Here’s how to do a WordPress backup for free

It’s a good idea to have regular backups of your site. You should also do a backup before any major site updates. Here’s how to perform a WordPress backup – scheduled or on-demand – for free.

How to do a WordPress backup

What’s involved in a WordPress backup

WordPress has two components – the website files and also a database. The theme, plugins, etc are stored as actual files on the web hosting server, but all of the content – the pages, posts, menus, etc. – are all stored in the database.

Thankfully WordPress is awesome and super-user-friendly so you don’t need to know how things work!

But if you are doing to do a backup of WordPress you do need to make sure your solution gets both the files AND the database!

Why a WordPress Backup

Some webhosts will do backups for you. Sometimes the webhost charges extra for this feature and sometimes it is included for free.

If you’re putting your trust in the host to do the backups for you, be sure that they are indeed doing the backups!

If they are, check to understand:

  • how frequently they run
  • if you have access to them
  • if you can run them on demand
  • and if there are any additional costs

Regardless, I think it is a good idea to have the ability to control WordPress backups on your own. Ideally from right inside WordPress itself.

About the WordPress Backup plugin we use

The WordPress backup plugin that we use here is called BackUpWordPress (yes, without any spaces).

And guess what? It’s free!

BackUpWordPress features

There aren’t a ton of features to list or talk about. I think that’s great. For something basic like backups, I want a solution that does exactly what it is supposed to do. And I want it to work consistently and reliably! BackUpWordPress covers those points for sure.

It backs up both the website files and the database – as necessary if you ever need to restore the site.

This WordPress backup plugin also has a scheduling feature. You can set it to automatically perform a daily backup and/or a weekly backup. It can also be set to retain a certain number of backups. Let’s say you want to keep three week’s worth of backups. After it has three week’s stored it will start deleting the older files to always have the most recent three weeks retained.

That’s nice.

For the backups that have been run: It compresses them to minimize space they take up on the hosting server. There is also a link so that you can easily download a copy of the backup file to your local computer.


Well, in the absolute worse-case problem, which would be the hosting server goes up in flames never to be seen again, I want the backups with me – not on that server!

Here’s a short video walkthrough

This is a walkthrough of me installing BackUpWordPress and doing the basic configuration. Watch the video. Install the plugin. Then go perform a WordPress backup! Better safe than sorry – and this plugin will help make you safe.

Happy blogging!


Video Transcript

unfortunately sometimes things can go wrong with your website because of this it’s a good idea to do backups on a regular basis very often your webhost will have some sort of functionality where they’ll let you do backups through a control panel or some sort of portal that they’ve developed sometimes this is free or included in the cost of your hosting sometimes they charge extra for it regardless I think it’s a good idea to be able to control these backups on your own and thankfully there is actually a free plugin that you can install in WordPress that lets you schedule backups or run backups on demand so right now we’re going to go ahead and install that we’re looking at our plugins page we’re going to search for backup WordPress sorry click add new first we’re going to go ahead and stall this backup wordpress here it has over , active installs running us on several other websites and have been very happy with go ahead and still activate it this is going to add a menu option under tools so if we look under tools there’s now a menu option for backups configuration is fairly basic here clear a couple of these notices let’s click on settings the settings going to last control the daily backups and the weekly backups so for the daily backups let’s go ahead and have this do both the database and the files run once a day p.m. seems fine with me and we’re going to store seven days worth of backups and then if you want you can have it send an email notification when the backup completes the back of a small enough and you see here it happy really small less than megabytes it’ll actually email attach a copy of the backup to you so that is the daily backups let’s look at weekly i’m going to configure weekly backups click on settings both database and files once weekly sunday is fine three a.m. number of backups to store is good so we’ll have three weeks worth of backups and then i’m going to go ahead and let it notify me when the backups complete now that i think about it i’m going to go back to complete daily i’m going to change complete daily to just do the backup of the database because we do publish new blog posts and changes to the websites on a regular basis that information is actually contained inside of the database file the files are actually only updated when we add or remove plugins if we update the theme if wordpress needs to do some sort of a security update or something like that in those cases i can very easily run a backup manually so we did that to database only it’s going to store less space it’s going to require less space on your server to store that and click done to save that change all right so let’s go ahead and do a complete weekly backup right now all you need to do is click run now it’s telling us that it’s starting the backup it’s going to backup the files it’s not a very large site so i do not expect that to take very long there you go in fact that already happened so backed up the database first and then the files the database was so small that we didn’t even notice it in the files it’s megabytes total all i have to do is click download right there it’ll download to my local computer and viola then we have a backup copy of our website in case something were to go wrong hope this helps you

Brad Kingsley

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