April 21, 2021

WordPress Database Backup

One of the most basic things that every blogger that is self hosting should be doing is creating a backup of their database on a regular basis. Why? Because you are not running your own service (i.e. running your blog on wordpress.org or the equivalent place in blog platform of your choice) and having them backup your data, you need to have some protection in case their server crashes, your site gets hacked, etc.– if only for the fact that you will probably have a better grasp of what is truly going on at your site compared to those that are hosting it.

Truth be told, you should both have a copy of your current working files (the files you uploaded or FTP-ed to the site) and the database, but since the most important things for your blog (your posts, comments, settings, and options) are all saved in your database, it is crucial that this data is readily accessible should the unforseen happen. Like Stephen when he put his site back together and told us it is possible to gain a lot of your post content material back from Google’s cache, but he lost some comments. If you had a database backup you’d use less.

Ok, you say, you’ve convinced me. What do I do now?

Go and get the WordPress Database Backup Plugin. This plugin, once installed, will give you the ability to not only select what you want backed up, but, best of all, it will let you pick a scheduled frequency (hourly, daily, weekly, …) and then let you specify an e-mail address to have your backup e-mailed to. I have mine set up to send me an e-mail with my database backed up every day!

You may need to grant write permissions to a specific directory after installing the plugin, but other than that, installation is straightforward. You get a new menu under your Manage tab that says “Backup” and you can test it there as well as configure the daily backup.

So, what are you waiting for. Go get the WordPress Database Backup Plugin today!

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17 thoughts on “WordPress Database Backup

  1. Okay, this is really helpful.

    I already had the plug-in, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I just activated it, found the manage page, and now, here’s my question: what do I have done with the back-up file if I don’t have room for it on my computer?

  2. You don’t have room on your computer? I guess there are sites that actually have storage and you could place it there. You must have a really small hard drive?

  3. This computer was a Christmas gift – in 1999! The only reason it still runs at all is because we switched over to firefox. (But I can’t click on any links in email, it locks the system up immediately). So, the technical details I don’t really know. I do know that I am not really supposed to be storing anything additional on here; we don’t even have all our CDs on the computer.

    The good news is my hero’s friend bought a new computer and just picked it up. He is going to give us his old one or sell it to us really cheap. Does anyone have an old operating system they want to give up for next to nothing? (Is that legal?)

    I do have a laptop with more storage, I just don’t use it very much. (Too lazy to unplug the DSL from this computer to plug it into the other one. And the cable won’t reach to anywhere comfortable to sit.)

    If I have it emailed to me, would that be on my computer or stored at Earthlink?

  4. Wow, really old PC. IE is a trap for all sorts of stuff anyway.

    As far as operating systems go, it depends on what you intend to use the system for. Linux is the fast growing free operating system out there and it has programs that are comparable to about everything you use on your Windows box. They may not be name brands, but they are free and it is more secure than Windows as well.

    If it was e-mailed to you it would go to Earthlink until you downloaded it. So, as long as you make sure to delete old backups it should be ok.

    Let me know if you want to know more about Linux, computers, storage or whatever. 🙂

  5. Yeah, I think it’s cool that we can still use it like we do!

    Well, we don’t play games, if that’s what you mean. he hee. We use the computer to socialize (you may have noticed), to check Craigslist, email, and other internet research type stuff. The ladies have lots of pictures, presently they are using the laptop for most of that. The one with the digital camera also likes to take lots of videos. And we really would like to be able to store all our CDs and burn custom mixes; we don’t have huge amounts (they all fit across our mantel in their original cases, but just barely).

    So, maybe Linux is a good way to go for when we get our friend’s old computer. He is planning on keeping his OS.

    Have you posted before on what to do when you get a new computer with Vista on it? We have removed a few things, and my husband has worked a little bit on configuring it, but it’s still not as easy to use.

    I think I will sign up to have the backups emailed to me. Thanks for your help!

  6. Check out my blog. It’s gone. I activated the WP database backup plug-in…and got a fatal error. How fatal? Well…if it’s all gone, at least I’m currently feeling great peace!


  7. I just wanted to tell you that I had a backup emailed to me, no prob. I couldn’t figure out how to set it up to automatically backup, though, and schedule it.

    Mary, I’m glad it all came out okay (didn’t happen when MIn was on vacation or anything). 🙂

  8. The scheduling is on the lower half of the screen (below the on-demand section) and you have to push the submit button at the very bottom of the page. I test with the hourly setting to make sure it’s working before shifting to the daily.

  9. Wow, Rebecca’s right, thanks so much MIn! So glad you were available…you saved the day. I still don’t understand why that happened though…

  10. That’s in Manage Backup? I wonder if I have a different version, because I don’t see that at all. I have Backup Tables and then Backup Options and a Backup button, that’s all.

  11. Rebecca,
    I don’t know if you’re still looking for an OS for that computer… but I have a couple of legal copies of NT 4.0 lying around here somewhere. I think they actually are in NY right now, but as soon as I get up there again I’d be more than glad to send you a copy. NT 4.0 is about as old as your present computer is… but it will work.

    If you do decide to go the Linux route, I highly recommend Puppy Linux. It flies on even slow computers and is pretty simple to use. They even have whats called a “Live CD” which allows you to try it out on your CD-Rom drive before you install it to your hard drive. Ubuntu is a really popular distribution right now and has a lot more features and programs available than Puppy Linux. They also have a Live CD to try out.

  12. I have no experience with Puppy Linux, but I have used Ubuntu a couple of places and I can say that it is pretty straightforward– though there are a few differences from Windows.

    I want to get a true linux box up and running in my home after we get out of debt and get some cash for some computers. 🙂

  13. Sounds cool ;-). You don’t need too much of a box to run linux. I’ll keep my eyes appealed for another available machine. At one point in time I had quite the collection of 200mhz-866mhz machines. I’ve since thrown out the really slow ones, and passed on most of the decent machines (600mhz-866mhz) to other people.

    I’m now down to two boxes. I’ve got my main Windows PC, and a 1ghz vanilla Debian install running just enough to run VmWare. I then run 2-3 VmWare hosts with the different projects I’m working on running on them (e.g. I have a 2003 Server VmWare Image, a few Webhosting images, an Asterisk Box). When I’m done playing with one I just shut down the VmWare image. Its a great setup ;-).

    BTW, Puppy Linux is THE BEST Linux distro for a slow machine thats just going to be used for web-surfing and e-mail. It is very GUI, but very minimalistic at the same time and it flies on a 500mhz machine. If you have a CD Burner not only can you run it from a live CD, but it will save updates to the CD for a changing image. You should definitely check it out. The ISO for the “fat puppy” is around 200mb. It is not easy to add additional packages besides those already built for Puppy though. As a result if you want a development box or anything more than simple things it is not a good distribution.

  14. Hey Doug and MIn – thanks. This is all really helpful. When we get the new computer, I’ll have someone come with me to re-read these comments. 🙂

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