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Always Backup Before You Change Anything. Seriously.

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I’m sure you’ve read about if before. Before or after a tutorial on how to improve your site with a script, plugin or just plain regular hack. Read what you ask? To backup first and foremost. As you may have noticed BloggingPro went offline for a while due to serious hardware failure. As soon as it was fixed all that had to be done was restore the backup. I had a similar problem to other day where updating a bunch of modified PHP files via FTP at the same time somehow screwed up the contents of these files and subsequently a lot of data. Boy was I glad I backed up…

Backing up your software sounds like a chore to most of us out there, but I guarantee you you will thank yourself for doing it plus there a plenty of solutions to automate it.

Perhaps you’re not really sure when to backup and when not? Here’s just a few things you could be doing that in my opinion requires a backup first:

  • Activating a plugin that uses the database to store it’s settings and other stuff
  • Adding a sweet code snippet to your functions.php
  • When you’re about to modify any theme template file.
  • Before updating your WordPress installation to the latest WordPress version (on a sidenote: WordPress released it’s 3.0 RC2)
  • Adding just a few lines of CSS to any stylesheet

There a few things you should backup on a regular basis:

  • Your Theme folder
  • The complete contents of wp-content
  • The complete WordPress installation
  • Your Database

The frequency of these backup depend entirely on how active your site is, but my general rule of thumb is at least every day. At least. Backing up your theme folder every now and then is only really necessary if you’re one of those people who like to temper with the different template files and your style sheet. But again, better be safe then sorry so there’s really no overkill in these kinds of things.

I know we talk about a lot here, but these things ARE really life savers. So confession time: honestly, how well are you prepared for accidental screw ups, hardware failures or even hacked sites? How many times do you back up?

Photo Credit: Pong

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Comments

  1. Stephen TBA ) says: 6/5/2010

    Good advice. I backup everything on a daily basis. The database gets emailed and an Outlook rule files it away.

    One of my biggest headaches is updating custom_functions.php in the Thesis theme. It always, always seem to break when I add code. I learned the hard way to paste the original into Notepad before making changes and uploading the Notepad original via FTP if things go wrong.

    Reply

    • Remkus ) says: 6/5/2010

      Good thing to backup those kinds of files, yes. My advice would be to use Notepad++ instead though as it comes with PHP syntax highlighting.

      Reply

  2. Brian Woodland ) says: 6/13/2010

    Wow. I wish I had read this post the day you published it. Just a few days later I upgraded to the most recent stable version of WordPress. And… I lost everything. Lost about 50 blog posts. Lost all the modifications to my theme. Starting over. Hard lessons learned, but I did learn it. Thankfully, all my posts on are on my wife’s Google Reader. So, I’m restoring them one by one.

    Great article. I will put it to use.

    Reply

  3. Bathroom Suites Guru says: 12/26/2010

    There’s so many plugins available to backup nowadays it’s easy. i guess it’s just a matter of opinion which is the best. Although I think setting up a cron job is the best practice.

    Reply

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