How to Automatically Back up Your WordPress Files and Database with UpdraftPlus

6 min read

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How to set up UpdraftPlus to automatically back up self-hosted WordPress sites | Blog to Biz
Here’s the thing. You can never have too many backups of your website.

Am I being paranoid?

Well… not really.

Hold up, hear me out, k?

You see, web servers are not impregnable. They can have a system malfunction just like anything else. True, a good hosting company will have ways of their own to have multiple backups, but even that can fail. And that’s why it is so very important that you’re hosted with a really good and reputable company.

Over here at Blog to Biz, I recommend SiteGround [affiliate link] because I really trust these guys, and host all my websites with them myself. In fact, I even move my clients (who’re not with SiteGround already) to SiteGround these days. Yeah… I don’t like to take chances. They have free backups with ALL of their hosting packages, and one-click restore with most of them. But that said…

I’ve literally heard horror stories where some XYZ hosting company went down and lost files and ended up with permanently corrupted databases. In fact, not too long ago I was reading about a photographer whose 8-year old website was just gone… yeah… GONE! Just like that! Poof!

So yeah, you never know. And even if you’re hosted with a reputable company, I think it’s better to be safe than sorry. And that’s why my friends, I advise that you all have at least one set of backup (in addition to the backup created by your hosting company). And if it isn’t too much, then please consider having two.

And now to my favorite backup plugin — UpdraftPlus. This plugin takes care of all my headaches.

With UpdraftPlus, you can create a backup with a click of a button. You can also set it up to automatically create backups at a certain interval. Isn’t that so cool?

Also, here’s another reason why I absolutely love having a local backup plugin even when I know SiteGround has my back. You know how WordPress itself, as well as all the plugins, release periodic updates? Well, sometimes these updates can have bugs or something can go wrong in the update process, causing your site to break. In the unlikely event that this does happen, if you still have access to your dashboard, you can just click the Restore button and BAAM! You’re back in business just like that, pretty much in a jiffy.

In fact, I always tell my clients to create a backup manually before updating plugins or new WordPress versions. That way you have access to a copy of the most up-to-date site, in case something does go wrong.

Now, it’s SUPER easy to set it up, but just in case technology gives you a migraine, here’s a really easy, step-by-step guide for setting up this plugin and automating the whole backup process.

How to Set Up UpdraftPlus and Automate the Backup Process

First things first: install the UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup plugin. If you don’t know how to, here’s a step-by-step guide to adding a plugin.

Once you’ve installed it, follow these steps to set up automation:

  1. Go to UpdraftPlus Settings. You can access it either from Setting > UpDraftPlus Backups, or from the UpdraftPlus tab from the top toolbar (image 1).
    Image 1: Go to UpdraftPlus Settings.
  2. In the next page, you’ll see multiple tabs. Click on Settings (image 2).
  3. Under this tab, you’ll see a couple of options: File backup schedule, and Database backup schedule. You can choose your desired frequency from the drop-down. I like to set them both to weekly backups. You’ll also see an option to choose how many backup copies to retain. (Image 2) I like to have 4 backups for both files and database. Basically, this means that UpdraftPlus keeps the last 4 backups, and automatically removes any other backups older than the number you’ve chosen, which in this case is 4. You can choose as many or as less as you want, but remember, as your site grows, the size of these backups will also increase. So, if you choose to retain a lot of these backups, you’ll be loading your disc and potentially, depending on where you’re saving them, you might find yourself running out of memory. I find that having anywhere between 2-6 backups is usually sufficient.
    Image 2: Choose the backup frequency and the number of backups you wish to retain.
  4. Scroll down, and you’ll see a number of external backup options. By default, UpdraftPlus saves the backups on your server, however, the idea is to save an additional copy somewhere outside of the server. So, this is where you get to choose where to save them. UpdraftPlus integrates with a bunch of external storage services, including Google Drive, Google Cloud, Dropbox, Microsoft Onedrive, and a few others as you can see (image 3). For the purpose of this guide, I’ve chosen to show you how to save the backups in Google Drive. However, even if you choose another platform, the steps are very similar and intuitive. If you know how to do this with one of them, you’ll be able to do it with any of the other services as well.
    Image 3; All the external storage options.

    In this step, click on the backup storage destination of your choice. Below these options, you’ll see all the things you can save. Check them all (plugins, themes, uploads, any other directories found inside wp-content). Leave the “Exclude these” option to its default state.

    Click “Save Changes”. In the next step, it will walk you through the actual Google drive integration.

    Image 4: Choose the files you want to add to the backups.
  5. After you click “Save Changes”, you’ll see a pop-up. Click on the link that says “Follow the link to authorize access…” to go to the next steps where you’ll give UpdraftPlus authorization to access your Google Drive. (Image 5)
    Image 5: Click to link to authorize UpdraftPlus to access Google Drive.
  6. It will ask you to log in (if you’re not logged in already) and choose the Google account you want to use. Once you’ve chosen the account, it will show you a pop-up asking you to allow UpdraftPlus access. Click the button that says “Allow”. (Image 6)
    Image 6: Click “ALLOW”.
  7. Now you’ll see a confirmation page (image 7). Just click “Complete Setup”, and you’re done! It will now take you back to your WordPress dashboard.
    Image 7: Click “Complete Setup”, and you’re done.

That wasn’t so bad, was it? Now you’ll sleep better knowing that even if your hosting company went bankrupt overnight and shut down before you even got up from your bed, your files and database are secure and you can start over almost right away, with minimal delay. Yup!

Questions or comments? Leave ’em in the comments below!

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How to set up UpdraftPlus to automatically back up self-hosted WordPress sites | Blog to Biz

How to set up UpdraftPlus to automatically back up self-hosted WordPress sites | Blog to Biz
How to set up UpdraftPlus to automatically back up self-hosted WordPress sites.
How to set up UpdraftPlus to automatically back up self-hosted WordPress sites.
4 thoughts on “How to Automatically Back up Your WordPress Files and Database with UpdraftPlus”
  1. I love how I can search for almost anything blogging related on your site, and I find it! You make my blogging sitch so much easier. Thank you. 🙂

  2. Lisa | IndividualObligation

    Hey Maliha,

    I totally agree that you cannot have too many backups of your website! The time and effort we put into our blogs and websites, is far too valuable to risk losing.

    Especially when it can be set up so quickly and easily using your UpdraftPlus tutorial. Which can be used without having to pay for a premium plugin, since both Dropbox and Google Drive are options.

    I love using UpdraftPlus for my own daily backups. Though I should really consider moving from Dropbox to Google Drive like you have. Since Google Drive offers a lot more gigabytes of space.

    Thanks for sharing such a great post!

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Lisa 🙂
      I do like Google Drive as it offers more space, and I also do not retain more than 2 copies. But I’m starting to feel that as my blog grows, even that will not be enough and eventually I’ll have to start paying extra for storage. But I feel that it’s an investment that’s worth making. Like you said, we put too much effort into our blogs to not take its retention seriously.

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