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Lesson 14 – Part 2 – How to Backup Your Site Manually

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How to Manually Backup Your Site

The next thing we’re going to talk about is how to manually backup your site. I essentially have 3 levels of manual backup. Level 1 is to manually backup all of your database and all of your files. Level 2 is to manually backup just your customization files and uploads. Level 3 is to backup your Theme settings and your content. Once you’ve done that manual backup, you store it all in a safe place. This is what a manual backup looks like.

Manual Backup of Database

Now, the first part of that is doing a manual backup of your database. If you are anything like me, you have more than one WordPress installation and even if you only have one WordPress installation, you may have more than one database because you tried it once and deleted it, you started again. There are a lot of different reasons for why you’ve got multiple copies of databases and you want to make sure you know which database you want to backup.

The best way to know that is to look in your wp-config.php file because it will tell you your database name then when you go to phpMyAdmin, you’ll be able to know which database you’re going to backup. Manual backup of your database is simply an export of your database. As soon as you export your database, it’ll all be downloaded directly to your computer. Let’s go take a look at that.

I’m going to log in to my Bluehost account here and I’m going to login to I’m going to backup this site which is If I go down to phpMyAdmin down under databases, you can see I’ve got all of these different databases and I’m not exactly sure which one I want to backup. The way I do that is come back over to Control Panel and go the to the File Manager then go to the place where WordPress is installed.

In this case, it’s being installed under sbywh-final-agency, that’s the subdomain and that’s the folder that it’s in. Once I’m in the root of that WordPress installation, I want to scroll down here to wp-config then right click on that and say, Code Edit. You could also select the code editor up here. Go ahead and say, Edit and this is the text of my wp-config file. You can see that right here under define DB_NAME, it’s byobgene_wrd3. This is the database name that I’m looking for to backup.

I’m just going to close that now, come back over here and so wrd3 is the database. If we open up that database then come over here to export, all you have to do is say, Go. What’s happened here is, it is automatically downloaded a copy of the database down to my computer.

Now, if it’s a big database, you could always choose to use the custom display then you could choose to zip it up and things like that. There’s a bunch of other things you can do in custom but the quick display is really good enough. You just hit export and it downloads the database directly to your computer. That’s the first part of it, is downloading your database.

Manual Backup of Files

The second part is making a backup of your files. Now, again while you’re here in your hosting account, really the easiest way to create a backup of all of your files is just to select them and zip them up into a one zip folder. That is quite simple to do from Bluehost as well as most of other hosts that I’m familiar with. We go back over here to our File Manager and what we can do really is just go up one level and select our directory. Again, right click on it and say, Compress.

Download the Zip Files

What this is going to do is put a copy of the zip file in the root of this website. That’s all I’m going to do. It’s going to create a copy of it and zip it up so the original is still going to be there in its unzip form so you’ve essentially just copied and zipped up all of your website files. There’s a lot of files so it takes a little while to do this so you just have to be patient while it is zipping those up. Then it comes down here and at the very bottom, you can see it is entirely done and you can hit close. There it is right there,

You can also at this point, right click on this and say, Download and it will download directly to your computer. Now, once that download is completed, you’ll have an entire copy of all of your website files and a copy of your database sitting on your computer. When that is completed, we’re going to move those to where it belong but right now, we’ll just leave it like that while it’s downloading. That’s level 1.

Download Customization Files and Uploads

Level 2 of this is to download your customization files and uploads. Probably the easiest way to do that is to use FileZilla. Now, if you have been following along from the beginning with how to setup FileZilla and how to setup a local copy of your site on your local computer, if you started there then this is going to look familiar to you.

If this doesn’t look familiar, I strongly encourage you to go over and look at Lesson 4 of the Start Building Your Website Here series which is the beginning of this whole series. Go look at Lesson 4 and look at how you set up FTP and your local file system because this is a critical element in both backing your site up and recovering from problems so this is something you really need to understand.

We have configured this so that it has synchronized browsing. You can see I’ve got My Business Website then I’ve got this folder called WordPress and inside of that, I’ve got wp-content. When I open up wp-content here, it also opens up over there. What I’m going to do first is to open up themes and I’m going to come over here to Genesis and Agency, these are also the two themes that I need to backup and I’m going to download that.

Create a Copy in a Backup Folder

When that’s completed, I’m going to download another folder directly to our computer. In fact I can probably just go to that now, to wp-content and I want to come down here to uploads and to gallery. Uploads is where all of your content of your media library is stored and gallery is the folder that is created by NextGen gallery so all of those images are stored there. This is what I mean by customization files so we’re just going to take that and download copies of that directly to the computer as well.

That’s going to take a little while here to do that so while that’s happening. Both of those things were downloaded so now I’m going to say, Show in Folder and I want to cut that and move it over to My Documents, My Business Website, Backups and I’m going to paste that here.

In fact, I’m going to create a new folder here for this and I’m just going to give it the name, backup 8-12-2012. That’s what this is, drag into there. I’m going to come back over here to this and say, Show in Folder and I’m going to grab this as well, cut it out of my downloads, come back over to my backup and paste it there.

Now, I have a complete copy of my site in a backup folder here and if I need to get to that copy, it’s here. Just in case you’re wondering, as soon as you download these things, you should put it into a folder under your backups or you can find it automatically and easily. I have spent a bunch of time with members who downloaded it but didn’t know where it went and didn’t know which one was the right one.

We would scour through their files trying to find their backup and they would have several versions of a backup and they couldn’t tell which version was which and it was very difficult to labor through that. Every time you do that, somebody would say, “Well, yeah I know. I know I was supposed to save this someplace”, but please, the essential part of doing this is knowing exactly where your backups are. Please, when you download it, put it in a safe place where you know where it is so that you can recover it quickly.

Backup the Theme Settings

Let’s come back over to Filezilla, we’ve done all of that so now we have our customization files. Level 3 is we’re going to backup our Theme settings in our content, that’s the final piece of this. That we’re going to do from our actual site so here we are in sbywh-final-agency, I’m going to come back to the dashboard, come over here to Genesis and to Import/ Export. I’m going to say Theme Settings and SEO Settings and download the Export file. Now we have our Theme Settings and finally, I want to get the content.

The content comes from tools and export. I want to download all content, not just posts and pages so click on Download Export File. What’s going to happen now is it’s going to give us an entire file of all of our post and page content. All of our categories, all of our tags, our menus, all of those things, that’s all being downloaded here. We’ll just show this in the folder, we’ll cut it out, we’ll go back over to our backups and we’ll paste. Come back over here and grab our content, show it in the folder, cut it out and paste it.

Now we have completed the manual backup process. We have our Level 1 backup which is downloading our database and downloading our zip file of all our files. We have second process of downloading our customization files to our file structure and we have our third process of downloading our settings and our content. We are entirely prepared to recover from an error now.

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