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Lesson 14 – Part 4 – How to Backup your Site Manually

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Now we’ll be talking about how to backup your site manually. I am a belt and suspenders kind of guy and I strongly believe that you should have multiple independent redundant backups.

On BYOB Website, we use VaultPress to do the constant backing up of the site. Let’s just go to VaultPress and see what it has done for us today. VaultPress is the service that I pay $40 a month for and it’s operated by WordPress. It is the system that does a constant backup.

In terms of what it has done today, it backed up something 2 minutes ago, 5 minutes ago, 7, 8 and 11.  At any point in this process, I can pick a snapshot to restore to. This is my automatic backup system for BYOB Website.

However, I use BackupBuddy to do a manual backup immediately before I make a big change. I do a couple of other things to backup and we’re going to look at those here right now.

I’m going to start that with this site right here, Thesis Theme CSS Anatomy. This is a site that has been neglected by me because I’m so busy but it’s a site that I began developing and got a long way into developing. It is a visual guide to CSS for Thesis Theme. It is a site that is badly in need of updating and so I’m going to use it as the demonstration site both for backing up and for upgrading.

Backup Database and Site Files

The very first level of manually backing up is to backup the whole database and backup all your site files, that’s your very first line of defense. We’re going to start that by going to BlueHost, which is where the site is being hosted and we’re going to backup that site.

In order to backup the files, what I’m going to do is come over to the file manager and go to the folder that holds the site. This site is being held in this folder, thesiscss-bothframeworks. What I want to do is just select that and compress it. What that does is it unzips that folder and all of its contents.

Zipping Files for Backup

If we come and take a look at it here, here’s are the full contents of that website. My wp-content includes wp-admin, all of the WordPress files, everything is contained here. I want to go back a level, select that folder and compress it. We’re going to zip it up and this is what it’s going to be called and where we’re going to go.

What it’s going to do is to copy that folder and place a copy of that folder in the zip archive. When it’s finished, we’ll have a zipped file with all that content in it. There it is, all of the files it zipped into that zip archive.

We can scroll down here and see that it’s still thesiscss-bothframeworks, that directory exists. Here is our file that we’ve just zipped up so I’m going to select that and download it to my computer. Now it’s going to go through this process of downloading this 16.8mb file. While it’s doing that, every single site file I have has been backed up here.

Backup Database

What I need to do is backup my database. While that’s downloading, I’m going to come back over here to the control panel, go down to phpMyAdmin and go to my database.

I have gone to the root directory of this website right? Now, I’m going to scroll down to the wp-config file and view it. I just hit edit in the code editor but I’m not actually going to edit it. So, byobwebs_wrd10 is the database that needed backup. Selecting “wrd10” in phpMyAdmin and I’m going to export the whole thing as an SQL and just hit Go.

What has happened is it has downloaded that SQL file and I now have a full copy of my database and files and I’ve done that manually just by using these two tools. This is actually very quick and it’s very easy to do using rudimentary tools so there’s no reason to not do this. We’ve done our first level backup.

Backup Customization Files Using FileZilla and FTP Client

Now for our second level backup, we are going to backup our customization files by using FileZilla or your FTP Client. I’ve opened up my FTP Client and I’m going to come over to that site, thesiscss.com and connect that. My Customization Files are all kept within wp-content so double click on wp-content and themes.

What I’m going to do is take this thesis_18 directory and download it over the top of this thesis_18 directory. Those are all of my customization files and that will make sure that I have a local copy of every single customization file that I have. It’ll take just a moment to do that. I know somebody’s going to say, “I know it’s important and you need to get this done but I don’t quite have time to do it”.

You have absolutely no idea how much time it takes to fix a problem if you haven’t done this. Don’t ever tell yourself, “I’m not going to worry about it right now or I don’t need to do that” because the moment you do that, you open yourself up to having a serious problem. I know this almost sounds like a scared straight video but it is critical to make sure that you’ve got yourself backed up.

It’s critical to have more than one line of defense because in fact, I have had VaultPress fail and I’ve had used my BackupBuddy backup. On other people’s sites when other people have had problems, I’ve found that their first backup system didn’t work and we had ended up restoring from a second area backup. Something that they thought was a redundant thing but it ended up having to be what we needed to do in order to solve the problem.

Anyway, we now know that our thesis_18 files, in this folder with the Thesis Theme and all of its customization, have now been backed up from the website. That’s level two of our backup. The first level was backing up everything, the second level is just to backup our customization files and the third level is to backup our easily imported settings.

Backup of Easily Imported Settings

From the dashboard here on the site, the first thing we’re going to do is download the Thesis Options because if we have to install Thesis from scratch, it’ll be very nice to have all of our options in place. What we’re going to do is Download All Options. If we have a problem with Thesis, all we have to do is upload these options and it will restore this Thesis installation to the options that we’ve set here.

Export WordPress

The next thing we’re going to do is export WordPress using tools and export. We’re going to choose “Export All Content”, so it’s all posts, pages, comments, custom fields, terms, menus, posts, everything.

Theoretically, what we could do with a brand new clean installation of WordPress is import this export file and we’d have all of our posts, pages, categories, tags and menus back. This tool is designed to allow you to move it to a different platform but I believe that you should do this as a way of backing your site up against everything else failing.

Location of Downloaded Backup Files

We’re going to download that export file. We have the files here and the thing to do is to make sure you put them all in a safe place. We’ve downloaded them but they’re right now sitting in the downloads folder. Nothing is more irritating than needing these files and not being able to find them.

What we’re going to do is come over to websites, byobwebsite and tutorial sites, just where Thesis CSS resides. I should have a backup folder here but I don’t so I’m going to create a new folder called “Backups”.

This whole backup system is as of today so I’m going to say March 15, 2012. I’m going to come back over here to “Show in Folder”. and cut it out of there. I’m going to change this to “Sort by Dates” so I could get them all at the same time. We’ve got our Thesis, our export, we have our options, we have our MySQL and we have the zipped folder. What we’re going to do is place those in a safe place.

Now we have all of our backups of these thing in the same spot. That’s backing up manually, that’s what you do when I say backup manually.

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