Back Up Your Blog or Risk Losing It All

7 Essential WordPress Hacks — #7 Database Backup

There’s nothing worse than working on a document or project for a couple of hours, only to have something unexpected happen that causes you to lose the changes you just made. You lose time, productivity, and motivation.

As bad as that is, though, can you imagine if you lost your entire blog?

Talk about your horror story.

The bottom line here is that you absolutely cannot let this happen. Fortunately, WordPress now comes equipped with a very simple, very useful tool that you can use to back up your blog on a regular basis.

Take control of your content and get some peace of mind in the process by learning how to use the WordPress Database Backup Plugin.

Flash video — 5:17 run time

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Helpful links from this episode:

  • Start your professional blog today with the 1-click WordPress installation from Colorteck.
  • Got an FTP client? Try CoffeeCup for Windows (seen in this video) or Transmit for you Mac users out there.
  • Check out our other Essential WordPress Hacks.

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  1. Great tute. My question has always been though, how does one restore the backed up file once something does go awry? Nobody ever seems to cover that?

  2. From what I’ve read, it isn’t too safe to leave your file permissions for a folder at 777. After doing the backup, I’d recommend changing it back to 755 right away.

    I don’t know much about file permissions yet, though. What do you think? Is it safe? What are the risks?

  3. Masey — In order to restore your backup file, you’ll need a version of phpMyAdmin that is capable of handling database imports.

    Based on my own experience, phpMyAdmin on shared servers will typically accommodate imports of up to 2.5 MB (give or take, depending on the host), and that may or may not be large enough to handle your entire blog.

    That said, every virtual dedicated hosting plan that I’ve ever come across allows for phpMyAdmin database imports upwards of 50 MB.

    LearningNerd — While I was preparing information for this video, I was astonished to find out that so many people—including the plugin’s creator—were okay with the fact that a chmod 777 was necessary for this thing to work.

    The primary risks here hinge upon you actually having executable files within the affected directories. Your themes folder, for instance, won’t allow for direct file access, and as far as I know, the same holds true for the plugins folder.

    Of course, I’m sure there are folks out there who have executable files in their wp-content directories, and I think perhaps they might want to open and close access every time they back up their database.

    Kind of a pain, but how much is peace of mind worth?

  4. ThemeBrother,

    Is that a version of word you have open at the start of this tubetorial ? If so, what version ?

    And, do you use Word to write your blog posts ?

    If not, what editor dost thou useth and would you consider a tutorial on that on one of your blogs ?

    Your layouts, subheads and etc always look so good it makes me jealous.

  5. Mike,

    You observant dawg, you! That’s the brand-spanking-new Office 2007, and although I’m primarily a Mac user, I gotta tell ya—it’s sweeeeeeeeet.

    And no, I don’t use Word to write my blog posts. In fact, I really only included that in the video to have a little fun and see if anyone would notice!

    Believe it or not, I use the basic text editor (not the WYSIWYG one) that comes with WordPress.

    The secret (if you can call it that) to my special styles lies in the XHTML that I employ while constructing the post. Oh, and the CSS plays with the XHTML to produce the results of which you speak.

    I talk about this very topic over at the Cutline support site, and I actually intend to do a much more detailed post at Pearsonified one of these days.

    So I guess what I’m really saying here is this: you can look as good as I do if you just go grab a copy of Cutline!

  6. Taking this one step further, I’ve installed wp-cron on my WordPress sites. This allows you to do a backup at a particular time every day.

    I’ve then configured the backups to be emailed to a Gmail account (lots of space there!), giving me a long history of daily backups of all my blogs. Every couple of weeks I log into that Gmail account and download the latest backup of each blog to my computer.

    So now I have my blog database, a backup on Google’s servers, and a separate copy of the backup on my own PC. And it’s all automatic!

  7. Wll now, aside from running out to get my new Word 2007 Christmas gift for myself, I guess I’ll have to gift myself with a little bit o’ Cutline.

    Thanks and go ahead and do that post about your stylin’ and profilin’ whenever you get the itchin’.

  8. Nice link there “AndyToo”. I’m going to give that a go for the moment… see what the service is like while it’s still FREE.

  9. This is very useful, but please note that this plugin does NOT backup any files that you have uploaded, and it does NOT backup your configuration and plugin files. In short, it does not backup your entire blog (as the name indicates). If anything happens and all you have is the database backup, you’re still going to be crying…

    Here’s the script I use to properly backup my installation.


    # archive all the files in my blog
    tar cvf myBlog.tar /usr/local/apache/htdocs/myBlog/
    gzip myBlog.tar

    # archive the database
    mysqldump –user=db_user –password=db_password db_name > wordpress.sql
    gzip wordpress.sql

    # wrap everything up in one file
    tar cvf myBlog_full.tar *

    # clean up
    rm myBlog.tar.gz
    rm wordpress.sql.gz
    rm wordpress_mantis.sql.gz

    Hope this helps,


  10. Ralph,

    You use the import function within phpMyAdmin. Every Web host worth its weight in bandwidth provides you with phpMyAdmin to control your database(s), and you ought to be able to import a database that is 2.5MB or smaller (larger sizes are allowed by some Web hosts; it just depends).

  11. You forgot to mention that almost every host company today backups your blog every week. My host provider backups my blog every Sunday.

  12. Oh for… why do things never work the way they’re supposed to for me?

    I’m on the lastest version of WP, and I have the plugin ACTIVATED. It does NOT give the warning messages that you see in the video. Yay me. (I even deactivated and reacativated it to be sure). So I go into manage, check it to download to my computer, click “Backup,” and I get the error: “The backup file could not be saved. Please check the permissions for writing to your backup directory and try again.”

    I checked. It was 755, so I changed it to 777. Same problem. It won’t let me email the backup either.

    So what am I missing???

  13. For those that may have WordPress 2.1 and are wondering where the backup plugin is, it is no longer included in the default WordPress installation.

    You can get the new version of the plugin here:

    The latest version of the plugin is designed specifically to take advantage of new features in WordPress 2.1 by enabling scheduled backups.

  14. Also, I found that if you 777 wp-content temporarily, you can then put it back to 755 afterwards as long as you make sure that the backup directory within it that was created remains 777. As you shouldn’t have any files in there, I’d think that this at least minimizes the security concerns a bit.

  15. I have only been on wordpress a few weeks. After the first week the system did some kind of hiccup and I lost all of my links but two. Now that they are restored I would like to back up my blog to prevent such a nightmare again. Problem is I understand that I cannot use plug-ins with my blog. For those of us that can’t how do we back up or WordPress blogs please.

    Thank you

  16. I sometimes forget to save files after hours of hard work. Then the computer hang suddently. I have force to re-boot the computer. All works are lost.

    This is hard to imagine that the whole blog is lost!!

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