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.

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.
  • You’ll be presented with the following choices.
  • Let’s start by looking at exporting the content of your blog. 
  • You can either download all content by clicking on Export All – 
  • Or, by clicking on the arrow next to the Export All button –
  • You can select which specific content to download. 
  • I recommend that you download all the content.
  • Click on the Export All 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. 

Warning – Make sure WordPress has your correct email address.

  • Click on the word ‘Download‘ in the message. 
  • 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. 
  • 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 the Start import button of where you want to import your file. In my case, I’m importing the file to WordPress.
  • Drag the exported file to the box, or click in the box to find the file on your computer. 
  • 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.

Copyright © 2019 – All rights reserved.


  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. I remember you telling us to backup a blog sometime ago, and really like it to take the time to tell us how to do it again 🙂 WordPress has changed interface so it’s lovely to have these updated screenshots to guide us through the process. I just Exported all my content and backed it up to two different places should I need to recover my blog. Thanks for the reminder and appreciate your straightforward instructions 🙂

  5. Thanks so much for this Hugh! I’m not good at trying to figure things out but your instructions look easy enough even for me. I definitely need to do this. I would hate to lose everything. To be honest, I never thought about it before, just figured it would be safe, but I don’t want to take a chance. Thanks again, have a great day!😃😺

    1. I don’t think many bloggers think about what they would do if all the content of their blog were lost, Steve. It’s a rare thing, but I have heard about it and seen it happen. It’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.

    1. You’re welcome, Beckie. I’m glad it’s helped so many readers. The process is so easy to follow and gives users peace-of-mind, knowing that their blog content is safe.

      Thank you for also reblogging the post. It’s appreciated very much.

        1. It depends on how much content you have on your blog, Beckie. I have just over 450 posts. The download took about 30 seconds. However, the media file download will take much longer if you have lots of images and photos on your media library.
          I hope that helps?

    1. You’re welcome, Penny. It’s such an easy process to perform every few weeks and keeps our minds at rest in that we don’t face the chance of losing all of our blog content.

      Thanks so much for sharing the post with your readers and for your kind words in the introduction to why you are sharing the post. I appreciate it very much.

  6. I’ve never backed up my site because I didn’t have a clue how to do it. So 7 years worth of hard work was at risk. I’ve just managed to do it following your instruction – though the screens I got to via WP looked different to the screen shots you showed,, I figured it out without any problems. So a huge thanks….

    1. It could be that you went via the ‘WP Admin’ button on the dashboard of your blog, as to why the screenshots look different. All the same, it works exactly the same way as the way I did the backup in this post.

      It’s reassuring to know that all your blog posts are now backed up.

  7. Hi Hugh,
    Great tutorial. I never knew how to export. I paid my IT helper and Jetpack to back up my site.
    Congratulations! You won the Inspire Me Monday Linky Party and will be featured on my blog tomorrow!

    1. Thanks for letting me know about the win, Janice. That’s wonderful news.

      I think many bloggers who are self-hosted pay the host for backing up their blog. My only advice is to check what your monthly subscription includes. For example, does it include a full backup, including media files, images, etc.?

      1. I’ve learned the hard way that computers are pretty much a data loss waiting to happen–as much as we tend to be lulled into a sense of security in the day-to-day when nothing goes wrong.

        1. You’re so right. I think many of us believe it’ll never happen to us before it becomes too late. I also save stuff to the iCloud. I know there’s no guarantee that even the iCloud can’t fail, but just knowing it’s there keeps me happy.

  8. Good to know for those on but for those who self host I recommend UpdraftPlus. Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 6. I’d like to invite you to also link up at my Short Story Link Party. It is a creative writing exercise for fun and without a lot of editing. Just start typing and see what you come up with! Remember, no story is too short! See the party on my site for the current prompt 🙂

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