What to Backup WordPress Site and When to Do It

In this section, in the previous post, we learned about the necessity of backing up a website. And in this post, we will learn about “What to Back Up of a WordPress Site and When to Do It”. So, let’s start…

Manage Your WordPress Backup

WordPress the application, the active theme and plugins, the databases holding all the data and the uploads. When backing up a WordPress site, each of these different components needs to be backed up, but they don’t need to be backed up at the same frequency.

What to Back Up and When to Do It

There are four main components are working together to form the WordPress site. The components will be shown shortly first and then we will discuss them below in detail.

  1. WordPress
    • Once a month or less
  2. Themes and plugins
    • Once a month and any time changes are made
  3. Database
    • Monthly, weekly daily, or hourly depending on usage
  4. Uploads
    • Monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly depending on usage

1. WordPress Application

First, The WordPress application does not technically have to be backed up at all. You can always download and install a fresh copy from wordpress.org. However, the core install of WordPress includes custom configuration files like .htaccess and wp-config.php which controls how WordPress operates on this to get everything working smoothly. That said, WordPress core and its configuration files rarely change so these can be backed up at a cadence of once a month or even once a quarter without running the risk of anything getting lost. In this process, you also have to keep in mind WordPress updates quite frequently so any old backups will hold older versions of WordPress.

2. Themes and plugins

Second, the active themes are what controls the appearance of your WordPress site, and active plugins control extended functionally. These are core elements that need to be backed up to ensure the site runs smoothly and consistently even after being restored from a backup.

Themes and plugins should be back up once a month, and any time you make a configuration change or add new themes or plugins.

3. Database

Thirdly, the databases, on the other hand, are where all the data sits, including posts, pages, comments, and all other entries as well as references to any media elements uploaded to the site. Depending on how much usage the site gets, this database needs to be backed up on a weekly, daily, or even hourly basis to ensure no data is lost.

4. Uploads

Fourth and finally, any uploads made to the site, be it images, video, audio, or documents, end up in the wp-content/uploads folder, unless some other non-standard location has been introduced via a plugin or a custom development. All these uploads, need to be backed up to ensure they remain available even after the site is restored from a backup.

Over time, the uploads folder can get really large, but the files uploaded usually don’t change once they’re uploaded. For this reason, it may be worth the effort to find a backup solution that only backs up the changed files in the upload folder on an ongoing basis. So, you don’t end up with multiple full backups of the same files. As for the database, depending on how much content is published on the site, the uploads folder might need to be backed up on a weekly, daily, or even hourly basis, to ensure no data is lost.

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