Before you make any changes to your website, especially when changing themes or updating plugins, you need to make sure you back up the current version.

Why it’s important to back up your site

We’ve all been there. We edit a Word document to perfection, or make beautiful changes to an image in Photoshop. Then we go to save our work and … some glitch happens and we lose everything.

Don’t let this happen to changes you make on your website! You could update a plugin that doesn’t work with your version of WordPress, or install a theme that really doesn’t end up looking anything like you thought it would, and if you don’t have a backed up version of your site to fall back on you could end up having to rebuild your site from scratch.

And nobody wants that.

(Because you didn’t try your changes on a staging server first … but we’ll deal with that in another post!)

If you just remember one thing, remember this. Backups are critical.

How do you back up your site?

There are many plugins you can use to achieve this automatically. Some are free, some are paid. All come with varying levels of automation and frequency.

I recommend:

  • Back up automatically, and on a schedule.
  • Back up the whole site, not just the database. 
  • The back up should be simple to restore, should you need to.
  • The backup should be stored offsite, in cloud storage.

One plugin that offers all this is Backup Buddy (not an affiliate link!), starting at $80/year. Or consider UpdraftPlus, a free plugin, with a premium version available. Store your backups in Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, or your Amazon S3 account. A search of the WordPress plugin repository will give you many more choices to compare.

Don’t forget the manual back up!

Not all backups should be automatic. 

If you are going to make changes on your site, you need to make a manual backup just in case something goes wrong!

The Done-For-You version

The CouldUJust WordPress Maintenance Plan ensures your site is backed up every day, as well as before plugin and theme updates (which are also done for you!)

You can find more details here.