I am talking about backups in the Advanced section, but this is a topic that should be considered by any WordPress user. Backups are good. Backups keep your hard work safe. Many things in life come in threes, and so should your backups. I always have 3 versions of every file that's worth anything:
- One wherever it's used (usually on my laptop)
- One on a backup drive at home that archives old versions in case I corrupt a file
- One that is at a different location from my computer and my primary backup. Sometimes it is the cloud; sometimes it's in a safe deposit box, a friend's house, or at work.
Backing up WordPress can be tricky. There are several ways to do it:
- Manually. This involves using FTP or your web host's built in file manager to archive and download your entire WordPress site. If you are doing this, be sure to also backup your WordPress SQL database. Your web host will likely have a special tool for this purpose. Manually backing up and restoring your WordPress site can be tricky.
- Using Tools in your Web Host's Control Panel. Your web host will likely have a tool specifically for backing up WordPress. It will likely include a several options, so be sure to consult the web host instructions for details.
- Plugins. There are several good plugins for automatically backing up your WordPress site on a regular basis. These will take care of backing up your files as well as your SQL database and packaging it all together. My favorite is WordPress Backup to Dropbox. This tool automatically backs my WordPress database to my Dropbox folder each week. This automatically takes care of the rules of 3s for backing up by having a copy in my WordPress installation, a copy online on Dropbox, and copies on any computers I have linked to it.