As I said a few months ago when I moved the Backup Blog from Blogger to WordPress, one of the things I like about WordPress is the ease with which you can back up your blog posts. For some years now, I’ve been using a plugin called WP-DB-Backup to back up my WordPress databases into compressed XML files and e-mail them to me. I then download the backup files to my hard drive, where they get backed up to several different places. For this blog, which has 378 posts at the time I write this, the entire database takes up less than 1 MB. I’m pretty sure that if those were all separate HTML pages, they’d be taking up a lot more space.
WP-DB-Backup labels each new backup file with the date, making it easy to keep several copies in the same directory if you have any reason to think you might want to go back to a previous version. (I can’t really think of one, myself, yet I do tend to let those copies pile up for a while before purging them.)
If you’re a blogging maniac, you can get hourly backups made. Weekly is often enough for me, though. I know that I publish something at least once a week, and more often now with the “Postalicious” plugin importing my backup bookmarks every couple of days.
There’s more to a WordPress site than just the database, however. Other elements include themes (the design), plugins (tools for added functionality, like SEO, video, or podcasting), and uploads (files you insert into your posts through WordPress’ upload function). While it’s possible to re-install plugins pretty easily from the WordPress dashboard (as long as you remember which ones they are), it can still be time-consuming. And you’d better remember which of thousands of free themes you’re using if you want to get that back. If you’re using a theme you paid for, you might have it stored on your hard drive already. (This is the case with the theme I created for the FileSlinger site.) But those uploads…Even if you have all the files you’ve uploaded somewhere else, putting them back into your posts would be a real pain.
Enter a second plugin to handle backing up these three folders: WordPress Backup by Blog Traffic Exchange. This plugin backs up your Themes, Plugins, and Uploads folders and e-mails them to you on a schedule of your choosing.
In case you’re wondering, the plugin finds the plugin, theme, and upload directories automatically, and creates one of its own for backups in the “wp-content” folder, so you don’t have to do much configuring. The .zip files that WordPress Backup sends can get pretty large—my “plugins” folder for this site is 5.5 MB—so you might want to download the backups manually rather than having them e-mailed to you. I’m not storing multiple copies of these: I overwrite the previous ones with the new ones.
I used to upload my images manually to an Images directory, but now that I’ve got WordPress Backup running, it’s encouraging me to use WP’s “uploads” function. Besides, being able to upload the images automatically makes creating a post faster and easier.
If you have a WordPress blog or website, there’s no excuse not to back it up. (And if you don’t—what are you waiting for?)