How to Backup Your WordPress System

Few people care about backups until it’s too late. The question “do we have backups?” is only asked after a catastrophic loss has occurred. Backups are essential. If you fail to prepare then prepare to fail.

The five steps to backup success:

  1. Educate your boss/client
    If they understood the technicalities of web development, they wouldn’t need you. Explain the situation in simple monetary terms, e.g. if our server crashed today, we would lose everything. It would take M months to rebuild the system at a cost of $X and we could lose $Y in business. A viable backup system would cost $Z to implement and we would be back within N hours. I’m going presume you’ve terrified your boss/client and they’re willing to proceed.
  2. Identify what you need to backup
    Backing up a WordPress system is a little complex because it depends on specific files and a database. A backup will only be viable if you have up-to-date copies of both.
  3. Implement appropriate backup technology
    This will depend on the technologies you’re using and the service you offer. For example, a weekly backup may be suitable for a blog receiving a few updates a month. At worst, you could lose an article or two. A WordPress-powered online shop may need continual backups to ensure customer orders cannot be lost.
  4. Automate
    Backups should be taken out of human hands. Consider a system which requires a single click once a day to initiate the backup. You will start with good intentions but it will soon become a chore. What happens when you go on vacation? What if you leave the company? Computers are very good at scheduling so let them handle the work.
  5. Verify and test your backup
    Your system is only as good as the last successful backup. Ideally, you should automate verification of the backup’s integrity, move backup files off-site, periodically test your restore procedures, and retain previous backups for a reasonable time (three old versions is typical).

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Source: Sitepoint