WordPress doesn’t put out updates very often, but when it does, they’re usually small security patches or new features. Since your whole website is built on WordPress, it makes sense that you should always do a backup before WordPress updates to make sure your site won’t be lost if something goes wrong.
Why You Should Always Update WordPress
Leading research on WordPress security shows that most websites that get hacked do so because their core, plugins, or themes are out of date.
Developers from all over the world keep up with WordPress. These developers regularly find and fix bugs, add new features, and look for security holes. The changes are then put into a new version of WordPress.
If it’s just a minor change WordPress can update itself to the newer version automatically.
You need to update to make sure your website has the latest security patches, the newest features, and the best speed and performance.
Prerequisites before Upgrading WordPress
Before you upgrade WordPress, the most important thing you need to do is make a full backup.
Even if you have a WordPress plugin that automatically backs up your site, you should still make a new manual backup and store it somewhere safe, like your computer or a cloud storage service like Google Drive, Proton Drive or Dropbox.
A full WordPress backup includes your WordPress Database, all uploads, all plugins, themes and of course the Core WordPress Files.
How to backup before a WordPress update
Before really executing the update you should check if you can run a snapshot or backup directly from the hosting environment. If this is not an option, you can install a WordPress backup plugin like Updraft Plus to generate a backup inside WordPress. Once you have created a complete backup you should save this remotely.
Non-technical WordPress users and Beginners who are at least familiar with the backend of WordPress should definitely use a plugin to back up.
Nevertheless if your hosting package and platform allows it and you feel comfortable to use it you definitely should back up your data outside WordPress Dashboard – with your hosting account.
Backing up using your hosting Environment
If an error makes your backend inaccessible, you can’t use a WordPress plugin to restore a backup. You would have to find your backup file by hand, delete your whole website, install a new version of WordPress, and then use the plugin to restore again.
For those reasons we suggest always backing up through your web host environment if they offer this option. When something goes wrong you can much more easily restore your website.
How to backup with hosting
If your hosting dashboard does not offer a customized solution would be the manual way to back up your WordPress Site and all of its files is by using a FTP Client or direct via cPanel.
- You can access cPanel to manage your website with the vast majority of web providers. Some others are offering Plesk or Webmin. You will be able to view your website files using a program similar to File Manager on cPanel or Plesk..
Almost every web hosting company provide at least an FTP Access for their users. You can use FTP to download a full copy of your website’s files. It is a little more time-consuming to do so and you will need an FTP client like FileZilla or Cyberduck to connect but it is no rocket science either.
- Database backups:
If you have cPanel access, click on phpMyAdmin to access your database. You will need your database login credentials. Database credentials are saved within your wp-config file or somewhere dislayed at the Dashboard of your hosting account. If in doubt we always suggest asking their support. With PHPAdmin it is relatively easy to create a Database Backup.
To make a backup of your website with SiteGround, log into your account and click the “Websites” tab in the top menu.
Find the website you want to back up on the website’s page. Next, go to the website you wish to back up and click SITE TOOLS.
In the left sided menu find the Security tab and then click the Backups sub-page.
SiteGround lets you do up to five manual backups at once, but it also backs up your website every day to make sure it is safe. Your Emails and Database are backed up separately.
How to backup WordPress Site with GODaddy
Even though a backup is made every day, there are times when you need to do it manually, like when you’re trying to fix a problem with a plugin or a PHP error or when you want to try a new theme. Here’s how to create a manual backup on your Managed WordPress plan.
- Go to the page for your GoDaddy product.
- Choose Manage All in the Managed WordPress section.
- From the menu, click Overview next to the site you want to back up.
- Choose Backups from the top menu.
- Click on Backup Now under Backup.
You can give your backup a name so it will be easier to find in the future. The default name is “User requested backup.” Write your own name over this, and then click “Save.”
Creating the backup could take a few minutes, depending on how big your WordPress site is.
Other platforms for hosting backup
Most hosting platforms should make it easy to find where to back up your website. Please keep in mind that many hosting companies only include backups with special packages for which you have to pay for.
In the following we have listed tutorials for some of the most common platforms:
Do not rely alone on backups from your web host
- The backups of your site are kept on the same server as your site
Server problems can make your site and its backup go down, leaving you with nothing. Keeping multiple copies of your website on your server also uses up your website’s resources for backups. In these situations, users have to decide whether they want to grow their website or keep backups. No one should choose this option.
- Off-site backups are not available right away
Even if your website is backed up on an external server, you need to contact customer support to get to it. And depending on the company this can take quite a while: We have seen first response times from a couple of minutes up to totally unacceptable 8 hours.
- Malware makes web hosts trigger-happy
If malware is found on your website, the web host will quickly take it down or, in some cases, delete it. Bluehost is especially fast at doing this. Unfortunately, they will also delete your backups, leaving you with nothing you can use to fix or rebuild your website.
How to backup with a WordPress plugin
There are both paid and free plugins that can back up your site. Updraft Plus is the one I like best. It doesn’t spend all day inventing new features to entice you to upgrade to premium. It just works.
To make a backup with Updraft Plus, search for it in the WordPress plugin store and add it to your site.
You will find the Updraft Plus option in the left WordPress menu. Select Backups to get to its backup landing page.
Updraft allows it to save the backup to a remote storage like a cloud storage – you should make use of it.
UpdraftPlus enables you scheduling automatic backups files and you can easily restore your backups directly from your WordPress control panel.
Why should you backup your WordPress website before an update?
There are several reasons why you should back up your WordPress site before you update it:
- Data loss: An update could cause data loss or corruption in rare cases. If you make a copy of your website before you update it, you can put it back the way it was if something goes wrong.
- Problems with compatibility: Updates can sometimes cause problems with themes or plugins, like errors or other problems. If you have a backup, you can put your website back to a time when everything worked well.
- Customizations: If you’ve made changes to your website, like adding custom code or making changes to theme or plugin files, you might lose those changes when you update. By making a backup of your website, you can bring back those changes if you need to.
If something goes wrong while your website is being updated, it could be down for a long time. If you have a backup, you can quickly fix your website and cut down on downtime.
From what I’ve seen, the more complicated your website is, the more likely it is that an update will break it.
WordPress is built entirely on PHP, which means that even the smallest error on your website can cause a snowball effect that can shut your website down completely.
When you have a heavy theme and numerous plugins, it makes things even worse because it becomes very likely that something will go wrong with both WordPress updates and plugin updates.
When updating the core version of WordPress, it’s easy to crash the whole site. Even the best SEO consultants have done this at least once because of incompatibilities.
Before you update WordPress or any major plugins, you should make sure you have a backup of the whole site. I also think you should make a backup before updating more than 4 or 5 plugins at once.
How frequent are WordPress updates?
Every few years, WordPress puts out major updates that add new features and functions. Most of the time, these big updates come with a number of smaller updates, called “point releases,” that fix bugs and security problems.
In addition to the updates made by WordPress itself, there are also updates made by developers of plugins and themes who are not part of WordPress. These updates can come out more often and can add new features, fix bugs, and make the system safer.
If you want to know which WordPress Version have been released so far just check the WordPress version directory.
Enabling automatic updates? Yes or no?!
Sometimes, WordPress will put a notice on the dashboard asking if you want to turn on automatic updates for WordPress.
But should you let it automatically update?
Here is the simple answer: This is a big no-no.
Should you update as soon as an update comes out?
I’d also say “hell no” to this one. It is advisable to wait at least two or three weeks.
This allows people who aren’t careful enough to test for you to see if there are major problems with compatibility or big problems after updating. After about a week or so, you can do a quick Google search to see what problems people are having and if they apply to you. If not, make a copy and update!
As long as it’s not a big plugin like WooCommerce or BuddyPress, you should be able to update plugins right away.
Should you backup before plugin updates too?
If you are planning to do a batch update of four or more plugins, I would make a backup – just in case. It is always better to be safe than sorry. This becomes especially important for major/large plugins like WooCommerce, BuddyPress or any plugin that adds extra functionality to WooCommerce.
When it comes to WordPress Core, you should be afraid of updates. I used to not care about making backups before I updated the WordPress core and its plugins in my early days. Because of this, I’ve messed up a lot of WordPress websites and got rude phone calls from customers.
If something goes wrong, taking the extra 15 minutes to make a backup will save you a lot of time and trouble.
I hope our blog post helped you answering the question How to backup before a WordPress update. People who are smart back up their WordPress websites.
Frequently Asked Questions
Making copies of your site’s files and database is a simple way to back up your WordPress site without using plugins. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Make a copy of all the files on your site:
You can connect to your website with an FTP client like FileZilla or through the file manager in your hosting control panel.
Find your WordPress installation’s root directory. This is the “public html” or “www” folder most of the time.
Choose all the files and folders in the root directory and save them to your local computer. This will make a copy of every file on your site, including the core WordPress files, themes, plugins, and media files.
- Make a copy of the database for your website:
Go to the database management section of your hosting control panel after logging in.
Find the database that your WordPress site uses and choose the “Export” option.
Choose a format for the exported file, such as SQL, and save it to your computer.
Once you have a backup of both the files and the database, you can put them somewhere safe or use them to fix your site if something goes wrong.
It’s important to remember that regularly backing up your site is an important part of keeping your WordPress installation healthy and stable.
WordPress doesn’t have a backup feature built in, but there are several ways to make sure you have a copy of your site’s files and database in case something goes wrong.
Using a plugin is one way to back up your files. There are a lot of WordPress plugins that can automatically back up your site’s files and database. This lets you set up regular backups and keep them in a safe place.
You can also create backups manually by following the steps I mentioned earlier, which include making copies of your site’s files and database and storing them on your local computer or in a cloud storage service.
No matter which method you choose, you should regularly make backups of your WordPress site to make sure you have a copy of your site’s data in case something goes wrong and you need to restore it.
How often you back up your site will depend on what it needs and how often you make changes to it. When deciding how often to make backups, here are a few things to think about:
How often you update your site: If you often add new content, install new plugins, or update plugins and themes you already have, you may want to create backups more often. This way, you’ll have a recent copy of your site that you can use if something goes wrong.
How important your site’s data is: If your site is a key part of your business or organization, you may want to back it up more often to make sure you can fix it quickly if something goes wrong.
Your site’s size: Larger sites with more content, media files, and plugins may take longer to back up, so if your site is big, you may want to make backups less often.
As a general rule, you should back up your site at least once a week, but you may want to do it more often if your site is very important or if you make changes to it often. Before making big changes to your site, like installing new plugins or themes, it’s also a good idea to make a backup so that you can fix it if something goes wrong.
Follow these steps to make a copy of all of your WordPress posts:
Log in to the admin area of your WordPress site and go to the “Tools” menu.
Choose “Export” from the menu. This will bring up the export tool, which lets you save the posts, pages, and media files on your site.
Choose “All content” to export all of your posts, or choose the post types you want to include.
Click “Download Export File” to get a.xml file with the exported content. This file will have all of your posts, as well as any media files and metadata that go with them.
Save the.xml file on your computer or in the cloud so that you can keep it safe.
It’s important to keep in mind that this method will only back up your posts and the media files that go with them. Follow the steps I listed in my previous answer if you want to make a full backup of your WordPress site, including the database and all of its files.
The location of your WordPress backups will depend on how you created the backups and where you stored them.
If you used a WordPress plugin to make the backups, the plugin may store the backups on your server, in a cloud-based storage service (like Google Drive or Dropbox), or on your local computer. Most of the time, you can find out where your backups are in the plugin’s settings or in the plugin’s documentation.
If you made the backups manually by following the steps I listed above, the backups will be kept where you saved them on your computer or in a cloud-based storage service.
It’s important to remember that it’s a good idea to keep your backups in a safe place, like the cloud or an external hard drive, so that they’re protected and easy to get to if you ever need to restore your site.
Installing the UpdraftPlus plugin is the first step if you want to back up a WordPress site for free. To do this, open your WordPress dashboard and choose Plugins > Add Plugins from the menu bar. Then, in the Search Bar, type “UpdraftPlus.” Click Install Now > Activate on the UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin you would like to use.
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