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Lesson 14 – Part 3 – How to Backup your Site Manually

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Multiple, Independent, Redundant Backups

The next thing we’re going to talk about is how to manually backup your site. I advocate a belt and suspenders approach to backing up your site and that means that you have multiple, independent, redundant backups. So you’re backing up everything more than one time in a variety of different ways.

Now if your data doesn’t matter to you, if you can’t be bothered, if it’s no great loss if you lose it all then you don’t have to worry about it. I’ve encountered many people for whom that’s the case. They don’t care if they lose it or not. It’s no big deal. They can just start again.

I’ve also encountered a lot of people who care very much about it but don’t do a single thing and then call me when disaster strikes. I strongly encourage you to take my advice at this point. And to the extent that it matters to you, to that extent, you don’t rely on a single backup system and you take responsibility for making sure that everything that’s important has backed up properly and that you can restore it.

Level 1 of Backups: Backup All Databases and Files

I really propose sort of 3 different levels of backup. Level 1 is sort of the most comprehensive. Back up all database and all files. Just back up your entire database and back up all your files.

Level 2 of Backups: Backup Customization Files and Uploads

The second level is to back up just your customization files and your uploads.

Level 3 of Backups: Backup Theme Settings and Content

And the third level where you backup the least is just to back up your theme settings and your content. But once you backed up any of those things, you’re going to back it up all up in the same place, in a safe place.

How To Manually Backup Your Database

So we’re going to start off then with back up everything and we’re going to do a manual backup of our database. Now remember that we’ve figured out what our database name was. Since we know what it is, once we’ve logged in to php myadmin, we select the database that we’re going to back up which in this case is this t2lesson12.

And all you have to do is come over to export and we’re just going to do a quick export. So you could save it on your server but what I’m going to do is I’m not going to do either of those things. And if I leave both of these things unchecked, it’ll just directly download to my computer.

I’m going to do it in SQL format but you could choose other formats. But because this is a backup, we’re going to download it in an SQL format and then just hit go.

You can see what’s happening here is that I’ve just downloaded the database here. And so what I’m going to do is show it in a folder. I’m going to cut it out of here, go back over to the my business website section under backups and I’m going to create a new folder called backup 2/22/2013. And paste that file here. Okay so I’ve got my SQL file backed up and stored here.

How To Manually Backup Your Files

So that’s the database and all of the database. Now I’m just going to back up all of those files.

Now probably the easiest way to backup all of your files in this case is inside of your host. If you come over and just select all of your files, I’m going to select wp admin and scroll down here, shift select. So I’ve selected them all. When you’ve selected them all, just hit compress up here. I’m going to change this name from wp admin zip to backup backup 2/22/2013.

Compress the files. And what this does is it essentially copies all of these files into a zip file which is this zip file right here. So it didn’t take them and zip them up. It zipped them into a copy so they stay where they are. But now you’ve got this backup copy which you can then simply download to your computer.

And now you have a copy of 100% of your files. And when it’s finished downloading 100% of your database on your local computer so that if you need to recover, you have 100% of everything necessary in order to do that recovery.

Give it just a minute to finish downloading and then I’m going to put it away because it doesn’t do you any good to do this if you don’t know where it’s stored. Another thing I’ve seen often is that people say, “Well yeah, I backed it up but I can’t find it. I don’t know what it was called.” So we’ve deliberately given it a name or taken it out of that location.

Let’s go back over to our documents, my business websites and my backup folder. And inside of this backup, we’re going to paste. And now we’ve got the entire website backed up in a zip file and in an SQL file. Okay so that was a Level 1 backup.

How To Manually Backup Your Customization Files

A Level 2 backup is just to back up your customization files. Now as you will recall from previous lessons, you will set up Filezilla to synchronize the files between your local machine and your website. And so what we do in that case is we’d go to that Filezilla… we’d go to that one which in this case was sbywhthesis2final.

Here I am. I’m at my documents, my business websites, WordPress and then wp content because that’s where all the customization files exist. And what we’re going to do is open up Thesis and download skins. We’ll definitely overwrite everything. And once the skins have been done, we’ll do the same thing with boxes and packages. Okay so then boxes and packages.

Plugin Files

So those are all the customization files that we need to back up from Thesis. Now it could be the case that you have some other things in here too. For example, you might actually have installed the NextGen Gallery plugin. And so if that’s the case, you may download all of those files so that you have copies of all those images on your site.

Image Files

It’s also the case that uploads has the same kind of thing. You’ve got all of your images that you’ve uploaded. And so you may as well download all of those to your local computer as well. Now that’s going to take a little bit of time but at least, what you have is a local copy of all of your images, all of your plugin download files, all of your theme settings, all of your Thesis. All of that is now… is being stored on your local machine.

I’m going to let it do that work in the background and look at the other things that we have to back up as Level 2.

Thesis 2 Skin Data

Now what we also want to do is get our Thesis 2 skin data. Let’s come over here to the Skin Editor and go to the Skin Manager and create a new backup. And we’ll just call this, skin data 2/22/2013. Back that up and then once that’s backed up, it’s going to show up here in our list.

And now, we’re just going to export that and we’ll export absolutely everything which would mean that we could just take a fresh copy of Agility Nude and import the skin data and everything that we customized on it will then be saved.

So with it here, we will show in the folder. We’ll cut that out and then we’ll come back over to our documents and my business websites, backups and that and we’ll paste that file here as well. And then we’ll just make sure that all the rest of our customization files are done. So we’ve got our gallery. We’ve got our uploads. We’ve got Thesis and these pieces now backed up.

How To Manually Backup Your Content

So that’s Level 2 of your backup. Now Level 3 of the backup is to essentially export our WordPress content. And again, we would do that from inside of our website. But from our dashboard, we will go to Tools and Export.

Now what this does is this is just another way of exporting most of your database or at least, exporting the content part of your database. We’re going to choose what to export and we’re just going to export all content.

Download an export file and what it’s going to do is it’s going to create a file and download it directly to your computer that you could use to import into a fresh site if all else failed.

So again, we’re going to show that in the folder. We’ll cut it out in the folder and go back to documents and my business website and backups and paste that there. So we have our XML file here that has all of our content.

And so to the extent that we need to recover that content, if all of our other backup systems fail, we still have our content installed or in one single file, one single XML file that we can import into a fresh site. So we won’t have necessarily have lost our content.

That’s the belt and suspenders approach to manually backing up your site. Level 1 was backing everything up including database and all files. Level 2 was backing up all of our customization files and uploads which is a subset of Level 1, right? Level 3 is backing up our theme settings and our content which is a smaller subset of Level 1 and then storing it all at a place that we can find easily under a name that we understand.

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