WordPress: Backup before going Forward (Part 2)


This is part two of our series, WordPress: Backup before going Forward. If you need reasons why backing up your site is a good thing, see the previous article.

There are other ways to back up your site. They are a hair more technical but nothing you can’t handle if you have these options.

First your provider hopefully offers phpMyAdmin which is a web based graphical interface to allow you to manage your MySQL databases. Check your cPanel for Databases. Then look for phpMyAdmin. This is the management interface for your MySQL databases on your hosting provider’s server.



Here is what the phpMyAdmin screen looks like after you select it.


Select Export. This will export all databases to a SQL file. SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It is a language used by most database platforms. The SQL file it creates is a backup of your database and you can use it to recreate your databases in the event you need to restore them.

Press Go to export your database.


A Save As dialog pops up. Save this in a good place and be sure to rename the file to the current date so you can remember when you did this backup. This only backups up your database. I usually save my backups to a cloud drive such as Dropbox or Google Drive.


Now that you have backed up the Database, now is a good time to backup your website.

In order to backup your site securely you will need sftp access to your site. Also I recommend downloading a program such as Filezilla which is a user friendly app to ftp and sftp files from the Internet. In this case we are going to connect to our site and download all things lock stock and barrel.

Assuming you have cPanel access, go to FTP Accounts and create an account.

cPanel X - FTP Accounts

When you create the account, you want the strongest password possible so if you are unable to come up with a complex password, use the “Password Generator”. Use a program such as Keepass or services such as LastPass to keep up with your passwords.

cpanel ftp password generator


FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. SFTP stands for Secure FTP. You will always want to use SFTP instead of FTP for security reasons. FTP sends information over the Internet (including your login name and password) in plain text which means anyone monitoring your connections would see it. SFTP is encrypted which means it will be almost impossible for them to see your login information.

For your host: type in your website name (minus the http:// part), your Username is the username you just created as an FTP user. Your password is the very strong password you just created and hopefully stored somewhere safe. The port is 22. “22” is the port number for SFTP. By putting this as the port number you make sure you are using SFTP instead of FTP, which uses port “21”. The hit Quickconnect. If we got our login info correct, you should be logged into your site.

Filezilla Connect


Once connected, on the Left side, find a folder you would like to download your site to. I created a folder on my Google Drive called Backup to copy the public_html from my site to. This way I have a backup not only to my hard drive but eventually after it syncs to my Google Drive in the cloud. Drag the “public_html” (on the right side – your site) to the Backup folder on the left side (your hard drive).

FileZilla Backup


Depending on how big your site is and how fast your Internet is, this can take a while. Notice in the image it says 11 minutes 26 seconds left.

Backup can take a long time


This is enough for you to restore the WordPress portion of your site if it were to crash. Also between this and the SQL file generated by backing up via phpMyAdmin, you can recreate your WordPress site on your test server or another host (Assuming they have phpMyAdmin and allow you ftp access).

Christian | Father | Tech Evangelist | Author | Public Speaker | Future TEDx speaker |WordPress Aficionado * I am the author of "WordPress: Setup to Website". I love all things tech and gadgets and I probably have an opinion about it which some people seek out. Follow @aroyrichardson