How to Backup WordPress Site? (Full vs Partial Backup Methods)

Whenever it comes to establishing a business online presence, WordPress has been one of the most preferred choices regardless of which business niche the user belongs to.

Consequently, WordPress hosting providers have also greatly improvised their uptime and system redundancy. Things might have sounded flawless till now, but there are several WordPress errors that can crash your website within just a few seconds.

Such hazards can result in increased development back-and-forth and a decreased loyal customer base. In times of such consequences, WordPress backup works as a boon by aiding you with quick web file restoration and maintaining a standard web presence. Let’s understand it in detail.

What is WordPress Backup?

WordPress backup is a complete collection of copied web files, that can be restored in case of any unexpected incidents such as; server crashes, plugins/theme conflicts, or any other WordPress errors.

There are multiple ways you can conduct a backup process in WordPress;

  • Backup WordPress website through web host
  • Using WordPress backup plugin
  • Manual WordPress backup via C-panel
  • Manual WordPress backup via FTP Account

However, all WordPress backup processes are not built the same. There are several yet quick steps you have to conduct to conclude each of those in the correct way. So that there is no fear of losing any data on your WordPress website.

Taking a WordPress website is the most crucial factor for eCommerce and law firm website owners, as their WordPress admin dashboard includes query data such as customer requirements and contact information.

The reason can be anything from complex server failure, or malware, to simple human error that can wipe out 1-2 months in web re-development, and cause significant loss to business growth and assets graphics.

WordPress backup is a safeguarding shield against such scenarios. Moving ahead – let’s understand the importance of WordPress backup and must-backup web files so that during restoring the backup WordPress site you can access the most crucial ones.

Why Backup WordPress Website?

As a WordPress website owner, protecting your users’ data from unexpected events is a major responsibility. Creating a WordPress backup file is one of the ways to do so.

Complex security threats such as hackers, malware, and server failures can compromise your site and lead to data loss. If you’re unable to troubleshoot the issue, it can be challenging to recover the website and user data.

A backup helps you to overcome this by saving important site files:

  • WordPress database
  • Plugins
  • Theme
  • Media files
  • WP core files; wp-admin, wp-content, and wp-includes

Even if you are locked out by an error or cyber attack, using a WordPress manual backup, you can restore site authorization back.

We suggest you note that WordPress doesn’t offer a built-in option for automatic backup of your WordPress site. You’d have to manually back up the site using the hosting service’s cPanel or an FTP client.

ALERT! If technical terms are entirely out of your scope, better take assistance from dedicated WordPress experts or register for website maintenance packages. As one accidental tap and boom! Your entire business online appearance will be wiped out from the millions of users you were about to target.

Which WordPress Files Should Have a Backup?

The short answer to this question is all.

There are basically two types of backups you can download from your WordPress site: 

  1. Partial WordPress File Backup
  2. Full WordPress Site Backup.

As partial backups aren’t defined as useful for WordPress backup restoration, we don’t ever recommend taking a backup of a particular web file.

Indeed, if you want to restore a theme or plugin, this partial backup can be helpful, but having a complete WordPress backup is always better, ensuring everything gets placed as per the web version you are trying to restore.

To make these explanations more apparent to you, here is a short primer on the structure of a WordPress website. There are two core components of a WordPress website:

  • Files: The files include WordPress core files, plugins, themes, configuration and settings, and uploaded media.
  • Database: Includes every content generated by the user side; user information, links, comments, pages and posts. This data gets collected in the form of tables such as wp_posts and wp_comments.

Together, they constitute your WordPress website. As we mentioned below, you’ll get to explore multiple ways to backup just the WordPress files or just the WordPress database. 

We advise doing the opposite of this, as it becomes much more challenging to restore a website from a partial backup. Always go for a full WordPress backup, and later cherry-pick the bits you want to restore thereafter.

Full Backup vs Partial Backup

Demonstrating two main types of WordPress website backups:

1. Full Backup:

Full WordPress backups include all the files and data associated with your site, such as themes, plugins, media uploads, and the database. A WordPress full backup allows for a complete restoration of the entire site.

Pros of Full WordPress Site Backup:

  • Rapid Restoration: WordPress full backup provides fast restoration to ensure efficient recovery.
  • Simplified Storage: All the data is stored on a single version for easy storage management.
  • Hassle-Free Version Control: Enables seamless maintenance and restoration of various versions.
  • Effortless File Search: Facilitates easy and convenient file searches.

Cons of Full WordPress Site Backup:

  • High Storage Demand: Requires significant storage space compared to other methods.
  • Lengthy Backup Times: Backup processes can be time-consuming depending on file size.
  • Elevated Cost: Additional storage needs contribute to higher expenses, making it costlier.
  • Increased Data Loss Risk: Concentrated data storage raises the vulnerability to data loss.

2. Partial Backup:

Partially backing up a WordPress site focuses on specific elements of your WordPress site. This can involve backing up only the database, which contains essential website data like posts, pages, comments, and settings.

Alternatively, you can choose to back up only the files, which include themes, plugins, and media uploads. Partial site backups are useful when you want to restore specific components of your site without affecting the rest.

Pros of Partial WordPress File Backup:

  • Optimized Storage Usage: Files aren’t duplicated entirely, leading to efficient storage consumption.
  • Swift Backups: The backup process is exceptionally fast.
  • Flexible Recovery Points: Frequent incremental backups create distinct recovery points.

Cons of Partial WordPress File Backup:

  • Lengthy Restoration: Data restoration takes time due to assembling from various backups.
  • Dependency on Backup Files: Successful recovery relies on the integrity of all backup files.
  • Complex File Search: Restoring specific files requires searching through multiple backup sets.

Methods to Backup WordPress Site

Backing up your WordPress site is essential to safeguard your data and ensure quick recovery of a website in case of data loss or website issues. There are several methods to backup a WordPress site. Here we’ll outline some of the most common ones:

Method 1: Backup WordPress Site Using Web Host

As 43.2% of all websites on the internet are based on WordPress, several web hosting providers, such as WP Engine,, and WPMU Dev, offer specialized WordPress website hosting, which is defined as managed WordPress hosting.

Considering such managed WordPress hosting providers, your site can be really useful for each personalized WordPress tailored functionalities also, including for the backup.

Moreover, other web hosting providers also offer WordPress site backup as a part of services only. Depending on the web plan you choose, sometimes backup gets considered as an add-on or bundled with their hosting plans.

Steps to Backup WordPress Site Using Web Host

For this, first, you’ll need to figure out if backups are included in your plan or not. To do so, you can check out the current hosting plan you are enrolled in or reach out to the hosting support team.

Please Note: We have used WP Engine screenshots for this WordPress backup tutorial. The restoration steps may vary depending on your web host.

Once you get an answer to this, you can set up web host backups in just a few easy steps:

Step 1: Log into the hosting dashboard.

log into the hosting dashboard

Step 2: Navigate to the site you want to take back up.

Step 3: Look for a backup option. It will either be in a menu or in the navigation panel.

look for a backup option

Step 4: Follow onscreen instructions to complete the full WordPress site backup.

complete the full WordPress site backup

There are also web hosting providers like Hostinger, GoDaddy, and Bluehost that offer to set up automatic scheduled backups. Their backup functionalities also offer backup options including – ‘How many backups do you want to store?’ and ‘Which parts of the website do you want to backup?’.

Method 2: Backup Site Using WordPress Plugin Backup

This is the easiest and most beginner-friendly way to create a WordPress backup.

There are multiple ways to choose the best plugin for your WordPress site. As a suggestion, for now, you can consider UpdraftPlus. It is the best WordPress backup plugin that’s used to back up, migrate, and clone websites by over 3M+ professionals.

For this tutorial, we’ll be using the UpdraftPlus backup plugin because it includes more features like scheduled backups, recovery points, cloud storage integration, migration tools, and more. You can also use a free version of UpdraftPlus to get started.

With the plugin installed, your next step is to create a backup for your WordPress website.

This is a crucial step before performing maintenance or updates to your site, as it allows you to revert changes if you experience problems quickly. The backups will also be critical when recovering from a website hack or malware.

Steps to Backup Site Using WordPress Plugin Backup

First, you’ll need to complete the plugin installing WordPress process and activate UpdraftPlus.

Having a backup plugin is a crucial step before performing significant maintenance or updates to your site, as it allows you to revert changes if you experience problems quickly.

The backups will also be important folders when restoring WordPress sites from hacking or malware. Steps to backup your WordPress site with UpdraftPlus:

Step 1: Navigate to the Plugins page from the WordPress admin panel.

Step 2: Under UpdraftPlus, tap on Settings.

Step 3: You’ll get to see UpdraftPlus Backups in the left navigation menu.

Step 4: Choose your settings. Below is an outline of the available options.

Step 5: After choosing backup settings, tap on Save Changes.

Step 6: You will then see a message stating, “Your settings have been saved.” If you choose the schedule backup option, it will run that way.

Steps for Immediate Manual UpdraftPlus Backup:

Step 1: Open current status.

Step 2: Click the backup now button.

click the backup now button

Step 3: From there, you’ll be able to choose if you want to include the database and files or not in the backup.

Step 4: Then click on the backup now button.

The backup will begin to run. Backup time will be based on the size of your files and database. The Last log message section will show “complete” when it finishes.

completion status updated

Steps to Download WordPress Site Backup Using UpdraftPlus

Step 1: Navigate to Settings → UpdraftPlus Backups.

Step 2: Scroll down to Existing Backups to view available backups.

Step 3: You will see your backups listed. Click on the backup you want to download. Options are Database, Plugins, Themes, Uploads, and Others. In this example, we are downloading a backup of the database.

Step 4: Click Download on your computer.

Step 5: The backup will be downloaded to your computer as a compressed file.

Method 3: Manually Backup WordPress Site Using cPanel

Manual WordPress backup benefits, when you are unable to access the WordPress admin panel so that you can restore the website by uploading the backup from the Cpanel. For this tutorial, we will be using Bluehost.

Please Note: The settings may vary depending on the hosting service you’re using.

Steps to Manually Backup WordPress Site Using cPanel

Step 1: Log in to the cPanel from the hosting provider.

Step 2: Go to the ‘Advanced’ tab from the menu.

Step 3: Click the File Manager option under the Files section.

file manager in cpanel

Step 4: In a new tab or window, the file manager will now open.

Step 5: Next, you need to select the public_html folder from the menu on the left and click the ‘+’ button to expand it.

expand public_html folder

Step 6: Select the folder with your website name.

Step 7: Click the ‘Compress’ option at the top.

Step 8: A new window will now pop up.

Step 9: Go ahead and select the ‘Zip Archive’ option.

Step 10: Click the ‘Compress Files’ button.

Once the zip is ready, you will see the zip on the same path that you can download from there directly.

After downloading the site zip, you will need to export the database as well manually. 

Step 11: Open PHPMyAdmin first and find the associate database of the website.

open PHPMyAdmin

Step 12: Once the PHPMyAdmin opens, you can select a database from the menu on your left.

Step 13: After that, select the tables you’d like to backup and click the Export button at the top.

click on export button to export backup

Step 14: On the next screen, you can keep the ‘Export method’ as Quick. For the ‘Format’, you’d want to select SQL.

Step 15: Once that’s done, go ahead and click the ‘Go’ button.

You can now save the SQL file on your computer in a secure location as a backup.

Method 4: Manually Backup a WordPress Site Using FTP

Backup using FTP should be the last option as it’s too slow a process to backup the website by downloading it via FTP.

All FTP clients provide this facility, let’s say you are using Filezilla as it’s used by developers widely to connect FTPs.

Steps to Manually Backup a WordPress Site Using FTP

Step 1: First you will need to connect FTP

Step 2: Head to the root directory of your website from the panel.

Step 3: This is where you’ll find folders like wp-content, wp-admin, and other important files like wp-config and .htaccess.

Step 4: Right-click any folder or file you want to backup

Step 5: After that, simply click the ‘Download’ option.

download backup

As most WordPress websites include hundreds or thousands of files – the download might take a while.

Once it’s done, we recommend that you rename that folder to the date of the backup and then store it in a safe location.

This way, you can easily recover your website by uploading the saved files using the FTP client.

FAQs About Taking WordPress Backup

Are there any precautions to take when backing up my WordPress site?
Ensure that your backup files are stored securely, and consider encrypting sensitive data. Additionally, regularly test your backups to make sure they are working correctly.
Which backup method is best for my WordPress site?
The best method depends on your specific needs. Using a reputable backup plugin is the most convenient option for most users, but you can also perform manual backups if you prefer more control.
Which backup method is best for my WordPress site?
The best method depends on your specific needs. Using a reputable backup plugin is the most convenient option for most users, but you can also perform manual backups if you prefer more control.


There are various methods to take backups of the WordPress website, but the fastest way is using the Cpanel or plugin method. Actually, it would help if you did not wait for something to happen with the site and then search for backup.

It’s always safe to have regular website backups that enable you to maintain a managed WordPress site. Besides that, if you need assistance regarding the backup process for a dedicated plugin or a manual source, feel free to reach out to our experts.

Mehul Patel is a seasoned IT Engineer with expertise as a WordPress Developer. With a strong background in Core PHP and WordPress, he has excelled in website development, theme customization, and plugin development.

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