How To Backup the Content On Your WordPress Blog

Many of us woke up today to see that our WordPress blogs had changed.  For me the colours of the theme I use had reverted back to their original shades and there were items missing off my menu bar.

Hugh's Workspace Blog Hop

WordPress seem to have fixed the problem now (at least my blog is now looking like it did when I last left it), but the whole experience got me thinking about backing up all the content on my blog.  Just imagine losing all your posts, comments, images, etc, etc.  What a nightmare, yes?

I recommend that everyone backs up their blog content as often as possible.  I backup the content on my blog once a week and it is very easy to perform. Here is a very quick guide on how to perform a backup for your blog.

  1. Go to your blog’s WP Admin page (this is your dashboard).
  2. Go down to ‘Tools’ but do not click on it as a side window will open.
  3. In the side window click on ‘Export’.
  4. On the ‘Export’ page, under “Choose What To Export”, make sure ‘All Content’ is selected.
  5. Click on the ‘Download Export File’ button.
  6. All the content on your blog will now be downloaded and you will receive a message from WordPress saying they will email you a link to the file.
  7. Go to your email box and look for the email from WordPress.
  8. Click on the link in the email, and the backup will be downloaded to the hard-drive on your computer.

I would recommend you also download the information onto a memory stick, just incase the hard-drive on your computer ever decides to fail!

I’d be delighted to answer any questions you have about the above.  Simply leave them in the comments section and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.

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285 thoughts

  1. Thanks for sharing this post, Hugh. I remember having a mild panic attack when I saw the theme colours and menu get messed up last year. I guess it was somewhere around the same time. I got in touch with WordPress support and he assured me that it was a software update. But, it was scary. I’ve got to get the blog backed up, but most of the online videos seem complicated. Your post makes it simple! Thanks once again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome. I thought it worth sharing again as a reminder to everyone to remember to backup their blog. I don’t even want to imagine what it would be like to log on to WordPress one day and to find my blog has disappeared without ever having done a backup of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know, I worry about that constantly. A blogger lost so much of her data whilst trying to change the theme of her blog. Scary!
        So, I tried backing my blog and I can’t do it without the security code. We’ve shifted recently and I haven’t changed the phone number. Backup codes didn’t work. 😦 Need to figure a way around this.

        Like

      2. A security code to do a backup? I’ve never heard of that before. The only security code I use on WordPress is the one for the two-step authentication which is texted to me when I log into WordPress. On the odd occasion one has not been sent to me, I press the ‘send a recovery code’ option. So far, it’s always come through. If all else fails, then contact the WordPress Happiness Engineers.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Hugh! I dind’t know you could do this on WP. I’ve been backing up all my posts manually on Word as I post them, and then saving them to USB as well. But this option saves a lot more. Appreciate it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Backing up everything onto a USB stick is something I recommend. Many bloggers have told me that they save all their posts onto the hard drive of their computer as well. That’s very useful for publishing the posts elsewhere on the internet and, providing the hard drive is backed up, those posts will never get lost.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Hugh. Isn’t it nice when we can visit old posts through the search, lol. Ok, I was just reading an article on backing up and I thought of your post, so I came back and read some comments here. My hosting company backs up my blog nightly, but we all know the more back up the better. I followed your directions, simple enough months ago, and I too never received an email with a nice neat link and a choice where to store. I have tons of individual loose folders, one by one loaded to my Dropbox all on its own. Because the language is geek, I don’t even know what’s what if I needed to retrieve, or what I should delete to make way for the next back up. My Dropbox is in a serious disarray because of WP content files all over the place. So, no emails, no permission asked where we’d like to download, and eating up precious space on my Dropbox. Not pretty, lol. Hence, I haven’t backed up again. 😦

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    1. Hi Debby,

      Your comment reminded me to do a backup – lol. I’ve just performed one again and I’ve got the email from WordPress with the link to click on to save the backup. The link is only valid for 7 days so, right after this, I’ll be clicking on it and saving the backup.

      Now, I’ve looked into this again and found the attached.

      https://en.support.wordpress.com/export/

      The quick version is that the backup only works for those that use to host their blog. If you are confident that the company you use to host your blog is doing the backup, then you’re safe. However, I would recommend you contact them and find out exactly how they back the contents of your blog up, what they would do if your blog content was lost and ask if there is anything else you need to be doing.

      Whilst WordPress tell me that they do backup the contents of my blog, they do recommend that I also perform a backup (which I’ve now done thanks to you 😀). Your hosting company may well do something similar. Once you’ve found out I’d then recommend you get rid of all those unwanted folders.

      I hope that helps, even if only a little. 😀

      P.S – Let’s hear it and cheer for those older posts that lurk deep with the archives of our blogs. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol, you crack me up Hugh! Thanks for being such a sweetie and sharing your experience. Yes, I’ve been rest assured a few times, in fact every time I call my host for one thing I like to double check I’m safe with nightly backups. But one can never be considered too safe in this technical bubble we live in. I had a good chuckle at ‘let’s hear it for older posts that lurk deep in the archives’. No truer words. Do you know how many times I’ve searched my own posts for something? They aren’t called archives for nothing! LOL xo:)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Absolutely, Debby. I even refer to my own older posts. I’ve sometimes found posts that I’d completely forgotten about. They are gold nuggets, especially when reposted and introduced to new followers (and those followers that forgot). 😀
        xx

        Liked by 2 people

      3. So true. Of course, if we’ve forgotten, naturally others have. But also, things we post may not have applied to a reader’s life at the time and then suddenly they’re looking for that info. 🙂 xo

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for the info on backing up the blog, Hugh. I have been thinking about that very thing lately. I want to look into publishing some of my poetry, and maybe some other blog articles. One thing about that, I write almost all of my poetry in a notebook…which is a good thing. However, I almost always change the poem before or while I’m typing it into the blog for publication. The prose-articles are almost always written as they are being typed…and have no backup other than on the WordPress site.

    Back in the day as a newspaper correspondent I was paid by the piece, and clipped everything I ever wrote for the purpose of getting paid! Great incentive. 🙂 That habit carried over after I became a full-time reporter, paid on salary, but I still clipped my work and saved it. I also have every paper I ever wrote when a university student…SO I’ve been thinking I should be saving my poems.

    Like

    1. Many people have commented that they write their blog articles outside of WordPress and save the document on their computer’s hard drive or even have a handwritten copy. Of course, anything on a computer’s hard drive should be backed up and then there’s the question should we do an extra photocopy of anything we’ve handwritten? Backing up our blog content is something many of us never think about, but I have heard of a couple of bloggers who have lost all their blog content and then discovered there was no backup. The backup process WordPress advises bloggers to perform is very easy to follow and takes less than a few minutes. The problem for many now seems to be remembering to perform that backup. As you are changing some of your poetry as you copy it onto your blog, I’d recommend you backup your blog at least once a month, more often if you publish posts on a daily basis.

      Thank you for commenting and letting us know what you currently do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I surely do miss those old computer programs like WordPerfect that had automatic back-up. I always did back-up, and doubled down after losing my final exam essay in Historiography…the computer ate my homework just doesn’t fly as an exucuse. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I want to back it up electronically, but also print it out on paper. I am still a big advocate of good old paper. The expense of that would be huge though, in printer ink. I will look into having something published when and if I get the money and time.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great idea, Hugh. I think I have a plugin that does that on my self-hosted blog. I’m updating a couple of articles right now about the differences between WordPress.com and .org. There are some advantages to both, and that had to be a bit of a scare this morning. I never used to back mine up, and actually got shut down once! 😦 You just never know what will happen. I need to back up my WordPress.com. I haven’t looked at it today.

    Like

    1. I back up my blog at least once every two weeks, Marsha. Sometimes I do forget, but then I get a reminder from another blogger about it. 😀
      I look forward to reading your post about WordPress.com Vs self-hosting. I’ve seen a few people come running back to WordPress.com who went to self-hosting. I’ve also seen some poor quality self-hosting sites, but many great self-hosting sites as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly, and WordPress.com has the same thing. I would say that it takes hard work to do either. WordPress.com offers a lot of free services, and backing it up is one of the best things you can do to save grief. I need to do that to my WP.com site. 🙂 I’ve been working all day on the post that is connected to the Moving to WP.org post. hehehe. I have all these posts, but they all could link to tons of other topics that I haven’t written! I’ve been working on getting all of my posts SEO ready. You don’t have to worry about that on WordPress.com, so 80/140 of my posts are now ready. 🙂 I liked your articles about rewriting and reposting your articles from the past. That is basically what I am doing. I look forward to posting your article on the 19th. Your interview sounds wonderful. I’ll get it all set up and posted on the 19th. Can’t wait!!! 🙂

        Like

      2. Thanks so much, Marsha. I’ve been blogging for just over 3 years and have learned a lot about the subject. I’m still learning, but I do enjoy sharing what I have learned with others. I remember, as a new blogger, how blogging tips posts were the best finds.
        Have a great weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hugh, when I click on the Export button, I don’t get the Choose What to Export option. Instead, I have the choice of paying for a “Guided Transfer” for $129 or a “Free Export” and a “Start Export” button.

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  7. Hi Hugh – just thought I would let you know I came back to this post to remind myself how to do this. I’ve been tidying up my blog and rather than delete all the posts I think are irrelevant or I just don’t want to appear live I’ve reverted them to draft as I still want to keep them. One of the options I noticed in the back up is to take a export of the drafts only so that’s good for me. Once I get the file I shall put it in my ‘box’ so all my grand-cats can still read them 🙂 Thanks again for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the update, Steve. I’m sure WordPress is tinkering with the backup tool, but it sounds to me as if they are doing good things with it. Phew! Good to hear you’re having a good tidy-up. It always cleanses my blogging soul whenever I do a tidy up of the blog.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve just thought of a question. I’ve never actually seen the results of the backup files. If I were to print them does it print exactly as it looks online?

        Like

  8. I’m so afraid to press that Export button! It’s completely ridiculous, but I’ve had a lot of nightmarish things happen here. One time I noticed someone who won Freshly Pressed use tons of tags so I used twenty. I ended up in Spam prison! Took three days to get out. I upgraded to a Business site which took me out of search in the Reader. Then I tried Yoast, since why not? It got rid of my floating follow button. Two posts I had scheduled before the change and changing back never ended up in the Reader. One was a post about a day in London. The other, my blogiversary post about what I learned in 6 years. Both took days to polish.

    I get PTSD just thinking about exporting. Ha! Completely ridiculous, I know. When I looked it up, it says WordPress would be up and running in a few days if the worst happened and the whole system crashed since they do backups every day.

    Danny just said, “Belt and suspenders, belt and suspenders. Do it anyway.”

    Like

    1. Hi Susie, after all the problems you’ve had with WordPress I can see why you don’t want to try doing that backup. However, whilst WordPress do back ups, they are nowhere near as thorough as the back up you do when pressing that export button. With over 100 million blogs that they host, there’s only so much data they can keep, so I always recommend that every blogger also do a backup of their own blog as a safeguard. It takes me less than 30 seconds from start to finish to back up my blog using the instructions WordPress give.

      As for tags, never use more than 14 as your post won’t end up on the WP reader. In fact, I was told by another blogger to use no more than six. She told me that using too many tags ends up confusing search engines. I didn’t believe her, but I tried it out and I’ve had a lot more referrals from search engines, so it does seem to work. I’ve also ended up in spam prison three times (even when only using 6 tags). WordPress always have to come and save me, but they’ve never been able to tell me why I’ve ended up in there. It’s not happened for a while now, but I have everything crossed while I type this. 😁

      Like

      1. Spam prison is the worst. It hasn’t happened to me recently either. *crosses fingers too*

        I’m down to 10 tags but will reduce them to six. Thanks, Hugh! I was told by a WP Happiness Engineer, a long time ago, that tags only helped to attract other WP readers, but you’re the second person who has said it correlates to SEO! All that misinformation is frustrating when I have almost 600 posts and very few that get searched. Do you think it will help to delete tags this late in the game or just use fewer moving forward?

        Like

      2. I’d update some of the more popular posts (both tags and any other information in the posts) and add in to the title of the post that it’s been updated by inserting the year in brackets. It’s something else I’ve learned in the blogging world which seems to work. 😀 I know it’s a lot of work, but maybe try updating one or two a week and go forward from there. Once you’ve updated them, remember to also share the updated posts on all your social media platforms.😀

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Jumped over from Deb’s link on her recent Captcha update debacle and the GoDaddy/restore horror. THANKS for this, however the more I read about the fragility of the internet the more I want to run away screaming and go see if Walmart wants to hire me as a greeter! 🙂 GREAT reminder to back to a stick as well as a hard drive.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Like

    1. There’s so much to remember, Madelyn. It can become very overwhelming, but I think backing up one’s blog is one of the important things we bloggers always need to remember to do. I don’t even want to think about opening up my blog and finding it’s disappeared, and I’ve no backup. Yikes, that’s one of my worse nightmares.

      Liked by 1 person

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