How to Backup a WordPress Website for Free

If the current challenge you are experiencing right now is getting a way to backup your WordPress website either manually or automatically for free, then you are at the right place.


Through this tutorial guide, I will take you through a step by step guide on how you can use a WordPress plugin named UpdraftPlus, which is available for free download on WordPress repository to backup your website.


The reason why i recommend the usage of this plugin is because it is definitely one of the most popular with over 3+ million downloads and well-rated option of 4.8 out of 5 star.


Not only does it let you manually take a backup, but it can also automatically backup your website to any cloud of  your choice, as well as easily restore a backup with just a few clicks and all for free.


At the end of this post, you’ll know exactly how to backup a WordPress site for free with UpdraftPlus.


What is a Backup?


Answering this in the simplest possible way. A backup is simply a copy of your site that you can reinstate peradventure something goes wrong. It’s a precautionary measure that saves you a lot of undue stress. It can be likened to an insurance policy that protects all the effort, time and money you’ve invested in your WordPress site. This means should you lose your site, you just need to reinstall the backup and your work is done. This is one of the many advantages of having a WordPress website.

Why Backing up Your WordPress Website is Very Important?


Every websites on the internet is vulnerable to loss of data as well as threats to security. As a website owner, there are some common instances that could come by, and as a result may cause you lose of your entire site data:

  • Your website can get hacked and hackers may destroy your data.
  • Your hosting provider can lose your data
  • Some host reserves the right to terminate your account and delete all your data, but this is never the case with Whogohost Hosting Provider.


There are many other scenarios where you could end up losing your website and all the valuable data created over the years.


No human wish for such,  but one truth remains, and that is the fact that bad things do happen sometimes. And with the way WordPress is set up, a lot of files and data on your WordPress site can come from different providers all updating and changing things all at the same time. And when you decide to click on that “Update Now” button, you have no idea that these updates aren’t all cross-compatible with one another.


The best way to protect yourself against these threats is to regularly backup your WordPress site. More importantly, set it up to run on a scheduled basis automatically without you needing to visit your dashboard at every little time to manually set things up.


Step-by-Step Guide to Backing up Your WordPress Site


For this guide, I am going to teach you how to back up your WordPress site and automate the process.


Step 1: Installing the Plugin


From your WordPress Admin Dashboard.

Plugins > Add New and type in “Updraftplus” in the search box:

For a step by step detailed guide on how to install a plugin, kindly check this page.

So next, you need to click on “Install Now” and once it’s installed click “Activate


Install Updraftplus Plugin


Once it’s installed and activated, we move to the setting up.


Step 2: Updraftplus Plugin Setup

Now that you’ve installed and activated the plugin, simply navigate to SETTINGS>> UPDRAFTPLUS BACKUP


UpdaftPlus Settings


Now from the“UPDRAFTPLUS BACKUP ” page, head over to the SETTINGS tab.


UpdaftPlus Settings Tab


At this SETTINGS page, you will see a very long list of available settings that can be modified.



Here’s a summary analysis of those settings:

  • Files Backup Schedule – This is simply asking whether or not to back up the site files (this includes themes, plugins, uploads) manually, and how many versions to retain at a time. I advise you to select a choice based on how frequent your site contents are updated.
  • Database Backup Schedule – This is simply asking whether or not to back up the database manually, and how many versions to retain at a time. I advise you to select a choice based on how frequent your site contents are updated.
  • Choose Remote Storage – The default location for storing your backups are on your server. But to be on a safer side, I would recommend you have a backup that’s easily accessible to you in the event that your host/server goes down for some reason.
    Among the choices available to you are:

    • Microsoft OneDrive
    • Google Drive
    • Microsoft Aure
    • Amazon S3
    • Via Email
    • A specified FTP location
    • And several others
  • Include files in backup – You can choose which files to include in the backups. Likewise, you also have the option to exclude certain files from being backed up.
  • Database Encryption – Information and option on encrypting/decrypting your backups.
  • Email – The option to send an email to the site admin’s email address every time a backup is completed.
  • Expert Settings – Developer facing settings that can be crucial to certain users. Settings like Debug Mode, Archive Splitting, Directory, and SSL Settings. You dont need to touch anything here if you are not an expert.

After setting all of those, just click on the“Save Settings” button. That’s all for that.


Step 3: Authorize your Cloud Storage

Follow the instructions to authenticate your website with your preferred remote storage service.

In my case, I will be using GOOGLE DRIVE option


Google Drive Authorization



Step 4: Running Your Backup

After configuring the plugin settings, on the plugin page, just click “Backup Now” to perform your very first backup.


Backup Now


You will then be greeted with the screen as shown below. Be sure to include your database and files.


Backup Now Settings


Depending on the size of your website, this could take anywhere from 10 minutes to up to an hour.


Scanning Started


Once the backup is done, you will see them listed on the Existing Backups section of the site as shown below.



Whenever there is the need to call for an already existing backup incase your site crashes, just click on either “Restore” or the specific files that you need to download them.

UpdraftPlus will now look for backups in the remote storage location and display them below.

You can now click on the restore button next to a backup.

UpdraftPlus will now ask you what you would like to restore. You need to select all options and then click ‘Restore’ button.

You can also delete outdated backups from this page.


Step 5: Schedule Automatic Backups

With Updraft, you can schedule automatic backups to run on a scheduled basis as preferred by you.

To do this, click on the “Settings” tab again. And just select the files and database backup frequency.


Schedule Backup


Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Changes’ button at the bottom of the page to restore your settings.


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Questions? Complaints? Challenges?

I’d love to hear any experience you’ve had with botched server backups. I’d also love to hear about any times where backups have saved you from loosing your site.

I will be glad to answer any questions you have.

Above all, don’t put this off. Set aside time to implement a backup safety net today. It only takes a few minutes, and could literally save your business one day.

Happy backing up!

If you use some other solution, I’d love to hear about that as well.