How To Backup Your WordPress Blog To Prevent Losing All Its Contents

How would you feel if you woke up one morning and discovered that your WordPress blog had been deleted or that most of your content had been lost?

It’s a scary thought, and probably the worst kind of nightmare situation for many bloggers.

Don’t lose your WordPress content

WordPress has a process that allows all its users to backup the contents of their blog. 

Today, I’m going to show you how to backup your blog without going via the ‘WP Admin’ button on the dashboard of your blog. 

Not only is it a straight forward process, but it’s the quickest method of performing a backup of your blog. Plus, since I last wrote about this, you can now also backup all your media, images and photos.

Let’s start.

  • In the lefthand menu of the dashboard of your blog, click on Tools, then on Export.
Click on ‘Tools’ and ‘Export’
  • You’ll be presented with the following choices.
You’ll have two choices
  • Let’s start by looking at exporting the content of your blog. 
Exporting your contenet
  • You can either download all content by clicking on Export All – 
Click the ‘Export’ button
  • Or, by clicking on the arrow next to the Export All button –
More options
  • You can select which specific content to download. 
More options
  • I recommend that you download all the content.
  • Click on the Export All button.
Click the ‘Export’ button

As soon as the download has finished, you’ll get a message saying the ‘download’ file is ready for downloading. A copy will also be emailed to you. 

Export completed

Warning – Make sure WordPress has your correct email address.

  • Click on the word ‘Download‘ in the message. 
Click on ‘Download’
  • The file will be saved onto the hard drive of your computer. In my case, it was saved to my ‘Download’ file, although I was given a choice to save it elsewhere.
  • It’s also recommended that you save the file on an external hard drive or on a data saving site such as iCloud or Dropbox. If the hard drive on your computer fails, you’ll then still have a place where you can retrieve the file.

Warning – the file is only available to download for seven days. I recommend that you download it as soon as you receive the email. 

  • If you want to download all your media files (photos, videos, images, pictures, etc.), click the download button in the Export Media Library box. 
Click on ‘Download’
  • Again, the file will be saved onto the hard drive of your computer.

Warning – Downloaded files can take up a lot of space on your computer’s hard drive. Therefore, as soon as you have the new updated download of your file, remember to free up some space by deleting any previous versions of the file.

In the unfortunate event of you needing to use the files to upload your blog, follow these instructions. 

  • Click on Import in the lefthand menu of your blog.
Click on ‘Import”
  • Click on the Start import button of where you want to import your file. In my case, I’m importing the file to WordPress.
Click on ‘Start import’
  • Drag the exported file to the box, or click in the box to find the file on your computer. 
Drag the file into the highlighted box
  • The import will start, and your blog will be restored.
  • Remember to do the same with your media file (if you have backed it up).

How often should I backup the contents of my blog?

It depends on how often you publish new blog posts, but here’s a guideline.

Publish every dayOnce a week
Publish two to three times a weekOnce every 10 days
Publish once a weekOnce a month
Publish less than once a weekOnce every three months

If you’ve never backed-up your blog, or have not backed it up in the last three months, do it now.

Any questions? Leave them in the comments box. I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

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171 thoughts on “How To Backup Your WordPress Blog To Prevent Losing All Its Contents

  1. Hi Hugh – I’m ashamed to say I have NEVER backed up my blog since I began in 2013. For some reason I thought it was something that might be difficult or high tech or I would click the wrong button and do something bad. However, I felt confident that since I put my blog posts (which I do in Word) and my photos that accompany those posts, onto a flash drive at the end of each quarter I was safe. I admit it would be a formidable task to recreate the blog by uploading each post. When a fellow blogger asked me recently if I ever backed up my blog as she had not since day #1 (for her that was four years), I searched for this post. She said it was easy. So I couldn’t believe how quickly it went. I bought a 126 GB flash drive as I ASSUMED that you exported the data to a flash drive (or the Cloud … I’m on a Windows 7 laptop and don’t use the Cloud). Two minutes later an e-mail was received and it was done and I put it on that flash drive and it did not even put a dent in the space on the flash drive. That surprised me as well. Now I will backup once a week. Thanks again for your handy dandy info Hugh.

    1. You’re welcome, Linda. I’m glad to hear this method still works. This post is quite old and probably needs updating, especially with the Block editor, now the main feature of drafting posts.
      Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

      1. I’ve learned other helpful items through your blog Hugh. It was slightly different in how the Tools Drop-Down Menu appeared now as opposed to your screenshots before the Block Editor, but I figured that out. I was wondering about something though … having not backed up my blog before, the fellow blogger I sent your post to said she backed up year by year and her media too plus the e-mail of coding. So I returned and did this as well and sent it to the flash drive … here in the U.S. we’d call that “doing belts and suspenders” … is that a U.K. term too? It is just doubling up. You said “choose export all” so I did that and got the e-mail link. The other items were in my downloads directory as “TAR” and “PART” (I think that was it … I’m at my old 2009 laptop now working on pictures). I did it all and it still only took such a small amount (1GB) of the 126 GB flash drive.

    1. That’s great to hear, Marje. Thanks for the feedback on the post being clear and easy to follow. That’s the best feedback I can get on these ‘How to’ posts.

  2. You skip over the media file restore. The media is downloaded as a tar file, and I’m not sure if you can restore it in the same way. I’ve untarred it and it contains folders, so it’s not like the XML (WXR) file that contains the content. I’ve yet to try to restore it.

    1. I never intended this post to show the files being restored. Fortunately, I’ve never had to restore the files. If and when I do, that will be a whole different post. For now, I’m just glad that I have backup files available. If I encountered any problems with them, I would contact the WordPress Happiness engineers. If they were not available, I would seek out the help of an I.T expert. Fortunately, I have some family members who work in that area.

  3. I am so grateful for this. I’ve been worried/wondering how to do this for some time.
    One question: I have downloaded onto my home PC but it says I need some sort of app to open it.
    Any ideas what to do?

    1. No need to ever open the file. It can only be used when transferring the data within the file to another blogging platform or back to WordPress. On WordPress, it’s the ‘import’ button. I hope that answers the question?

  4. Thank the lord for Hugh, or your parents at the very least. I have pinned this and will work out the best place to store it … as I never done so. I always thought it was safe, at least as long as I stayed with WordPress.

    1. A lot of bloggers think WordPress does a backup of their blogs, but with millions and millions of blogs out there, can you imagine just how much storage space that would take up, Ellen? That’s why they have given their users these tools to keep their own backups. Hopefully, we’ll need those backups, but one never knows. During my lifetime of blogging, I’ve only heard of two bloggers who lost all their blog content. That’s when it got me thinking about what I would do if I lost all my blog content. I’d be gutted, to say the least.

      1. Me too, having learnt first hand. My lap top imploded just after Christmas and with decorations out cupboards full to bursting I couldn’t get to my external hard drive. I couldn’t remember what of my manuscript I had been unable to save. All was not lost the husband replaced my laptop loaded it with all that he could and yesterday I plugged in my EHD. It could be worse … I have lost the last quarter of my book. Edited in word but not saved else where. I have a full copy of first draft written four years ago. It has evolved immensely since but it may remind me as I re-read what I altered it too. Unfortunately I have an opportunity to show it on February 7th to a publisher and I doubt it will be ready, but try I must.

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