?” section has a text field that should contain an email address that the notification (when a backup has been completed) will be sent to.
In the “Do you want that the backup is stored on a FTP?”, enter your server’s FTP details as follows:
- FTP host: path to the folder that will store the backup. Say you want the backup to be stored in backup-folder on your backup server, you would enter ftp://yourbackupsite.com/backup-folder as the FTP host.
- FTP port, login and pass should contain your server port (usually 21 by default), username and password.
Don’t forget to click the test button so you can verify that your FTP details are correct.
You should note that altering the values in the Advanced tabs is not recommended unless you know what you’re doing.
By now, we have successfully configured the plugin to create a backup of our WordPress site. If you don’t want to have to wait for the plugin to generate the backup at the time set in the plugin’s settings, navigate to the Backups tab and click either the “Force a new backup (with Mail/FTP)” button to create the backup and send it to your email and backup server, or the “Force a new backup (without any external storage or sending)” to save the backup to wp-content/sedlex-backup-scheduler on the same web server used by your WordPress blog.
When a backup is created by Backup Scheduler, the backup is broken into multi-part files with extensions .zip, .zip01, .zip02 etc. depending on the number of files.
Carefully follow the steps outlined below to see how to restore the backup.
- Install a fresh version of WordPress on your server.
- Create a folder and copy the multi-part ZIP backup files to the folder.
- Using a ZIP program, select the multi-part backup files and extract them to a folder.
- If you have configured the plugin to save the entire installation, replace all the WordPress files by the extracted backup files and import the SQL files (at the root of the ZIP file, the files named *.sql1, *sql2, etc.) to your database. It is recommended to save your database first before importing the SQL files.
- In other cases, replace the plugins, themes and uploads folders (in the wp-content folder) with the ones in the archive, replace the wp-config.php file (at the root of your WordPress directory) with the one at the root of the ZIP file and import the SQL files (at the root of the ZIP file, the files named *.sql1, *sql2, etc.) to your database.
Taking backups of your website isn’t fun. It requires a large chunk of your precious time and technical skill to pull it off. Thankfully, if your website is powered by WordPress, there are a lot of great plugins that handle backups really well, one of which is Backup Scheduler, which we covered in-depth in this post.
Do you have any other WordPress Backups plugins that work for you? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll be sure to get back to you!