If you have a blog or business website built on WordPress you probably want to make sure it’s in top shape and it’s as safe as possible. So you probably update WordPress core, plugins and themes, and make sure it does not have any additional plugins that you don’t use.
Even though my WordPress websites are always up to date, I know that it’s not enough. I need to have a copy of my WordPress website put safe outside the internet so even some plugin gets hacked, I’ll always could have a copy of my website safe so I could restore it in minutes.
There are multiple ways to backup a WordPress website – you can schedule a backup in your hosting account. You may get a (paid) plugin to upload copy of your website to the cloud etc.
I might be weird, but I like making things as simple as possible so I don’t use any cloud accounts or paid tools to backup my WordPress websites. I just download them once in a while to my computer. Then I put them into safe place (external hard drive). So I know that none of the third party applications access my backup files, and i don’t have any additional expenses.
Here you’ll find out how to create a backup version of your WordPress website wihout any third party services or complicated tools, and how to restore it in minutes if needed.
How to backup WordPress website to your hard drive
For making a WordPress website backup we’ll use a free WordPress plugin named Duplicator.
Install Duplicator plugin
Go to Plugins >> Add New.
Enter Duplicator to the search field at the top right of the page.
Install and activate the plugin.
Once it is activated you’ll see Duplicator link at the bottom of WordPress admin menu.
Make a copy of your website with Duplicator
To make a copy of your WordPress website you need to create a new website package. it may sound complicated, but it requires almost no technical knowledge. You’ll just need to run a simple on-screen wizard. Go to Duplicator >> Packages, and click Create New.
The wizard will show you multiple tabs with custom options. If you just want to make a simple and full WordPress website backup, don’t make any changes and hit Next.
After hitting Next plugin will scan your website. If your hosting provider is not too picky (usually they are not) and you have enough space in your server to create a backup of the website, Duplicator wizard will let you build a package of your website. Check Yes, Continue with the build process checkbox, and hit Build.
Depending on your hosting server speed and website size it may take from a minute to 5 minutes to build a complete website backup. Sometimes a bit more if your website has lots of posts, pages and attachments.
After the build process is complete you can download a copy of your WordPress wesbite by clicking on Installer and Archive buttons.
These two files are everything what you need to restore your WordPress site in case it gets hacked or something else happens to it. Make sure to place these two files in a safe place and don’t modify the archive file name.
One of the backup files is a file and sql database archive. The other file is installer.php – you’ll need to run it if you want to restore the website.
How to restore WordPress site from backup
Here’s all the steps you need to complete to restore the website from backup.
Replace all the old WordPress website files with the backup Duplicator files
You can do it by logging to your server via FTP (using Filezilla or other similar software). Alternative solution would be to login to your hosting admin panel (Cpanel, DirectAdmin, etc.), and do the same thing via File Manager.
Most of the time website files are located in public or public_html folder. If you see wp-admin, wp-content and wp-includes folders in it, you’re in the right place.
You can delete all the files in the public_html folder, and upload the Duplicator’s package (archive and installer.php) there.
Run the Duplicator wizard to restore the WordPress website
Once the files are in place run http://yourwebsiteaddress.com/installer.php in your browser. You’ll have 4 steps to complete:
Step 1 – Deployment. Installer checks if server settings are suitable for installing the wesbite from backup. Nothing need to be changed in that step unless there’s some kind of critical issue. So hit Next.
Step 2 – Install Database. You’ll need to enter host (most of the time it’s just localhost) database name, database username, and database pasword. This information can be found or generated in Cpanel, Directadmin or any other hosting admin panel tool which controls the hosting server.
If your previous website was compromised, it would be better to create a new database name, username and password. It’s just safer.
After adding database data hit Test Database to make sure that all the entered data is correct.
If everything’s all right, you’ll be able to click Next.
After hitting Next you’ll be asked again if you really want to run installer. Press OK.
Step 3 – Update data. Check if all the fields are correct (they shoud be by default), and hit Next.
Step 4 – Test site. When the database and other website files are ready, you just need to click Admin Login, and login to your website’s admin panel.
After logging in to WordPress panel your webbsite should be fully restored to the state it was before creating a backup.