How to Schedule Automatic Backups in WordPress

Have you ever thought about what would happen if something went wrong with your WordPress website? Or what if you mistakenly deleted posts that you wanted to keep? Are they lost forever or did you automatically back up your WordPress?

Well, luckily if you have installed a plugin that backs up your WordPress site for you, then you are safe. But what if you haven’t?

Well, you can solve that today by following this step by step guide on how to install UpdraftPlus. This free plugin will automatically back up your WordPress website for you, so that you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Why do you need to back up your website?

When you have a WordPress website it is incredibly important to regularly back up your website. Why? Well, there are a few things that can go wrong that could mean that all of your data is lost. A few examples of things that can go wrong are:

  • hackers messing with your website or blog
  • hosting problems that could mean a loss of all your data
  • or you could make a mistake and mess something up that you don’t know how to fix

And these are just the tip of the iceberg.

To make sure that you are protected from losing all your content and settings, you can luckily automatically back up your WordPress website pretty easily.

Why UpdraftPlus?

There are many backup options and plugins out there. But the best and most commonly used one is UpdraftPlus. Not to mention, it has a great free version that does all you need.

UpdraftPlus is a plugin that makes it possible for you to schedule your automatic backups. And it provides an easy interface to restore your WordPress website when you need to. It stores your backups on a cloud service of your choice such as:

  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • Microsoft OneDrive
  • or on their own cloud UpdraftPlus Vault (for Premium users)

Because the plugin stores your backups on a cloud service, you don’t have to turn on your computer or anything. It will be able to automatically back up your WordPress without you lifting a finger once you’ve installed it.

So how can you start using UpdraftPlus and setting it up in such a way that all of your blog content and settings are protected? Well, here is a step-by-step overview of what you need to do to safeguard your website.

Step 1: Download & Activate the Plugin

The first thing you need to do before you can start using UpdraftPlus to automatically back up your WordPress website is to actually download and install the plugin. You do so as follows:

Add Plugin UpdraftPlus

  1. Go to Plugins in your WordPress dashboard and click on Add New.
  2. Type in “UpdraftPlus” in the search bar.
  3. Find the “UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin” and click on Install.
  4. And Make sure that you click on Activate after you’ve installed it.

Now you’ve installed the UpdraftPlus plugin on your WordPress. However, it is not functional yet, there are a few configurations you have to complete before it will start making automatical backups.

Step 2: Configure UpdraftPlus Back Up Settings

So after the first step of installing the plugin and activating it, you can move on.

In the second step, you will have to make sure that all the settings are the way you want them to be. This includes setting up a backing up schedule.

UpdraftPlus Settings

To do this, you have to go to Settings and select UpdraftPlus, this will lead you to the dashboard of the UpdraftPlus Plugin which looks like this:

It can be that you don’t have the green text (yet), that’s because you haven’t scheduled any backups yet and that’s what the green text is. It shows you when the next backup will be made. So you can ignore that for now.

Your next step is to select the Settings tab and to set your schedule for the plugin so that is can automatically back up your WordPress website.

You need to set a schedule for both the database and the files of your WordPress. The database contains all your posts, pages, and comments, while the files are all the plugins, themes, images and other uploads.

I would say that the database is the most important part to have a regular backup of, because that changes the most. In the settings tab, you have to choose how often you want UpdraftPlus to make a backup and how many backups you want to keep.

For example, the plugin can automatically back up your WordPress content once a week (1.) and you want to keep the last two backups in your storage location (2.). You need to set this up for both your WordPress files and your WordPress database.

Once you’ve chosen how often you want the plugin to make a backup, you can move on to the next step.

Step 3: Choose Storage Location

If you scroll down in the settings tab, you will encounter all the icons of the possible storage locations. The location of your backup is really important. You do not want it to be linked to your hosting or to anything that could disappear if something goes wrong with your website.

UpdraftPlus gives you a lot of options, but I would say that Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive are probably the most commonly used ones. They are all three cloud storage services, which means that it doesn’t take up any storage on your computer, but rather in a cloud somewhere on an external server.

If you don’t have any of the options in the dashboard, then you could use your email address. But I would advise you not to do that, because it doesn’t work with every email provider and it’s more difficult to restore from a sent email than from a cloud.

Instead of using your email address if you don’t have any of the other options, you can just set up a free Dropbox account right here.

When you have decided which storage option you want to use you click on the icon of the service you want.

Here, I will be using Dropbox to show you how to set that up. And don’t worry, you can, later on, change to a different storage option by repeating this step, but with another option.

So click on the Dropbox icon and this screen will pop up:

UpdraftPlus Dropbox authenticate

Here you need to click on the link next to Authenticate with Dropbox. When you do this, a box will pop up and all you have to do is click on Allow. This step is to make sure that Dropbox doesn’t block the backups when they are added to your Dropbox account.

Step 4: Save Changes & You Can Automatically Back Up Your WordPress Website

The last step is to scroll down in the settings tab and click on Save Changes. Do not forget this step, because then your backups will not be scheduled in.

To check and see if you succeeded in setting up your automatic backups, you can just go back to the Backup/Restore tab of the plugin.

UpdraftPlus dashboard

At the top of this tab, you will see underneath “Next scheduled backups” whether or not you succeeded. If there aren’t two dates standing there in green, then you will have to go back to Step 2 and repeat the process. And don’t panic if your dates are both the same, because that just depends on your settings.

Extra: Create A Manual Backup

Now, if you would like to make a manual backup, then you can also use the UpdraftPlus plugin. Your manual backup will be stored in the same place as your scheduled ones. The only difference is that you actually have to do it yourself.

To manually back up your WordPress website. You go to the dashboard of UpdraftPlus and click on the Backup Now button. Don’t worry, it doesn’t happen straight away, there is another step.

manual backup UpdraftPlus

Once you’ve clicked on Backup Now in the plugin’s dashboard, a window will show up that looks like this:

This is where you can decide what you want to back up and whether you want to delete it together with your automatic WordPress backups or not. Once you’ve made your choices, you click on Backup Now and the plugin will start to make the manual backup.

UpdraftPlus Conclusion

So as you can see, it is relatively easy to set up UpdraftPlus to automatically back up your WordPress website or blog. And once you’ve set it all up, you don’t have to think or about it anymore.

I would definitely recommend this plugin to everyone who doesn’t have an automatic back up plugin yet. And even to those who do, but aren’t happy about their current plugin.

Hopefully, this guide was helpful to you, if you have any questions you can leave them in the comments.

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