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The Best Way to Backup a WordPress Website

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Last updated: June 06, 2022
Published: April 04, 2022
Read in 6 minutes

Backing up a website isn't an option, but a must. You should have backups of your website. Why? Because regular website backups can save you a lot of headaches. It may happen that your website brakes after a plugin update (if not been done properly), or the update affects its functionality. Without a backup you have to get an expert to make the fix to you, which can be quite expensive. On the other hand, when having a backup, you can simply roll back the saved version.

When it comes to WordPress websites, regular backups are also very important. I would rather say crucial. WordPress core or plugin updates are rolling out every week. This means that the chance of having a problem is slightly higher the usual.

A WordPress backup includes two main elements: the files and the database.

Now I would like to show you what options you have to backup your WordPress website. I'll also tell you what is the best solution I prefer and use on all my client's websites I manage.

Store Backup On Your Server

Website backups actually fit into 2 categories. You can store them on your webserver or another server. The benefit of having the backups on your server is that you don't have to share the data with other servers, which might cause some privacy issues. You have full control over what can or should happen with the backups. When storing the backups on another server, what isn't yours, might raise some privacy issues. If you wanted to have the backups on another server of yours, it can raise (actually at the very least) doubble your server related expenses. There are two ways to make backups of your WordPress website on your server.

1. WordPress Plugin

Using a dedicated plugin to make the backups is the easiest solution. There are tons of options out there. Usually the free versions are sufficient for many. Of course, using free solutions set the limits of your possibilities, but on less frequently content-updated websites this can be a way to go. Below I have listed some of the advantages and disadvantages of using plugins for regular backups on your WordPress website:

Pros:

  • Easy to setup
  • Free solutions for small sites
  • Huge variety of plugins
  • Files and databes are stored on your server

Cons:

  • Backups can eat up a lot of storage place
  • In case of server side issues you can lose all your backups

Options (without listing all prossibilities):

2. Server Side Backup

A server side backup is similar to using a plugin to do the backups for you. The difference is that while the plugin driven backups are controlled from the WordPress Dashborad, the server side backups are controlled on the server, usually by using the admin panel of the hosting company.

Pros:

  • For bigger sites it can be cheaper than using a plugin
  • Files and databes are stored on your server
  • No plugin dependency

Cons:

  • Usually not free
  • In case of server side issues you can lose all your backups
  • Backups can eat up a lot of storage place
  • The set up can be difficult for a beginner

Store Backup Off Your Server

The second main category of backups are those stored on a different server, whether it is yours or rented from a company. The benefit of having the backups on another server is data safety. In case of a serious server issue, the copies of your website are stored somewhere else. You don't keep your eggs on the same basket. I like to illustrate it this way:

What would happen if you have all your cash in the same wallet? If that wallet was stolen or lost, you would lose all your money. It is wiser to store cash in different places, so even if some of it get stolen, there is a backup.

Yes, as I said, storing the backups somewhere else might raise some privacy issues. But the chance is very, very small. Actually almost the same odds as storing them on your own server. Moneywise, you are not better or worse with this solution.

Local Backup

Local backup is when you download regularly the files and database to your local computer. It can be done manually, or by using different tools. Neither of them is difficult. This solution is limited by the storage capacity of your local machine. Important to note that while a local machine seems to be the safest chioce, it is not. Server parks are seriously protected. On the other hand you don't use CCTV and security guards to protect your personal computer.

Pros:

  • You don't have to pay for renting another server
  • Files and databes are stored on one of your devices

Cons:

  • Security concerns (stolen device, software security issues)
  • Data-safety concerns (faulty hardware)

Backups on Another Server

In this case you decide to keep your regular backups on a separate server to yours. Backups can be made manually (less sustainable and time consuming), or by using dedicated software. The benefits of this method is just data safety. Security problems are very little, if exist. It is all about the server provider. I believe, this is the best way to backup your WordPress website. The reasons for that are:

Pros:

  • For bigger sites it can be cheaper than using a plugin
  • No plugin dependency
  • Files and databes are stored on a separate server, so in case of a hardware fault on your original server, the data won't be lost
  • You don't lose storage capacity on the original server

Cons:

  • Can be expensive

The Best Way to Backup Your Website

As you have seen, there are number of options to keep your website data safe. The worst thing is not doing regular website backups. I beleive, the best way to backup your WordPress website is having the backups on another server. This is the safest and most futureproof solution.

I mentioned several times the data security issue, beacuse I wanted you to be aware of this problem. As you could see, we can face this issue no matter what solution we use. So the importance of choosing the right provider is vital.

Summary

A responsible website owner makes sure to have regular website backups. You can do it by using a plugin, hosting provided solutions, local backups, or store the data on other servers.

The best approach is having the backups on another server. If you want to entrust an expert to handle your regular website backups, check out my GDPR compliant and scaleable offers, which don't load your server.

If you want to entrust an expert to handle your regular website backups, check out my GDPR compliant and scaleable offer.
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