This week we’re moving from Blogger backups to WordPress backups. I have two WordPress blogs, though I don’t post very regularly to them. (I really should do something about that, but those pesky clients keep interfering.) I love WordPress. It’s less user-friendly than Blogger, but it also does endless things Blogger doesn’t. The Ur-Guru even trained it to provide dynamic content for his new personal website.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, a clever fellow named Scott Merrill had created a WordPress Database Backup plugin to save people like me from having to cope with PHPMyAdmin. That plugin now comes bundled with WordPress 2.0.whatever. If your web host hasn’t upgraded to WordPress 2.0 yet—shame on them! Seriously, you should download the plugin and install it yourself. (That means you copy the file(s) into the wp-content/plugins directory.)
Once you’re sure you have the WordPress Database Backup plugin installed, login to your blog dashboard, select the “Plugins” tab, and activate the backup plugin. Then click the “Manage” tab. Voila! A “Backup” tab appears on the sub-menu. This shows you just what gets saved in your backup, which is pretty much everything. You can elect to add things like your PodPress download statistics to the backup.
There’s a very funny step-by-step Flash video tutorial showing you how to do this at Tubetorial.
Even better, you can automate your WordPress backups by using another of Scott Merrill’s plugins, WP-Cron. “Cron” is short for “crontab,” a Unix (and now Linux) command for executing programs at set intervals. (The name derives from Greek *chronos*, meaning “time.”) You can get the plugin at Skippy.Net.
If you install the WP-Cron plugin, the Backup management tab will give you the option to back up your database automatically every day and e-mail it to you. I learned about this from Tip Vista and started doing it immediately.
Remember to send the backup file to an account which is not hosted on the same server as the blog! The database for my Authorized Articles blog is only about 150K, so it’s a manageable attachment. If you have a large blog, you’ll want to send the backup to an account that handles large attachments, like Gmail.
For those on the cutting edge, WordPress 2.1 has just been released. (I know because the Ur-Guru just installed it for himself.) It no longer comes bundled with the WordPress Database Backup plugin, though it has a built-in cron function. You can download the newest version of the WP backup plugin from Il Filosofo. (Scott Merrill is no longer developing it, having moved on to bigger and better things.)
I have to admit that it looks like I’d still need to go in to PHPMyAdmin in order to restore my WordPress database if I lost it, but that doesn’t leave me any worse off than I was with WordPress 1.5.
Now, I know I have some TypePad users among my readers, and if one of them would like to write a guest column about backing up TypePad blogs, it would be welcome.
Please feel free to send me suggestions for future articles.