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How to Upgrade Your WordPress Website – A Best Practices Demonstration – Part 2 – Backup Your Site Automatically

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This is second part of How to Upgrade Your WordPress Website – A Best Practices Demonstration Tutorial Series. In this session, we discuss the most essential step when upgrading your website and this is backing up your site. We discuss what needs to be backed up and the recommended minimum, a triple progressive backup.

Video Transcript

Okay so the next step in this is to backup your site. Now, I have discovered that especially people who are new to WordPress don’t realize that there are 2 sets of things that need to be backed up. You need to backup both your database and your WordPress files. So you have 2 sets of backup. You may have some backup systems that will do both but really, most WordPress backup systems only do one or the other. So if you think you’ve got a nice, bulletproof backup system in place, you want to make sure that your backup system is backing up both the database and your WordPress files.

Okay and so your… so my recommended minimum backup is what I call a triple progressive backup and this is sort of built-in suspenders and more suspenders kind ofb ackin gup. You know, if the website doesn’t really matter to you, if it’s not mission-critical then you can probably be a little bit more lackadaisical about this. But on a site that is your business site that you might have thousands of hours invested in developing and maintaining… and if your customers are absolutely dependent upon that site for them to have access to your services then you need to have a very robust and redundant backup system.

And so this triple progressive backup is first, you have an automatic backup system that automatically backs up your site unattended. It doesn’t require anything of you. It just automatically backs up your site. If you don’t have one of those going now, you need to start that… we should start it today.

So first is an automatic backup system. The 2nd is a manual backup and then the 3rd is a customization file backup. And the way this works is you know, if your automatic backup system fails and you’ve got your manual backup and if your manual backup system fails then at least you have your customized files backed up. And these kinds of things do fail and they have a tendency to fail at the worst possible times. And so I have helped members on a number of occasions when they thought they have everything backed up and then it turned out that that backup failed. In fact, you recently saw… some of you recently watched me do that with another member’s site who had, in fact, backed his site up but he had… but there was an error in the backup. And so when he restored the site, it covered that error into the new site and we had to really go to a lot of effort to fix that. So you want to make sure you’ve got a good backup system.

Now, I actually take this a step further on BYOB Website. I use an automatic backup system called Vault Press and I pay $40 to have Vault Press constantly upgrade or update its backup. And I think there are something like 6700 snapshots or individual backups that it has taken this year of my site. And I can backup to anyone of those points at any part in this process. So this is the automatic backup system that I rely on.

Then I use an event-driven backup systme using Backup Buddy and by event-driven, I mean when I’m going to do something that I think has potential risk then I automatically use Backup Buddy to backup my site. So for example, when I am upgrading one of my critical plugins like WishList Member or Simple Press Forum, if I’m upgrading one of those, I do an event… I do a full site backup. And when I do a WordPress upgrade, I do a full backup. And the reason why I do that is because I can very quickly and easily restore that backup in the event that I have a problem. And so I rely on that really as my first line of defense in the event that I have a problem with making an upgrade. I’ll just restore the backup that I have in backup in Backup Buddy first.

But I also do an event-driven manual backup of my database and again, it’s the same thing when I have… anytime I’m going to use Backup Buddy to backup my site, I also make a manula backup of my database. Because generally speaking, database backup is very fast and database restore is very fast. And so if I want to get my site backed up and working quickly, the first thing I test is… I mean, if I have a problem, the first thing I test is my database by reinstalling its backup. So I do a manual backup of my database.

And then I do a routine manual backup of my full site that is, I actually maintain a local copy of my site. And because I’m editing my site all the time, I mean, pretty much constantly making some kind of edit to the customization files on my site, I have a local copy of my site that runs on my local server. And I have those files synchronized with my remote or my actual website out of my web server. And so I always have a manual copy on my local computer of my site files.

Okay so the very first thing we’re going to do is an automatic backup using Backup Buddy and we’re going to do that on the site that I’m going to backup here. We’re going to backing up the site which is what I use all the time for demonstrating various things. And we’ll scroll down here to Backup Buddy and select backup and restore.

Now the first thing we want to do though is to recognize that Backup Buddy allows you to exclude files from a backup. If your site is inside the root of your hosting account or in the root of your public HTML file or whatever, if it’s in the root of that, Backup Buddy will attempt to backup all of your various subdirectories. Now, if it’s in the subdirectory then it doesn’t really matter. You don’t have to worry about exclusions. But if it’s in the root, you may have to worry about exclusions and typically, when you set up your original site, you set it up you know, in the root of your hosting account which is sort of the normal thing to do. And then if you’ve added additional domains and subdomains to that account then each of those additional WordPress installations have happened in subdirectories. So if you’re in the situation like I am where you have a WordPress installation in the root of your public HTML and then a whole bunch of other WordPress installations in various subdirectories, you want to exclude all those subdirectories.

And if we come down here to settings… let’s see, where are we? Backup Buddy in settings, it will show you which of the various… well, it will show you what subdirectories exist inside of the directory that your WordPress installation is in. And I’m going to exclude that directory and CGI bin. So all I’m doing is backing up my actual WordPress files and not these other two directories inside of that so hit save.

Okay and then come back over to backup and restore and simply hit full backup. Notice it says backup everything which means it’s going to backup all of my files and also backup my database. And it takes a little bit of time you know, it’s a progressive thing and it’ll be a moment before this is actually completed. Okay, there it is. It has now completed and I can download this to my computer there. So while that’s downloading, I have this backed up.

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