How to Backup a WordPress Site in 2021

If you need a tool to back up a WordPress site, check out this guide and learn how to use one of the most popular backup tools on the web

A quick and easy plugin for your backup
A quick and easy plugin for your backup

Today, a website is more than just a place to talk about your personal life, like a blog, personal web diary or photolog. Nowadays a website is a sales tool, a job, a complete company. And losing that would be equivalent to losing your job. You can't fully trust a server or hosting service as, if it's on the internet, it can be a potential target for attacks. So, the safest way to keep all this is to have a backup of your website.

If you are looking for a way to backup a WordPress site for free, UpdraftPlus is definitely one of the most popular and highly rated options. In addition to letting you back up manually, it can also automatically back up your website to the cloud according to the schedule of your choice, as well as easily restore a backup with just a few clicks.

In this tutorial, we will guide you step-by-step through the UpdraftPlus configuration procedure and explore the different features and configurations available. By the end of this post, you'll know exactly how to backup a WordPress site for free with UpdraftPlus.

Quick FAQ

What care should I take with my website?

How often you need to back up your site depends on how often you publish. If you post every day, you will need to back up more often than someone who posts only twice a month. That's simply because your WordPress site changes more often.

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What is the best Backup plugin for WordPress?

It depends on you. Here we are working with one that is known and for that we recommend it. But you have to choose the one that best fits your needs. Making a backup is only half the story, though. The plugin chosen must also take care of restoring from the backup. Not all plugins include this feature. In these cases, recovering a backup version will likely be an arduous task.

What's the worst mistake I can make with my website backups?

Relying entirely on manual backups performed at irregular intervals is a disaster about to happen. The best solution? Don't leave this to manual actions. While many plugins allow you to perform a backup manually, it's a good idea to add at least a little automation to your backup schedule in case you forget to manually save your work.

Starting Your Backup of a WordPress Website

If you are looking to backup a WordPress site for free, UpdraftPlus is the plugin for you. With over 14 million downloads, it's the world's most trusted and highest-rated scheduled backup plug-in. UpdraftPlus is extremely fast and easy to set up. It works by backing up your website directly to the cloud, to a solution of your choice. These include…

  • Dropbox;
  • Google Drive
  • Amazon S3;
  • RackSpace Cloud;
  • DreamObjects;
  • OpenStack Swift;
  • Updraft Vault;
  • E-mail;

UpdraftPlus' intuitive interface will allow you to schedule automatic backups, backup files, databases, plugins and themes, and restore your backups directly from the WordPress control panel. There are, of course, other backup solutions, however we will focus on this plugin because it is reliable and simple to use, as well as being free.

Installing UpdraftPlus

To backup a WordPress site for free, you first need to install the UpdraftPlus plugin. To do this, open the WordPress dashboard and select Plugins > Add Plugins from the menu bar.

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Backup a wordpress website
Installing the UpdraftPlus plugin

Then type UpdraftPlus into the search bar. Select the UpdraftPlus WordPress backup plugin and click Install Now > Enable.

Ready. The plugin is installed and ready to use. Now, let's set it up and start your backups.

Installing the updraftplus plugin
Installing the UpdraftPlus plugin

Configuring UpdraftPlus

To configure UpdraftPlus, select Settings > Backups UpdraftPlus from the WordPress menu.

Configuring updraftplus
Configuring UpdraftPlus

This will open the UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore page, where you can customize the UpdraftPlus settings to suit your backup needs. Let's take a look at what you can do.

Backup manually

From the main panel, UpdraftPlus allows you to manually backup your WordPress site at any time. To do this, just click on the Backup Now button.

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Setting up a backup manually
Setting up a backup manually

You can download the manual backup to your local server or have UpdraftPlus automatically upload it to a remote storage location (more on that in a second).

Configure scheduled backups

To avoid the hassle of remembering to back up manually, UpdraftPlus allows you to create your own automatic backup schedule. To configure scheduled backups, select the Settings tab on the UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore page.

Setting up scheduled backups
Setting up scheduled backups

Scheduled Backups

Here you can choose how often the database and files are backed up. Options include:

  • Every 4, 8 or 12 hours;
  • Diary;
  • Weekly, fortnightly or monthly;

Your selection will depend on how often you update your site. For example, if you're adding content on a weekly basis, the weekly backup will probably be enough for your site. You can also choose how many previous backups you want to save.

Once you are satisfied with your backup schedule settings, remember to click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

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Choose your remote storage location

UpdraftPlus integrates with various remote storage solutions, so you have a wide choice of locations to store your backup. Select the Settings tab again and scroll down the page to choose your remote storage.

Storage options for your backups
Storage options for your backups

Then click an icon to select the remote storage location you want to use. The integration settings for the solution you've chosen will appear further down the page.

Storing the backup on google drive
Storing the backup on Google Drive

Each storage solution has a different integration process, so just follow the instructions provided. For this guide, we've chosen to back up to Google Drive. To do this, select the Google Drive icon and select Save Changes at the bottom of the page. Now you will see this popup.

Storing the backup on google drive
Storing the backup on Google Drive

Click on the link in this popup. You will be asked to sign in to your Google account. Then click Allow to enable UpdraftPlus to view and manage the files in your Google Drive. The last step is to select the Complete Setup button to connect the two solutions. All backups will now be stored directly on your Google Drive.

Google drive login confirmation
Google Drive login confirmation

If you want to back up to more than one location, you can do this by upgrading to UpdraftPremium (we'll talk about this a little later in this article). Or you can purchase the individual premium add-on, Multiple Storage Targets.

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Restore backups

There may be times when you need to restore a backup. This is an extremely easy process that only takes a few minutes and a few mouse clicks. So to start restoring your WordPress site, select the Existing Backups tab. Here you can see previous backups.

To restore a backup, click Restore. You can also upload files manually by clicking the Upload Backup Files link.

Restoring backups with updraftplus
Restoring backups with UpdraftPlus

You will then be asked to select which components you want to restore. These consist of…

  • Plugins;
  • Themes;
  • uploads;
  • Others;

The components you choose will depend on your restoration needs. But if you want to restore the entire site, you'll need to select all five options.

Restoring backups with updraftplus
Restoring backups with UpdraftPlus

Once your files are retrieved from your remote location, you will need to follow the instructions in the pop-ups. This isn't difficult and simply involves clicking the Restore button a few more times when it's presented.

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Restoring backups with updraftplus
Restoring backups with UpdraftPlus

When complete, a message will be displayed informing you that the restoration was successful.

Restoring backups with updraftplus
Restoring backups with UpdraftPlus

Meet UpdraftPlus Premium

As mentioned earlier, to add advanced functionality to this backup solution, you can upgrade to UpdraftPlus Premium. Here are some of the features it includes:

Cloning and migration – Updraft Migrator can clone your WordPress site and migrate it to a new domain with minimal hassle.

Pre-upgrade backups – Automatically back up your website before any WordPress updates, your theme or any plugins.

Network / Multisite – Backup WordPress multisite networks.

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Additional remote locations – choose to backup to Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Storage and many more.

Scheduled Backups – set exact times for backup rather than just a general schedule.

To learn more about the extra premium features offered by UpdraftPlus Premium and how they compare to other premium plugins, check out the website official plugin and see how it compares to other different backup plugins. If you are looking to backup a WordPress site for free, UpdraftPlus is essential. Its advanced tools and features make it easy to set up and use. And most importantly, it makes sure your website is safe and secure should the worst happen.

Now, talk to us: Are there any other plugins you would recommend for backing up a WordPress site for free? Which one is the best in your opinion? Share your recommendations or your favorites and take the opportunity to read more about Technology on our website.

Source: Themeisle

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Paulo Fabris is a journalist, writer, RPG player, gamer, cosplayer, nerd and fan of anime since the time of TV Manchete.