Backing up your site and database on a daily basis is an essential step when running your own site, no matter how small.
If you get hacked, if you mess up your site accidentally, if you have a server crash etc, then you will be eternally grateful that you followed this guide and have a fresh backup waiting to rescue you.
I'll show you every single step that you need to take to go from having no automatic backup to having all your files, plugins and database backed up securely to the cloud every single day.
If you need to restore your site, then it's just a couple of clicks and you're all up and running again.
Let me show you how.
Firstly I'm going to be using an excellent plugin called Updraft Plus. I've used a bunch of different ones before, but this one just seems to be the most reliable - as well as one of the few plugins that support Google Drive.
I'm a big fan of Google Drive, and this guide will use Google Drive as my cloud storage provider. DropBox, Amazon, S3 etc also are supported, so feel free to choose whichever service provider you currently use.
Step One - Install the Plugin
In your wordpress dashboard, click Plugins->Add New and type in UpdraftPlus
Click on the Install Now link and wait a few moments while the plugin is downloaded and unpacked into your wordpress installation.
Once you get the 'Successfully installed' message, you should click on the activate link to give the plugin permission to run.
Now we have installed the plugin and activate it, we will need to configure it. This simply means that we need to give the plugin information so that it can run exactly as we want it to.
In your dashboard click on Settings->Updraftplus Backup to open the settings for this tool.
Configure Backup Contents And Schedule
File backup intervals: Choose Daily and choose to retain 7 backups (this is a rolling week, we will always have the 7 previous days worth of data stored in the cloud.)
Database backup intervals: Again choose Daily and choose to retain 7 backups.
Include in files backup: You will want to tick all 3 of these boxes and leave the default text that they have pre-populated for you.
I don't bother with the database encryption phrase or with the email reporting as I can see locally on my desktop when my Drive syncs and updates the files. Once its all up and running you'll find it won't take a single second of your thoughts, until you really need it!
Copying Your Backup To Remote Storage
This is the important bit, without it, your files are just stored locally. In the event of a HDD crash on your server then potentially you could lose you files and your backups, so it's imperative to move your backups into the cloud, or download them locally to your desktop.
I'm gonna pick Google Drive from the list.
Google Drive is a great choice, because UpdraftPlus supports chunked uploads - no matter how big your site is, UpdraftPlus can upload it a little at a time, and not get thwarted by timeouts.
In the setting screen there are detailed instructions on how to integrate Updraftplus and Google Drive - Follow them closely to setup the connection.
Once you have done that you'll know your Client ID and Client Secret.
Enter them into the page and then in a new tab visit http://drive.google.com/
Create yourself a new folder (I use a /backups/domain.com/ type structure to keep it all tidy) and you want to copy the folder ID for your settings. When you create a folder, Google Drive will open it in a tab.
It looks something like http://drive.google.com/#folders/0BmXmqwertyuiop2345678ZW8
Copy the text string AFTER #folders/... and paste it back into your settings screen.
Keep the Google Drive window open, we'll hopefully see some files appear in there in a few minutes!
Back in your WordPress dashboard click on 'Save Changes'. One more simple step, you need to authenticate with Google.
When you save you'll see the following banner appear in the top of your dashboard.
Click on the link to authenticate your Google Drive connection. If you have set it up correctly you'll see a permissions screen just like this one
Click on Accept and you'll see a 'Success' message just like this one...
As you have just installed this, you won't have any backups of your site yet - so click on the big blue 'Backup Now' button to start running your first backup!
If you also check your Google Drive window that we kept open, you should see it start populating with some files. These are your backups being saved on the drive!
Congratulations, the 15 minutes that you spent setting this up could potentially save you Weeks of pain in the future if something went wrong and you didn't have a recent backup. I know the feeling personally as I've also been there.
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Leave a message below if you get stuck, and I'll try my damnest to get you up and running with minimal fuss.