The words Back That Thing Up, in white superimposed over a picture of a cassette tape unwound.

How To Back Up your WordPress Website

Jim Richter probably didn’t wake up that morning planning to be the subject of international news. He was most likely just going to spend it like every other Thursday, being pastor of a small church in Johnson City, TN. I’ll bet there was coffee involved with his master plan.

Instead, his website got hacked to display graphic violence, a pro-Jihadist message, and other shocking bits of terrorist propaganda. He found out via concerned emails from his congregation.

Luckily, his web hosting plan included backups.

If you run a self-hosted WordPress website, it’s not a question of if you’ll be hacked. The first course of action is developing a plan to fix the problem once you’ve been hacked. WordPress now powers upwards of 40 percent of the Internet, making it a ripe target for hackers with too much time on their hands.

My next post will get into how you can harden your website to prevent an attack in the first place. Today, we’ll talk through how you can set up a plan to recover from one.

Backup options for WordPress include:

  1. Manually setting up backups (free plus storage for über geeks or $5-$15 per month plus storage for people comfortable with setting up plugins)
  2. Using a hosting provider that includes backups ($30-$50 per month plus bandwidth)
  3. Getting a third party to back up your site.

I’m admittedly biased, but unless you are a geek like me, the third party option makes the most sense. Let’s break it down:

Option 1: Do It Yourself

If you can ssh into your server, set up a cron job to fire at regular intervals to clone your site’s most crucial files into a repo like Amazon S3, that’d be the cheapest way to go about things. I paid about $6 per month, even while hosting a podcast for my church.

If there were 3+ words in that last sentence which made your eyes glaze over, other manual options include VaultPressBackupBuddy and a few other relatively easy-to-set-up plugins. If you’re comfortable installing, activating and setting up plugins on a WordPress site, you’ll find those the most affordable options.

(PS, the experts say not to link to anything in a post like this that doesn’t keep people going down the sales funnel, but I’m determined to provide actual value. If the links in the previous paragraph—which are not affiliate links—lead to you finding what you need, I’m happy.)

Option 2: A Third-party hosted/managed solution.

A hosted solution is viable but comes with a price tag. If you’re paying $10 a year for a domain name and $200 a year for hosting, you’re not getting backups included. Check with your hosting company to see who is responsible for site content in the event of data loss. The managed solutions I’m talking about are going to run anywhere from $15-$100 per month (sometimes including the domain name charge) depending on the amount of content and speed you want it delivered.  

Also consider that fully-hosted free solutions (like Squarespace or mean (in most cases) that you don’t own your own data, and you certainly don’t own the traffic generated by that data. It’s neither wise nor beneficial to give up ownership of your content just to secure your content from hackers.

It is neither wise nor beneficial to give up ownership of your content just to secure your content from hackers Share on X

Option 3: Somebody to handle it for you.

If you’d rather let “your web guy” handle all that stuff, and be a click or call away when you desperately need your website to be back up, I’d like to be that web guy.

You’ve got other things to do than figure out a backup plan.

In addition to experience and professionalism in dealing with me, you also get all your time back from staring at a screen, when you could be out growing your business.

I’ve got 10+ years WordPress experience in outrunning hackers. Let me put that to work for you.

(this is the link they say I SHOULD give you.) Click here to check out my plans and pricingMention this post, and I’ll give you 15% off the first year, immediately. Once you’ve signed up, it’s as simple as a phone call where you say “Ben, my site got hacked!” And in the vast majority of cases, your site is minutes away from being restored.

I’d hate it if you miss the link. check out

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