How to Properly Back Up Your Website

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Check With Your Host: The first thing you should do is figure out how your host handles website backups. Check and find out how often they do automatic backups. You can find this info on their website, you can call them or you can use the live chat support many web hosts have.

Some premium hosting packages may handle backups for you. You can still backup yourself to be doubly sure though.


Copy Your Files: A simple step you can take is to back up all of your website files. The easiest way to do this is to access your site via FTP and then download the entire public_html folder of your website.

You can download it to your computer and save it there. You can also upload it to some cloud storage (like Dropbox) for another layer of protection, and even store it on DVD or an external hard drive for a third layer of ultimate  protection.


Copy Database: If you use a database for anything you will want to download and save that as well. The good news - that this file is usually pretty small and it is a quick download. If you are wondering if you have a database or not, remember any CMS type of web platform (like Wordpress) will use a database.

With most hosting packages (not all) you will have some kind of control panel to manage your sites. The most commonly used is cPanel. In cPanel there will be a backup application that will allow you to back up your website database with a click or two.

If you don’t have a control panel, contact your web host and ask them about backing up MySQL databases.


Export: This step is for people who use CMS/Blogging platforms for their websites. Since WordPress (and similar) programs are so popular, it is worth a mention. This exporting step is also helpful for those people who host their site on a free host like WordPress.com or Blogger.

When you are logged into the back office of one of these platforms, you can usually find a an export function. For WordPress this is under Tools. Use the export function to create a copy of all of your posts, pages, categories and comments. Save this file in whatever way you want. In most cases you will get an .XML file.

The above steps will ensure that you have properly backed up your website, and you will be able to restore it if anything bad happens. There are only two other things to consider: Where to Save & How Often

As for where to save - we have mentioned it above. You will want to save your site, database, etc... to your computer for sure. You will also want to make sure you save it at least one more place. The popular choice these days is some sort of cloud storage. This will mean your website backup is secure, and it will be available no matter where you are.

When it comes to how often, that is really up to you and how often you update your website. If you have a fairly static website that doesn’t change often, then you probably don’t have to back up too often. I would definitely backup after every major change to the site though. there that can help you with backups. In fact some of these backup solutions will allow you to set them up and they will run automatically. There is a world of choices out there but here are just a few:


WP -> Dropbox Plugin: This simple WordPress plugin will backup your WordPress installation to DropBox at a specified frequency.

BackupMachine: Backup machine offers free backups, as well as a premium service that will back up your website and database daily.

DropMySite: This is a very simple, bare bones program that will automatically backup your site, email and databases into cloud storage.

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