We’re showing you how to do a WordPress backup manually – this shouldn’t be necessary unless you cannot access your WP site. Use these instructions to back up your site using a plugin and see these best practices for when and how to store your backups.

First you need to understand the parts that make up WP so you can get a backup of all of them. There are only two though!

1 – WordPress stuff (this is anything that you add to WordPress – things like themes & plugins)

2 – Database stuff (all the words that you type into any field in your dashboard – this includes your settings, your plugin settings, your posts and pages)

Part I – WordPress Stuff

* You don’t need to have a copy of the WordPress software, itself. Because that is available here.

* Whenever you download a theme or plugin, get a copy that you save on your computer. 99% of the time they are zipped in a ‘zip’ file. Which means they are compressed and relatively small. However you will make edits to these files over time and it is best to get a fresh backup every week or so.

And this is how to get that backup.

How to Back up WordPress Files

Get out the handy dandy FileZilla (a small free program to download to your computer) and request an ‘ftp user’ from your hosting company.

Follow these instructions to set up Filezilla.

The hard part is setting up Filezilla, once it is working you simply drag and drop the files from the webserver to your computer – easy peasy. Now you have a copy of the files on your computer, safe and sound.

What folders & files to Backup

There are three directories in the WP root directory:

  • WP-Admin,
  • WP-Content and
  • WP-Includes

WP-Content contains your themes and plugins and your images/media. It is never overwritten when you ‘upgrade’ WordPress. So in theory, your theme, plugins and media is safe from a WP Upgrade. But it is a good idea to have a backup!

So grab the WP-Admin, WP-Content and WP-Includes directories and drag them to the bottom window in Filezilla, and then also grab the files that are beneath those three folders. Once everything is in the bottom transfer window, click the transfer button to begin the transfer.

Part II: Database

How to Backup the Database

All the posts and words and settings that you have ever typed or clicked into WordPress is stored in the database.

This is the best backup guide there is. The short version is:

  1. Get phpmyadmin logins from your host
  2. Login to phpmyadmin
  3. Select your database
  4. Click “Export” (the tab at the top of the list of tables)
  5. Save this file on your computer.

And that’s it! You’ve backed up all of your WP site!


Beginner Checklist

If you’re starting out, you’ll love our comprehensive 52 point checklist for your website! Read through once, and then work on items one at a time as it comes up!

52 Edits Checklist – beginners categories

Cathy Mitchell

Single Mom, Lifelong Learner, Jesus Follower, Founder and CEO at WPBarista.