It’s really important to backup your site, especially if you have sensitive data to maintain. Imagine losing all your blogs, comments, customer information or any other critical site data. Long gone are the days where it’s practical to do a manual FTP backup. Modern WordPress websites are complex and powerful. Because of this, backing up or transferring your website can be quite a chore.
The absolute best and easiest way to backup a WordPress site is with the Duplicator plugin. This plugin is really useful and free as well. I really don’t have anything bad to say about this one. Duplicator is also amazing when it comes to transferring an entire site as well. Moving your site can be tough. It’s much like ripping a house off of its foundation in pieces and setting it on another lot on the other side of the country.
Backing Up the Easy Way
There are too many things that can go wrong when you are moving a site to another server. Database import errors, file path errors, broken links, permission errors and a bunch of other nightmares are common pitfalls.
With WordPress you will also have the task of setting up the plugins so they work on the new server. Manually moving everything is a good solution but just not very practical. It takes hours and you really have to keep a close eye on what you are doing.
Luckily with WordPress, there is always a better solution that involves automation. This is why Duplicator is so awesome. Instead of spending hours manually backing everything up, this plugin does it all for you. No need to save all your images, database and plugins so you can move them separately. All it takes is few clicks.
Duplicator is easy enough for anyone to use, but if you are not well practiced in backing up and/or moving WordPress websites you might find yourself a little confused. This guide is designed to help you learn the basics of using Duplicator while avoiding any confusion.
You can find and download Duplicator from the WordPress dashboard. Under the “Plugins”” option on the dashboard menu, select “Add New.” In the search box type in “duplicator.” The first search result should be Duplicator. Make sure it’s from the developer LifeInTheGrid just to be sure you aren’t downloading any ripoffs. Choose to install it, then activate the plugin.
After it’s activated you will see an option for Duplicator in your dashboard menu. Click on it and you be taken to the following screen.
Click on the “Create New” tab to start the package creation wizard.
You need to pass some requirements to in order to do this. Most of the time you will get a “pass.” If not click on the links to find out what system requirements you need to meet. Most of the time you can fix any problems on your own. You may need to contact your host provider to fix certain issues.
Click on “Next.”
After the scan you will see a report indicating any problems you may have. I had a warning for large file size. This is to prevent any large files such as MP4 or FLAC files from causing a timeout during the archive build. If you want to exlude any large files you can use the filter option to do so.
Don’t worry too much about warnings here as they usually don’t prevent you from creating an archive. However these warnings may help you avoid any problems. In this case I am just going to bypass this warning by filling in the checkbox and clicking the “Build” button.
When you click build, the plugin will backup your entire WordPress site. This includes all your themes, plugins, pages posts and media files to a single file. After it is finished you will see the following page. You can choose to download an Installer (a PHP file) and an archive (zip file). Press the buttons to download both files.
The backups you created are now saved by Duplicator when you click on the “All Packages” tab. As you can see the dates and file sizes are displayed as well. This is a useful features that lets you see different versions of your backups. The files are saved in a directory that you can find in your main website directory.
If your goal was to backup your site, then you are finished. To be extra safe you can copy these files onto an external hard drive or save them on a cloud storage provider.
Move Site to a New Server
If you want to move your site to another server you will just need to do a few extra things.
You will need to go to log into your FTP account with new server’s hosting provider. You don’t need to install WordPress, just upload the installer.php and archive zip files to the new server’s directory.
The last thing you need to do is manually set up the database for your new server. This process will vary from server to server so you will need to consult your server’s documentation.
That’s all there is to it! I like to use Duplicator to save backup my site every couple of days. If you can’t afford to lose even a few hours of site data, then you might want to schedule backups daily. Duplicator is a powerful tool that makes your life so much easier. You also have the option to upgrade to the premium version of Duplicator, which has advanced options for managing backups. Let us know any of your favorite backup rituals or tools in the comments below.Get Duplicator