How To Schedule And Backup WordPress Site For Free And Why

As a blogger/webmaster, having aided plans to backup WordPress site(s) is absolutely crucial. Be you an expert or beginner, believe me, you..  you will save yourself from so many heartaches if you read along.

Nothing can be more frustrating really than working for days and nights on your blog only to lose all your blog data due to a server crash or hackers attack. You have to frequently backup WordPress site so as to make it easier in restoring your blog/site to its original state if eventually your server crashes or someone hacks your site.

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What Does It Mean To Back up?

Simply put, backing up means saving a duplicate version of your work. This includes your site theme, plugins as well as your database (which include your posts, users, comments etc.)

Best and wise practice is to save important document files more than once and in more than one place. So you need to backup WordPress site regularly.

Although it’s important you backup WordPress site, however, it’s also important you realize that prevention can and should always be put in one place to keep your blog safe and secure.

These prevention measures include;

  • Regularly updating your themes and plugins
  • Using strong password ( I mean very strong passwords)

However, things can always go wrong which is why you need to back up your blog regularly.

So we are going to approach this topic from two different perspectives

  • Using backup WordPress plugin
  • How you can backup WordPress site without a plugin
  1. Using Backup WordPress Plugins

For those who are not familiar with the concept of plugins in WordPress, a plugin allows you to add extra functionality to your WordPress blog. There are a variety of plugins you can download (including SMS WordPress Plugins and Push Notification Plugins) and use on your blog. There are also lots of backup plugins that you could use. Some of which are free while some others will cost you a few bucks.

However, think about this in a few minutes, if you have a plugin that automatically backup your (very) large site files, it’s like adding an extra weight to the server which is I will also show you ways you can backup your site without relying on a plugin… Continue reading.

So every time the plugin does a backup(which could be daily, weekly or monthly) depending on how you set it up, it’s doing a work and this can slow down your site performance. This is why some experts are of the opinion that for you to backup WordPress site, it’s best done at the server level and not site level.

Also, if you have been following me, you will agree with me – I never stop emphasizing on the need to have a fewer number of plugins on your WordPress site. This, in my opinion, is better as certain plugins can slow down your site performance

Before I give you a few list of backup WordPress plugins, let’s take a look at what you can and should backup briefly

  1. WordPress Core Installation Files

These are files you get when you download WordPress.

WordPress Plugins: As explained earlier, these are added functionality to a site. It’s found in wp-content folder.

WordPress Themes: Themes allows you to customize the look and feel of your blog.

Images and Files: Images and files you upload to the server.

Php Scripts, Javascripts and Other Related Code Files

Additional Files and Static Web Pages: Anything else that you might add to your WordPress site/blog

Tip: You can check the WordPress Codex for more in-depth look at the WordPress files.

  1. WordPress Database

Backing up just your blog files isn’t enough. This is because these files o not contain all of your website/blog information like your pages, blog posts, comments, categories, and tags etc.

The point is to backup your MySQL database along with your website files. Otherwise, if you backup your files alone, it will just be an empty theme without pages, posts or media images.

Furthermore, if you backup your database alone, you will have contents (i.e. pages, posts, comments) without a functional theme.

4 Free WordPress Backup Plugins

UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin: This is the most popular WordPress backup plugin with over 1+ million active installs. It simplifies backups and restoration. With UpdraftUp, you can backup into the cloud directly to DropBox, Amazon s3, Google Drive for free.Backup WordPressBackWPup – WordPress Backup Plugin: With this plugin, you can schedule automatic backups for your WordPress installation. Additionally, you can specify which content will be stored. It has over 600,000+ active installs and it’s free.

Backup WordPressJetpack By This another useful and powerful plugin. Outside of the ability to backup WordPress for free with this plugin, you can also use it to track your site statistics, for search engine optimization, related posts, site protection etc. It has over 3+ million active installs.

Backup WordPress

Duplicator – WordPress Migration Plugin: With over 1+ million downloads, duplicator offers WordPress users the ability to migrate, move, copy and clone a website from one location to another and at the same time also serves as a backup utility

Backup WordPress

How to Backup WordPress Sites Without Plugins

So let’s now talk about the second option – how you can backup WordPress sites without actually using plugins.

I have broken this part into 3 different sections

  • Automatic Backups
  • Manual Backups
  • Others

Automatic Backups

Just as the name implies [AUTOMATIC]. They occur on their own without you actually doing anything. Aside from other software tools like WinSCP (which makes mirror copies of your site and save them on your very own desktop) and plugins, automatic backups can also be done at the server level.

Most legitimate WordPress plugins like Namecheap offer automatic backups for a small additional fee or as part of their service. However, like the saying goes “the more money you pay, the better service you receive”… the same goes with automatic backups at the server level. Contact your host provider for more info.

Furthermore, it’s also important you understand that no matter how secured your automatic backup maybe and the appropriate preventive measures you put in, things can always happen., so, therefore, it’s not advisable to completely rely on it just it.

Manual Backups

There is a need for you to backup WordPress site and save them in other locations/paces. This is where manual backup comes into play. Below are couple of ways to do manual backups of your site/blog files and database.

  1. Backup through the Webhost:

    This is probably the simplest way. You can manually backup your entire site through your CPanel. Below is how you can do this.

However, depending on your web host, your CPanel could be a little different.

On mine, Namecheap, here is how it’s done…

  • On your CPanel dashboard, click on “Backup Wizard”

Backup WordPress

  • Click “Backup” and then on “Full Backup”

Backup WordPress

  • Generate full backup.. and that’s it, you will get a mail once backup is complete
  • Proceed to download the zip file and store it somewhere safe

Read Also: How to Stop Google Analysis from Tracking Your Own Page Visits

  1. Backup through PhpMyAdmin

Alternatively, you can backup up your database through PhpMyAdmin which you can access through your CPanel.

How to Backup Database through PhpMyAdmin

  • On your CPanel, navigate to DATABASES -> PhpMyAdmin

Backup WordPress


  • Click on “Export Tab”

Backup WordPress

  • Click Go

Alternative Methods

  1. Exporting Website/Blog Data Using Built in Export

There are other ways that you can save all your site data on of which is using the free WP Export Tool

How to Backup  Database through WP Export Tool

On your WordPress dashboard,

Dashboard -> Tools -> Export

Then select the option “All Content”

Click “Download Export”

Backup WordPress


Tip: Considering the fact that WP Export do not export your plugins, themes and other important website files, it’s relatively easy to import this data on other WordPress sites

  1. Using FTP Backups

You can also backup WordPress site with FTP using Cyberduck or FileZilla. This is as easy as downloading the files you want to save.

Final Tip: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to backups. Explore and use as many options as possible.


Was this post useful? How do you backup your sites and blogs? And how often do you do it? Let me know in the comment box below

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