Backups are very important. And I’m sure that you have a backup for your blog. You need a WordPress backup plugin of some sort — don’t rely on your hosting provider’s backups although they’re great in a pinch.
For a long time I’ve been using a good plugin for my blog backups. It is called WP DB Backup. It backed up the blog tables on a schedule that I set (usually daily) and emailed me the backup file. I could even go in and request a backup right now if I wanted (e.g. before an upgrade).
But I discovered another plugin that I like even better. WP DB Manager steps things up a notch or two. It will also allow me to schedule backups and have them mailed to me. But in addition, it allows me the opportunity to optimize and repair the database amongst other things.
But the really special difference for me is that WP DB Manager will default to backing up all tables in the database while WP DB Backup does not. So, if a plugin or theme creates a new table it will automatically become part of the backup scheme.
There are a couple of things to watch out for when you install the plugin.
First, it may ask you to copy the htaccess.txt file from the plugin directory into your backup-db directory.
This is easily done using an ftp client or the file manager from your hosting provider. But keep in mind that the file should be renamed to .htaccess if your hosting is on a UNIX or Linux system. This will protect your backups from being accessed by the public.
Secondly, it may have trouble finding the path to some of the mysql utilities and give you a warning that looks like this (the error messages are in red):
If it is having trouble finding the MYSQL paths, you can just try running a backup. If it works then you don’t need to worry about this message.
Scheduling the Backups
The first thing that you’ll want to do is schedule your backups. This is done on the DB Options page. You can leave the settings on the top half of the page alone and scroll down. Simply enter the frequency of backups, whether or not to use Gzip to compress them and make sure your email address is correct.
That’s all it takes!
You’ll also notice that you have options to automatically optimize and repair the db. You can change those if you want, but I left them as is. You may find that they slow things down when they’re running but for most blogs it shouldn’t be a big hit.
A savvy user will have noticed that something is missing from this backup scheme — the WordPress files and all your downloaded files are not backed up. Both of these plugins focus solely on your database.
You will need to ensure that the file structure of your blog is also regularly backed up. Your hosting provider may have backups that you can access, but you don’t necessarily want to trust them.
For me, I usually keep an ftp copy of my themes, etc. on my development computer. But it isn’t the best way to approach this. So I’m going to be looking around at plugins and other options for backing up the filesystem as well. Stay tuned for a report on that soon.
Oh, yeah. If you have any suggestions or comments you know where they belong! Share your experience and knowledge with us all below.