Backup WordPress for Free With Updraft and Dropbox

One of the most important things you can do on your website is having a backup. If you are not making regular backups of your websites, then you are taking the risk of losing them.

Why? And isn’t my hosting doing this already? You might ask.

There are multiple occasions where a backup can save you:

  • Your website gets hacked… with having a backup, you can just restore it and work more on the security of the site.
  • You add a new plugin or theme that messes with your settings and you don’t like it. A backup can restore it to the point where you didn’t have those installed.
  • Or maybe you messed with your theme’s functions.php and something broke… again, the backup can save you.
  • And there are a ton more.

Okay… okay… but often should I make a backup?

Well, first off, there are three types of backups:

  • A database backup – This backup the database of your website. Posts, pages, users and so on.
  • File backup – A file backup, creates a copy of your theme files, images and other files that are required in order for your website to run.
  • Full backup – A full backup contains both a database backup and a file backup.

Now that we’re clear on the types of backups, let’s see how often you should create backups and which type.

This mostly depends on how often you make changes on your website, changing the style or adding posts.

I personally suggest a database backup depending on how frequently you post on your site. If it’s once a week, then 2 database backups should do it. And a full backup on the weekends.

Why can’t you rely on your hosting when it comes to backups.

If you are not running on a managed hosting service, such as kinsta or any other, then you shouldn’t rely on the backups the hosting provides.

They do these backups from time to time to protect themselves rather than you. You can request a restore of your site from their most recent backup, but who knows how recent that backup is.

How to backup your WordPress site for Free

Many WordPress users suggest that you use Backup Buddy for your backups, but not everyone who runs a WordPress site can afford that.

Fortunately, there’s a great solution for this.  A plugin called UpdraftPlus. This plugin allows you to create all 3 types of WordPress backup and you can also schedule them for your liking.

UpdraftPlus allows you to store your backups on the most popular cloud storages, such as dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Google Could and so on.

Or if you prefer, you can send the backup to yourself via email and store it on your computer. I personally use dropbox.

And yes, the plugin has a premium version, but that’s not required in order to make backups with it.

Let’s see how to use the plugin

First off, go ahead and install the plugin. You can find it here or search updraft in the plugins repository in WordPress.

After you installed the plugin, go to Settings -> Updraft Backups and Settings. Here you can set up how often you want your backups to be made, and choose your remote storage.

The first two settings, are for how often you want a file and a database backup to be created. And how many backups should the plugin keep before deleting old backups.

I suggest making a weekly files backup, keep at least 2, and make a daily database backup, a keep 2-3.

Then, we need to setup the remote storage. For this tutorial, I’m going to use dropbox. If you need help with setting up other services, feel free to leave a comment down below.

Setup Dropbox as remote storage

If you don’t yet have a Dropbox account, then go and create one. A free one will do it.

After you have your account, go back to the Updraft settings, choose Dropbox and save settings.

A notification will appear on the top of the admin dashboard, saying that the plugin noticed that the plugin is not authenticated with Dropbox. Click on it.

When you clicked the link, it’ll open a new page, asking you if you want to allow Updraft to access its own folder in your Dropbox. Click allow.

And at this point, it’s setup. After you clicked allow, it should return you to the updraft current status page, and start creating a backup.

You can stop this backup or let it run, up to you. Also when a backup is being made, you don’t need to have the site open. It’ll be done in the background automatically.

Now if you go to your dropbox, you can see a new folder appear in the “apps” folder called Updraft  This is where your backups are stored as .zip

Other useful plugin settings

If you go back to the plugin’s settings page and scroll down, you can see some more settings.

Such as, which folders should be included in the backups. I suggest you leave these as they are.

One useful setting is the email one. If you tick the checkbox there, it’ll send an email to the address you set as site’s admin email address when the plugin creates a backup.

Manually Creating a WordPress Backup

If you want to manually create a backup, you can go to the current status tab and create the backup now button. After you choose which backups you want, click backup now, and it’ll start the backup.

How to Restore a WordPress Backup

Okay, now that we have our backups, let’s see how can we restore them in case we need to.

Updraft makes this super easy. You can either click the big blue restore button or go to the existing backups tabs. There you’ll find a list of your recently created backups. You can either restore or delete them. In this case, we want to restore it.

To restore a backup, simply click the blue restore button.

In this case, I only made a quick database backup. So in the popup, only that appears. If you have a full backup, you can choose which you want to restore.

Also, if you use these backups to move your site, or you changed site’s URL, an option to search and replace will also appear. But I’ll have a full tutorial on that in the near future. For now, simply check the ones you want to backup and click restore.

The plugin will then analyze the database, and check if anything needs to be restored or not.

After the scan is complete you’ll need to click restore again and it’ll restore your backup.

And that’s it. You have your backup restore. Easy huh?

Conclusion

Having a Backup of your website is essential, you can’t know what can happen to it. And in case something does happen, you have a backup to restore and continue your work.

Also, creating a backup doesn’t always have to be a pain, or to require a premium plugin. There are free tools such as updraft that can do the job. Maybe they don’t have secure servers, at least not the free version, but it’s still a lot better to have a free tool to backup your sites then nothing.

I hope this tutorial helped you create a backup of your WordPress website! If you have any question, feel free to comment down below.

Also, which tool you use to backup your website? And how often you do it?

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