What You Need To Know To Backup WordPress

There are two pieces to a WordPress site: the database component and the file component. Often people will neglect one of them when backing up their WordPress site. Many backup plugins are written to backup a certain component, but there are plugins that cover both bases. You definitely need to backup both your database and file system; without both, your backups will be useless to you in most scenarios.

To make sure that your backups are current, I suggest you install a plugin. Having a backup plugin will make sure that you perform your backups on a regular, automatic basis instead of relying on yourself to remember to do manual backups. There are a few plugins that do this really well.

Learn more about the good news of installing WordPress on Cloud Sites with just one click through the Rackspace control panel.

BackWPup is a free backup plugin that will backup both your files and database content, or you could opt for the premium plugin called Backup Buddy to backup both components. Both Backup Buddy and BackWPup can send your backups off to Rackspace Cloud Files for storage in case you need to retrieve them in the future. Another plugin that has become very popular is called VaultPress, which is run by Automattic, the same guys who run WordPress.com.

If your site is compromised or your server fails, it is important to have a backup. By installing a backup plugin, you can have peace of mind that you have a record of your site that you can restore from.

Previously, Matt talked about how you can integrate a Content Delivery Network (CDN) with your WordPress site and you can check out his next post where he explains the importance of updating your WordPress site. Learn more about how Rackspace can help you with hosting your WordPress site.


  1. Keep in mind that the WXR export format is an “extended” RSS (XML Format) text file that represents the data in the WordPress Database. It only works with blogs that have a relatively small number of total rows in the database. If the backup tool you are using relies on WXR, then it will break when you eventually accumulate hundreds of thousands of posts, comments, users, etc.

    This is because of the way the XML parser does not treat the input or output data as IO streams, but rather handles them as in-memory data structures. If PHP is limited to use less than the amount of memory needed to represent the data to be backed up, then you will be unable to use WXR. What’s worse is that you may believe that your backups are working, when in fact they are not. The backup process silently crashes. That’s invisible when you are relying on automated backups.

    I have not looked at the plug-ins mentioned in this article, but the Import/Export functions for WordPress certainly do rely on WXR, and simply don’t work at all if you have a lot of data in the database. You have to resort to using something like mysqldump to back up the whole database rather than trying to serialize it into the WXR file.

  2. I’ve used BackWPUp and I can’t recommend it, as getting support from the plugin author seems very difficult.

    Another Rackspace blog post (http://www.rackspace.com/blog/wordpress-hosting-on-rackspace-cloud-sites/) recommends the Automatic WordPress Backup plugin, and says Rackspace sponsors its development, but this only backs up to S3.

    Updraft seems ok, but it looks like you always get email notifications, but I only want them on failures. UpdraftPlus doesn’t do Rackspace Cloud Files.

    As is usually the case with WordPress plugins, there’s 300 of them and most are low quality. I guess shelling out the cash for VaultPress is where it’s at.


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