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.