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.

Copyright © 2019 – All rights reserved.

Author: Hugh W. Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom. My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my blogging tips posts. If you have any questions about blogging or anything else, please contact me by clicking on the 'Contact Hugh' button on the menu bar. Click on the 'Meet Hugh' button on the menu bar of my blog to learn more about me and my blog.

171 thoughts

  1. 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 🙂

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 🙂

      1. You’re welcome! This month it was a photo prompt but in December we will go back to a first sentence prompt.

  6. Thanks Hugh. I’ve sent this to my drafts to include in a future writers tips posts. And my question: Would you happen to know roughly how many gigs your saved import file is? My hardrive is running out of space and so is my Drolpbox 😦 Being self-hosted, my host saves a copy nightly to their server should the misfortune ever occur. I use to back up to Dropbox but it was eating too much of my allowance of gigs. 🙂 x

    1. It will depend on much content there is on your blog, Debby. Images, videos, and pictures can take up a lot of space. In my last backup, I backed up 488 blog posts (I do a lot of housekeeping and delete blog posts which no longer attract any traffic or comments) which took up 9.8MB of space on the hard drive of my computer. Of course, those of us who publish multiple posts per day will use up far more space when backing up content. Also, as I don’t reblog any posts (because reblogging uses up a lot of space in the media library of our blogs), my backup did not have to take into account any reblogs that includes photos and images not belonging to me. The most important thing to remember is to delete the previous backup file after performing a new backup to free up the space it took up.

      Another way to save space on your computer or to Dropbox is to save the backup file onto an external hard drive or a memory stick.

      As your blog is self-hosted, you may have a plan where the company who hosts your blog performs backups for you. However, as somebody else mentioned in an earlier comment, check with them what and how often they perform backups. Let’s say that if you are only paying $3.99 per month, then it’s unlikely that the plan will include a full backup (let alone agood customer service). It’s best to check with them and ask if the backup they do also includes media files, images, photos, etc.

      I hope that helps?

      Thank you so much for the upcoming share you’re planning for this post.

      1. Thanks Hugh, you’re tips are always helpful. Yes, my host backs up daily, and I’m going to give your suggestion a whirl and send it to my stick instead of my hard drive!!!! Thank you as always, and my pleasure to share as always ❤

  7. Hugh, this is great information! Thank you. And I intend to start following it tonight. We lose power here all the time and it has me concerned. This is definitely help.

    1. I’m glad it’s been of so much help. It’s such an easy process to follow and definitely helps in knowing that there is a backup file available in case content does ever get lost. Hopefully, that will never happen though.

  8. I’ve never done this, and I’ve been blogging daily for five years. I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow. Thanks for such a detailed and easy to follow set of steps!

    1. You can find the email details WordPress have for you on the Account Settings page of your blog. To get to it, click on the Gravatar image of yourself located in the top right-hand corner (next to the bell icon) and you’ll be taken to the accounts settings page. The email box is the second box down (under the username box). I hope that helps?

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