There are a couple of ways to handle backing up and restoring a WordPress Website. Hosting providers usually provide backup services. You can use a free or paid plugin, and you can backup and restore your site manually.

Let’s backup a site for free with UpdraftPlus

Step 1. install and Activate UpdraftPlus

In your dashboard, hover over plugins, then “Add New”

In the search field type “updraftPlus”, then in the list of plugins, “UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin” should be at the top. Click “Install” and then “activate”

2. Visit the settings page.

It should then navigate you to the installed plugins page. If not, you can get there from the sidebar by clicking “Plugins” then “Installed Plugins”. Then we’ll want to enter the UpdraftPlus Settings page

3. Create the Backup
Then we can backup our website by clicking the “Backup Now” button. This will bring up a settings panel, which you’ll want to tick the check boxes for “Include your database” and “include your files”.
4. Download the backup files to your computer.
When it’s finished creating the backup of the entire WordPress site, you’ll need to download the zip files for each piece of your website. In the image below we need to click “Database”, “Plugins”, “Themes”, “Uploads”, and “Others”. Then we can download each of these zip files to our computer. These zip files combined will be the entirety of our free website backup. Save them in a safe location!

Congrats! Your WordPress Website is backed up!

Now we are ready for when something breaks. Hopefully you’ve backed up your site BEFORE something has gone horribly wrong.

Oh No! Something broke. Let’s restore our website!

You will only be able to restore a website to its most recent backup, which is why it’s nice to have a premium plugin or quality hosting so they can automatically backup your website on a schedule.

If you want to restore your website from a backup on the same domain, you’ll need to get into a working WordPress dashboard and install UpDraftPlus. You can start from your broken WordPress site, or you can wipe the entire website and start fresh. Either way, get to a place where you have UpDraftPlus installed and active. Then click into the UpDraftPlus “settings” like we did earlier.

Depending on your situation you may have one or two options:

If you already have a backup stored on your site, there should be a “Restore” button. (#2). If that’s available just click it. If something went horribly wrong you may have to wipe the site. If the site is erased and you’re starting from scratch you’ll have to use option #1, and upload the backup files from wherever you stored them.

If you need to upload the files, click the “Upload Backup Files” link.

By dragging and dropping, or uploading the original files to UpdraftPlus, it will create the “backup” with the restore button as you can see above. Click “Restore”, but make sure you have the “Themes”, “Uploads”, “plugins”, “db”, and “others” all there.
Select ALL of them, unless you have a specific reason not to, and click next.

Then click Restore!

Now try to log in, or view the site. You should be able to log in with the user and password that existed in the backed up version of the site.

Ahh yes. My Dog Blog is back in business!

Published by John Curry

John has a diverse technical skill set. He's a "Full-Stack" developer, and can do anything from using page builders in WordPress to building complex applications with a variety of modern tools. When he's not coding you can find him underwater or in the mountains.

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