WordPress Plugin: WP-DB Backup

This post is part of my WordPress Essentials Toolkit — a collection of the most important basic steps to maintaining a WordPress site. Get a free copy of this helpful 28-page PDF by subscribing to my Weekly Web Tips!

Do I really need to explain why you need a backup?

“They” say that there are only two kinds of computer users: Those who have lost data, and those who will. Not to be a downer or anything, but it’s a good idea to back all your stuff up.

For WordPress, that means messing with databases, which is kind of scary. Fortunately, there’s a handy plugin called WP-DB Backup that automates the process for you.

How to use the WP-DB Backup plugin to do a right-now backup

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Figure 1: Using the WP-DB Backup plugin to do an on-the-spot backup

  1. On the left-hand navigation bar, click Tools.
  2. Click the Backup sub-menu. (If you don’t see this menu, you need to install and activate the plugin.)
  3. In the Tables section, optionally check additional database tables to backup. lthough the plugin creator warns that checking these can “substantially increase the size of the backup file,” in general, I recommend selecting all the additional checkboxes, at least for your first backup.
  4. Under the Backup Options section, select “Email backup to:” and type your email address.
  5. Click “Backup now!” to have the backup performed and the file emailed to you.
  6. Make sure the email arrives with its .xml attachment. File it and hope you never need it!

If the email doesn’t arrive within a couple of hours (it should be nearly instant), it’s remotely possible that selecting all the optional checkboxes created a file that was too big.

You might want to go back and try again without selecting these extras.

Another way to slim down the size of your backup file is to select the two checkboxes labeled “exclude spam comments” (because really, why on earth would you want those?) and “exclude post revisions.”

How to use the WP-DB Backup plugin to schedule automatic backups

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Figure 2: Using the WP-DB Backup plugin to schedule future backups

  1. On the left-hand navigation bar, click Tools.
  2. Click the Backup sub-menu.
  3. Ignore the first two sections (Tables and Backup Method).
  4. Under the Scheduled Backup section, select a frequency (I recommend weekly unless you are really truly posting every day or multiple times each week).
  5. Under the Scheduled Backup section, select “Email backup to:” and type your email address.
  6. Click “Schedule Backup” to, well, schedule your backup.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll see a line at the top of the Scheduled Backup section telling you when your next backup will be performed, as seen in Figure 3. Now all you have to do is file the weekly emails (as long as you keep the three or four most recent, you can safely delete older backups).

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Figure 3: Your backup is safely scheduled (you can change it if you need to).

More WP-DB Backup Resources

Angelo Mandato’s Plugins Podcast has an audio podcast describing how to use the WP-DB Backup plugin, and he also gives a few general backup tips that are specific to WordPress.

Austin Matzko, the plugin’s creator, maintains a WP-DB Backup support forum on his website, where you can post problems and get his answers (search the forum first to see if someone else has asked the same question and gotten an answer).

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the discussion about this plugin. I just started publishing my blog a couple of weeks ago. I had installed this plugin, but wasn’t exactly sure how it all worked. This helps me understand the options better.

    Do you think you could write another post about what happens if we do need to restore from a backup?

    Thanks
    Robyn

    P.S. I need to go try out SEO All-In-One Pack, too. I haven’t tackled that one yet, so thanks for that post, too.