Most of us purchase car insurance, home insurance, life insurance, or one of the other plans that insure everything from motorcycles to vacations. Why? Because we want to protect our most important assets.
As a business owner, your website is one of your most important assets. You’ve invested time and money into it, you might be relying on it for eCommerce income, and it may store important customer or client data — not to mention that it’s how you present your business to the world. If your entire site goes down or is lost, that’s all in jeopardy.
Backups are like insurance for your WordPress website. If something ever goes wrong, you can quickly restore your site to a backed-up version in one click and prevent prolonged downtime and loss of functionality.
But what causes websites to go down? And what’s the fastest, easiest way to back up your WordPress site? In this post, we’ll look at the importance of taking regular backups of your site and run through a step-by-step tutorial on using Jetpack to handle the full backup process.
Why you need backups
While there are a variety of reasons you might want to restore a website backup, here are a few of the most common:
1. Your site was hacked
No matter how many security measures you put in place, any site can be hacked and be infected by malware. A hacked website hurts your business, especially if it goes down completely, and could even lead to search engine penalties.
2. An update went wrong
It’s important that you update WordPress regularly, along with your WordPress themes and plugins. This ensures that everything is functioning properly and is a key aspect of site security. But depending on which plugins and themes you’re using, an update could be incompatible with another plugin, leading to a broken site.
3. Your host made a mistake
A good WordPress hosting company is critical for a successful site. But even the best WordPress hosts aren’t infallible! One of our customers came to us after his hosting provider accidentally deleted the folder containing his 1.6 GB website, a perfect example of why you shouldn’t rely solely on backups provided by your web host.
4. You made a mistake
It’s always possible that you, or a member of your team, make the mistake that breaks something. You may accidentally delete a page or write an error into your website code.
Why you should avoid manual backups
You always have the option to create a full-site backup through your hosting control panel rather than with a plugin like Jetpack. Though the exact process and will vary depending on your host, you’d typically:
- Navigate to your control panel.
- Search for a site backup option. There will usually be a button in your cpanel that says something like “generate a full backup.”
- Download the ZIP file that is generated to your chosen storage location.
Some managed WordPress hosts may offer automatic backups as part of your pricing plan (or at least as a premium version), so you may want to ask your provider if this is included. However, it’s important not to be completely reliant on your host’s backups, as they can be infrequent or become corrupted. You can also download all the files in your “public_html” folder or through phpMyAdmin, if your hosting provider allows it. Make sure you separately copy your WordPress database, which is critical to a full website restore. Learn how to back up your database.
There are a lot of problems with taking manual backups, however:
- If you don’t remember (or know how) to back up every single file on your site, you run the risk of not being able to fully restore it. This means you’ll need a thorough knowledge of PHP and navigating the generic SQL / MySQL database using an appropriate file manager.
- You’ll need to set time aside every month/week/day to manually download all of your files.
- You might run into data protection issues if you’re storing customer data from, for example, WooCommerce locally or on a staging site.
The benefits of Jetpack Backup
Though there are a variety of WordPress backup methods available, Jetpack provides the easiest storage option for your site. You can just set it and forget it, enjoying the peace of mind of knowing your website’s protected.
Here are a few features that make Jetpack stand out:
No complicated setup: In most cases, there’s no need to configure any settings at all! Install Jetpack, purchase a plan that includes backups, and it’s ready to go. No messing around downloading the files yourself and uploading them to your cloud storage like Google Drive or Dropbox – the whole process takes place automatically, directly within your WordPress dashboard.
Daily or real-time backups, depending on your plan: While daily backups are already a huge help, a lot can happen on your site in 24 hours. Jetpack’s real-time backups save a new copy of your site any time a major change is made, which is particularly helpful if you’re editing your code and are concerned that it might cause a problem. Clearly, there’s no way you could run a manual backup every time anything on your site changes – that’s the benefit of automatic backups! Learn more about why real-time backups are so important.
30-day or unlimited backup archive: Plans with a daily backup schedule include a 30-day archive, while plans with real-time backups offer unlimited backup storage. Check out our different pricing plans to see which best suits your site.
Excellent customer support. Our Happiness Engineers are WordPress experts. Read one customer’s support experiences.
Off-site backup storage: If your site goes down, you need access to your backups. If they’re stored on your hosting platform (or your hard drive!), and your files are compromised, your database backup could be compromised too. Jetpack’s off-site backup storage allows you to restore a clean version of your website even if you can’t log in.
Jetpack Backup works particularly well with the Jetpack Activity add-on, a critical feature for both site management and backups. It records a full list of website activities, including page and post updates, login attempts, plugin installations and removals, theme and plugin updates, and setting modifications.
If your site goes down, you can use Jetpack Activity to pinpoint the exact action that caused the issue, whether that’s a hacker accessing the site or a new plugin update, and restore a backup from just before that activity took place.
Jetpack’s combination of features allows you to restore your website with no coding experience, no wait, and no troubleshooting. With the click of a button, you can get back to managing your website and connecting with your clients and customers.
Get started with Jetpack‘s backup solution and know that your site is protected.
What data does Jetpack back up?
Jetpack’s WordPress backup plugin backs up the following data:
- Your WordPress database. (Specifically, any tables that begin with your WordPress table prefix and also have a unique key or primary key.)
- All files in the
- Everything in your WordPress root directory that is not another WordPress install.
- Other select site files inside the wp-content directory.
This set of data includes all the unique and irreplaceable data you have stored in WordPress and everything properly integrated into the WordPress installation. In addition to the data that we back up and store, we also use (and store) your server access credentials (if provided): SSH and/or FTP/SFTP. These credentials are explicitly provided by you when activating Jetpack Backups.
We do not back up:
- Core WordPress files, since the WordPress core can be downloaded from WordPress.org at any time.
- Files outside the directories listed above.
- Database tables that don’t look like they belong to WordPress.
- Database tables whose rows have no unique identifier.
- Cache and backup directories.
- Additional WordPress installs. (In subdirectories, for example.)
You can also choose not to backup files using the tag
.donotbackup anywhere in the file name. If need be, you can create these files yourself to intentionally prevent certain directories from being backed up. If a directory named
donotbackup is added, we will also exclude all files inside that directory.
How to enable Jetpack Backup
- You can add backups to your Jetpack plan at any time by going to Jetpack → Dashboard → Plans in your WP Admin dashboard. Backups are automatically activated after checkout.
- You’ll know that your site is backed up successfully when you see a backup entry in your website’s Activity.
If you don’t see backups being saved, you may need to update site credentials In your WordPress.com dashboard, navigate to Manage → Settings → Security and follow the prompt to Add Site Credentials.
For more help, read our full instructions.
How to restore your website
If you do run into trouble with your site, it only takes a few steps to restore a backup.
- Go to WordPress.com, click My Sites in the top left corner, and choose the site you want to restore.
- Click Activity in the left-hand menu. There, you’ll see a list of all activities that have taken place on your site in the last 30 days or longer, depending on your plan. For each event, you’ll see the type of activity, time that it took place, and which user performed the action. If needed, you can search and filter the activity log to find a specific event that occurred on your site.
- When you find the point that you’d like to restore your site to, click the three dots to the right of the activity description.
- Select Restore to this Point. Alternatively, you can download the backup for your own records.
- Click Confirm Restore.
- Your site will begin the restore process. You can keep track of its progress at the top of the Activity page. Once it’s complete, you’ll get a confirmation message.
That’s it! Just a few clicks will get your site back up and running.
If your website is hacked or goes down for any reason, your first reaction might be panic. But with the right measures in place, you’ll be prepared to handle a broken site quickly.
Explore the benefits of Jetpack
Learn how Jetpack can help you protect, speed up, and grow your WordPress site.Compare plans