WordPress Backups

Last week, I received an urgent email from a client about her WordPress website. (She manages everything on her website and had contacted me once to do some “heavy lifting”; customizing the WordPress theme and making a WordPress plugin work to her specifications.) Anyway, a portion of the email is below:

“… a friend hosts my website, had hardware issues, looks like everything is lost., I am sick to my stomach.”

My eyebrows raised of course, when I read “a friend”, and I, too got that uncomfortable roll in my stomach.

So let’s talk about hosting and backups…

IF you choose to have a friend host your website, a friend who is not in the hosting business, then you need to backup your WordPress files and database on a regular schedule, no matter what your friend tells you about their back up policies. Hosting with a friend is not a situation that I would recommend. You don’t want to start hating on that friend if your website or blog goes missing, and it wouldn’t go missing on purpose, so then do you hate on someone for an accident? It gets too messy. Save a friend and spend some money on hosting your website.

IF your friend works for a professional hosting company, and you host your website or blog with that hosting company, the situation is much better. Your job, then, is to check out the company’s reputation and their backup policies.

When you host your website with a professional hosting firm, you do not have to backup your own WordPress files and database. A professional hosting firm should be doing daily backups of your website.

Daily backups are frequently “incremental”. Incremental backups copy only the files that have been altered and added since the last backup. So, when the incrementals are restored, the entire website can be re-built. Generally, a “full” backup is run one day per week. A full backup back ups the entire website and blog and the database.

Daily incrementals and once-per-week full backups done by a reputable hosting firm have served me well whenever I have had to rebuild a WordPress website from scratch.

If you still would rather have your own set of backups…You can use a WordPress plugin that backs up the files and the database. CAUTION: Be careful with these. If you can find a WordPress Backup plugin that purges previous backups, then try it out, keeping an eye on the disk space being consumed by the backups. One full backup doubles the space you are using in your hosting account. Two backups triple the space. Three backups quadruple the space, and so on and so on.

Sample WordPress backup sizes

Is a full backup every 24 hours necessary? Each backup is 85MB.

You might find yourself being charged extra for hosting because the backups are expanding out of your allotted space.

Do you want to pay for additional space just to be holding backups? If you are willing to pay more, then pay a reputable hosting company that will automatically and professionally complete your WordPress backups, or, pay your WordPress webmaster to create and download special backups, or, check out a WordPress backup service like VaultPress. Don’t take up any more of your time worrying about your WordPress backups.

Oh, and if you host your website with Adventures Online, rest assured that daily backups and weekly full backups are being done by professionals, not to mention the local copy of your website that is kept on the in-office production system.

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