It’s a relatively small, simple task – and it helps protect your WordPress website. Please back up and update your WordPress sites!
After I finish working with a client I give them a set of instructions detailing how to keep their site updated and how to back it up from time to time. This sort of housekeeping seems to be much like actual housekeeping – no one ever wants to do it!
So i’m here to tell you it’s easy, it’s simple – and it’s really worthwhile. A properly updated site helps keep hackers out and your site functioning smoothly. Having a back up version of your site means that if someone does hack you, you break your site somehow or something else awful happens to your site – you have the ability to replace it.
Most web hosts will back up your site as part of their own safekeeping, so you’re most likely already covered. I have found that sometimes things go wrong with host backups, additionally hosts only back up your site for a limited amount of time so if you haven’t checked your site in a while and then find that it has been hacked – there might not be a good copy of it to restore – eek!
That’s why I manually back up my site and recommend that others do too.
For smaller sites I use BackupBuddy. It’s a premium plugin that you install on your site. It will run regular backups and automatically upload them to a online storage service like Dropbox – or you can just download your backups and keep them safe on your computer. Make sure you read all the instructions, particularly around setting a password and downloading an importbuddy.php file – you need that if you ever need to restore your site.
If your site is large or busy (or you just want it to be all taken care of for you) – I would recommend using a service that will do all the work for you. I have used Vaultpress and their price is reasonable, their service has been good – and thus far, no complaints!
There are lots of other free and paid services to use to back up your site, I’m sure you can find one to fit your needs.
To keep your site safe from hackers, it’s best to update any plugins or the WordPress core when the updates become available. You’ll see a little notice bar at the top of the WordPress dashboard that lets you know when you need to do an update.
Click on that and it will take you to the updates page. There are three categories of updates:
- WordPress Core Update: this updates the overall wordpress software, it’s usually a good idea to do this before any other updates
- Plugin Updates: these update whichever plugins you have on your site
- Theme updates: These update your theme (make sure you’re using a child theme or it will overwrite all your theme changes!)
It’s important to note that some updates can break a theme, meaning when you run the update your site goes wonky (or sometimes completely breaks). I have found this to be very unusual though. This is why I recommend that before you update you have backed up, you have access to your FTP so you can remove a faulty plugin (or you have your web developer / host on speed dial).
If any of this seems way too hard, perhaps you should switch to a managed WordPress host like Flywheel or WPEngine, I’ve started recommending these hosts to my clients who want all the tech stuff managed for them.
Go on – go get your housekeeping done, you’ll feel much better afterwards, and then you can relax.