I’m a lucky blogger. Most days, I have Bob, my very own WordPress guy, sitting not 10 feet away from me in my office. I’m lucky because I wouldn’t have a site without him. And the fact that he is married to me—and there is no escaping— makes it very hard to ignore my support tickets.
It’s not always fun. Ever see the old Saturday Night Live sketches with Jimmy Fallon as ‘Nick Burns, Your Company Computer Guy’?
Me: “Help! Everything disappeared and there’s this weird coding on my screen.”
Him (walking over to my computer, squinting at the screen):
“Hmmm. I’ve never seen THAT before.”
(Why do I always manage to do something he’s never SEEN before?) I make a feeble attempt to fix things (Feeble? I can do that.).
He dismisses me with a wave of the hand and, “Mooove!”, my signal to disappear. He sits down and with a half dozen quick keystrokes, my problem is fixed.
But one thing he can’t do is restore my content if I lose it and haven’t backed it up anywhere. I have heard four horror stories in the last week alone from people who lost every speck of their data because their hard drives crashed. So I asked Bob to clear up the confusion about what to back up, how to back up and where to put it all. Here he is (oh, and you can get more excellent WordPress advice by subscribing to his blog):
Daily Affirmations with Bob Dunn
If you have ever been in one of my workshops—or any WordPress workshop—you have heard that it you must keep a second copy of your self-hosted site’s database or you just might lose everything.
This disaster prevention advice can be summed up in two words:
And often I get:
All sorts of things could go wrong in the life of your WordPress blog, whether it’s self-hosted or not. But whatever happens, even it’s the frightening white screen, you can always fix it by installing your latest backup.
But my host backs up all my files.
True. Most hosting services will do that. And some of the specialized ones guarantee their backups.
But you never know. Someone called me recently with a problem. They had created a new username and deleted their old one. The didn’t do it right and, bam, they lost all the content of their posts and page.
I asked her if she had been backing up her files. She said, “No.”
The only option left was to contact hosting service. As it turned out, they said that they could back up files but there would be a charge of $100 to reinstall her database. She paid and was good to go.
Now comes the scary part.
This story had a happy ending (not counting her bank account being $100 lighter).
Except for this: On the phone her host told me that if I had contacted him just one hour later, they would have already done their weekly backup. And since they don’t archive their backups, the backup would have been her empty database!
You don’t want to be at someone else’s mercy, so back up.
What can you do? There are several options. Free back up plugins will do an adequate job. Premium (paid) plugins work harder for you, especially if are constantly updating and changing your blog.
When your blog is set up, first back up all your files. You can do this with an FTP software like FileZilla, a free download, This allows you to upload all your files to your computer. Once you have done this, install the WordPress Database Backup plugin. You can back up your database and have it mailed to you.
If you don’t change the structure of your site much (add and delete plugins, etc.), you can be safe just backing up your WordPress database. The above plugin allows you to automatically back up the database and have it emailed to you weekly, or even daily.
If you are constantly making changes to your site, you might consider the premium plugin Backup Buddy. (Note: This is an affiliate.) It will automatically back up all files and database however often you choose. Then you will download that zipped file to a safe and secure spot on your computer, have it emailed to you or sent to some storage in the cloud. It also scans your site for malware which is awesome. At $75 a year, it’s well worth it for the peace of mind alone.
One final piece of advice:
If anyone tells you to simply use the export tool to back up your database, don’t listen. Because it does not give you the full database backup you need.
There you have it.
Now, to make sure it happens, just look in the mirror and repeat this affirmation daily:
I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and, doggone it, if I back up, people like Bob will like me.
Bob Dunn is a sought-after WordPress speaker and trainer He is also a patient man, demonstrated by the fact that he has been married to Cat’s Eye Writer for 29 years. Find out more about him at bobwp.com and follow him on Twitter for more free tips and resources. Bob is offering an amazing, one-time blog/website set-up package right now with free hosting and two free Pemium plugins thrown in.