How to Backup your WordPress website (and How to Restore It Correctly)


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Taking periodic backups of your site helps you recover your site from disaster. When something goes wrong, point-and-click WordPress plugins quickly help you restore your site from backup packages.

However, as restoration from a backup package is a technical routine, beginners may break or lose data while they are performing a backup/restoration process if they lack proper knowledge of the process.

Let’s learn how should you back up your WordPress site and, how can you restore a site from backup packages – correctly.

How to backup your WordPress website?

There are two ways to back up your WordPress website.

  1. Manual routine
  2. Automated process with WordPress plugins

Let’s discuss both ways with brief introductions.

Manual process to take WordPress backups

If you aim at taking backups manually, you will need to create backup packages of your site’s database, plugins, themes, uploaded media, and 3rd party files that exist in your site’s directories. Be aware, taking backups manually requires deep knowledge of manual expertise regarding hosting cPanel, site’s directories, and how things work.

WordPress plugins for automated backups

Backup plugins in WordPress provide quick ways to take sites’ backups. By using a plugin like UpDrafts Plus, you can take your site’s backup with a point-and-click user interface. In this case, you can also use the same plugin to restore your site from already taken backup packages.

Note: Taking manual backups is not the subject of this article. Let’s describe how you can take your site’s backups with the UpDrafts Plus plugin in WordPress.

Disclaimer: This write-up features UpDrafts Plus for taking website backup packages. However, we’ve no affiliation or sponsorship with the said plugin.

How to backup your WordPress site with a plugin?

STEP (1) – Install the UpDrafts Plus plugin in WordPress

There are many tools for WordPress backups. However, UpDrafts Plus is tested, trusted, and verified for WordPress backup and restoration.

Head over to the Plugins -> Add New option in the WordPress dashboard. On the next page, you can search for “backup” in the search bar. Proceed and install the first plugin that appears.

Updrafts Plus

Once installed and activated the plugin, you can proceed to the next step.

STEP (2) – Initiate the Backup process

After you’ve installed and activated the UpDraft Plus plugin, you should see its related menu under the Settings menu in the WordPress dashboard.

Head over to the UpDrafts Plus page in the dashboard and click on the Backup Now button as shown in the screenshot below.

Backup Button

Here, you need to wait for a few moments depending on how big your site is. Once completed, you should see a success message appear on the screen.

You’re now clear to proceed to the next step.

STEP (3) – Download backup packages

In this step, you will be downloading backup packages to your computer.

To proceed, click on the buttons one by one, and you should see the download link for each of the packages.

Download Backup Packages

Note: Make sure you’ve downloaded the backup packages, before proceeding to the next step.

Conclusion: Backup your WordPress site

To this line, you have successfully backed up your site with the UpDrafts Plus plugin. Let’s proceed to restore your WordPress site from scratch.

How to restore a WordPress site from backup packages?

Before diving deep into the matter, you need to understand the following key points.

  • The restoration process for manual backups is different from the automated process with a WordPress plugin.
  • Use the “same” plugin for restoring your site from the backup. For example, if you’ve created a backup with UpDrafts Plus, other plugins may seem unable to restore your site from packages.

Let’s proceed to the next step.

Restoring a site from backup packages is as easy as taking a backup with a point-and-click user interface, as you experienced in the above steps.

Before restoring a site, you should have backup packages (ZIP files in most cases) present on your local disk. Next, you will need to install the same plugin you used to create the backup packages.

STEP (1) – Upload the backup packages

In the very first step, you will need to upload the ZIP packages to your site. In this case, as we are dealing with the matter with the UpDraftsPlus Backups plugin, you should see the following option once landed on the Settings -> UpDrafts Backups page in the WordPress dashboard.

Upload Backup Option

Once clicked on the mentioned option, you will need to choose all the backup packages at once and proceed to Upload.

Once the upload process has finished, you should see the following screen.

Backup Restore Option

STEP (2) – Initiate the restoration process

Now, you’re ready to initiate the restoration process.

Check the box on the left side (as shown in the screenshot above) and click on Restore to get started. You should see the next screen with a few options to set. Here, follow the instructions and proceed to the next step.

After you have set and started the process, you should see the following screen on a successful finish.

Backup Successful Message

Now, although you’ve successfully restored your WordPress site with existing backup packages, the job is not finished yet.

Let’s proceed to learn what you should check after the restoration process has finished.

STEP (3) – Check the WordPress dashboard

After you’ve restored your site, checking dashboard options weighs equal importance.

Now, you need to check posts and pages in the dashboard, settings, users, and moderation settings and confirm – everything is working correctly.

Here, pay special attention to the Permalink structure, Users, and other settings like themes, plugins, categories, and tags.

In this step, you need to check your site’s access level at different variations of your domain name. For example, you can do so with a redirect checker. Use this tool to check for redirect errors.

If your site has no errors in redirects, you will see the following success message.

STEP (5) – Check your site is properly accessible with HTTPs

Here, we assume that you have no errors in SSL installation and that your site was previously accessible via HTTPs.

Proceed to Add New Plugin page in the dashboard and search for Better Search Replace. Install the plugin as shown in the screenshot below.

Better Search Replace Plugin

After you have installed and activated the plugin, proceed to the Tools -> Better Search Replace page in the dashboard. You should see the following screen.

Better Search Replace Plugin Home Screen

Here, put in the “http” in the first input field and “https” in the second field. (Without double quotes)

Similarly, select all the tables below and proceed to click on the Run button. After the process has finished, you should see the resultant screen with similar data as shown in the screenshot below.

Better Search Replace Plugin Options

Now, you should repeat the whole process by putting in “http” and “https” in the fields. Finally, uncheck the last checkbox and continue to initiate the process again.

Upon completion, you should see the screen that says the process has finished changing database entries from HTTP to HTTPs.

To this line, you’ve successfully changed HTTP entries in the database to HTTPs. Your site should have no errors regarding accessing resources via HTTPs.

Note: To this line, you have successfully restored your WordPress site from existing backup ZIP files. If for example, you’ve experienced a new error or scenario, let us know in the comments and we’d love to help you sort things out.

Let’s sum this up

Restoring a WordPress site is easy with a proven method that you have tried and tested before.

As discussed above, there are two ways to backup and restore a WordPress site from scratch: Manual and Automated routine with plugins.

Unless you need special details, you shouldn’t bother taking manual backups. As manual routines require technical expertise, chances of successful restoration become slim for beginners.

On the other hand, you’ve plugins that provide point-and-click user interfaces to back up and restore a site in minutes. In this article, we used UpDrafts Plus for the backup and restoration process.

For more information on backup your WordPress website, or hiring support services for WordPress, let us know your thoughts on custom plans and support services.

Written By
Founder of WP Helper.
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