How To Backup A WordPress Site Without A Plugin

How To Backup A WordPress Site Without A Plugin

You know that having the option to backup files on your WordPress website is incredibly important. By regularly backing up your WordPress site you have a fail-safe in place in case your site is hacked, or you need to restore your site to a previous version.

Without a backup system in place, you run the risk of losing all of your hard work.

Still, you might not want to use a plugin to backup your WordPress site. If you prefer to create manual backups, you can be sure it’s backing up the right way.

Below you’ll learn the pros and cons of using a WordPress backup plugin for your WordPress site. Then we’ll show you how to backup your WordPress site without a plugin.

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The Disadvantages of Using a WordPress Backup Plugin

There are tons of WordPress backup plugins out there. These plugins are generally pretty simple to use and can be quickly configured to run automated website backups for the entire site.

For most WordPress site owners using one of these backup plugins will be more than enough.

Still, there are some reasons you might want to stay away from a WordPress backup plugin and instead pursue an alternative approach.


1. You Want to Minimize Plugin Use

With multiple thousands of plugins available, it can be tempting to install as many plugins as possible. Even though some are incredibly useful, it’s important to take a minimalist approach to utilize WordPress plugins.

The more plugins you have on your site the slower your site will perform, and you have an increased chance of a plugin conflict taking down your site, or a compromised plugin creating a security hole in your site.


2. You Want a Customized Backup Approach

Although WordPress backup plugins can be useful, they tend to have a basic file backup approach. This is especially true for free backup plugins. This isn’t always a bad thing if you have a very simple website, but as your site grows more complex you might want more control over what aspects of your site you’ll back up.


3. You Want to Enhance Site Security

A lot of WordPress users are rightly concerned with the security of their WordPress site. In an effort to minimize the number of third-party plugins and programs that have access to your data, you might choose to conduct backups yourself.

That way you’re solely responsible for your website’s data and the secure storage of your backups. Since WordPress plugins have been prone to hacking, by controlling your own backups you improve your levels of security.

If you want to avoid using a WordPress backup plugin, keep reading to learn how to backup a WordPress site.


How to Backup Your WordPress Site Without a Plugin

As we reviewed above, even though using a WordPress backup plugin might be easier, it still might not be the best choice for every kind of site owner.

Below you’ll learn how you can backup your site without the help of a WordPress plugin.


1. Do a Manual Backup

A manual backup might sound difficult to do. However, you can create your own manual backups from directly within your hosting control panel. The steps below are for HostGator customers.

To do this navigate to your cPanel, and find the tool called ‘Backup Wizard’.

how to perform manual backups in cpanel for wordpress siteRun the tool and you’ll have an entire backup of your site. You can also use this tool to restore your site to a previous version as well.

If you don’t want to use the built-in backup wizard and prefer to find and download your site’s files yourself, then follow the steps below:

  1. Open file manager. Locate the tool called ‘File Manager’ within cPanel.cpanel file manager
  2. Find your site’s directory and download your backup. Locate your WordPress site’s files. They should be under a directory called ‘public_html’. Once you’ve found your site click ‘Select All’. Then select ‘Compress’. You can also chose the type of backup you’ll save, and where you want to save your backup.
  3. Download your WordPress database. You’re not quite done yet! Now, you’ll need to download your WordPress database as well. To do this locate ‘phpMyAdmin’ within your cPanel dashboard. phpmyadminWith this tool open, select ‘Databases’ from the navigation bar. Then locate the database that’s associated with your WordPress installation. Open up that database and click the ‘Export’ tab on the top window. Save this file in the same location as your other backups.

Keep in mind that beyond storing backups on your local computer, you may want to upload your backups to a cloud storage tool like Dropbox too. That way if one of your backups is compromised you know you’ll be covered.

Make sure you regularly complete these backups as well. After all, there’s no point restoring from a previous backup if it’s a few years old.


2. Backup Your Site via FTP

The second approach to backing up your site is using FTP. This is probably the least frequently used approach, as it’s more technical. But, some users prefer working via an FTP connection. If that sounds like you, then follow the steps below:

  1. Open up FileZilla
  2. Connect to your site
  3. Locate your site’s files
  4. Download and save

When you open up FileZilla you may need to show hidden files. There are certain WordPress files that are hidden by default that you’ll need to include in your backup.

To do this navigate to Server>Force showing hidden files.

Once you’ve downloaded and safely stored your backup you’ll also need to download your WordPress database.

To do this you’ll need to login to your cPanel and follow the steps for phpMyAdmin above.


What’s the Best Approach for Your WordPress Site?

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the different approaches you can take to backup your WordPress site. If the entire backup process is too much for you, then consider using WordPress managed hosting. This style of hosting will fully manage, backup, optimize, and secure your WordPress site.

Keep in mind the method you use isn’t as important as having a regular backup schedule. If a problem occurs with your site you want to be equipped to restore your site to a previous version.