Regularly backing up your database and files is one of the most important things to do when running a website. One never knows what could happen and the words have become infamous:
I was sure I had a backup.
Most database plugins for WordPress offer the option to weekly backup your database and even email it to you but if you have a popular site, you might want to prefer a more frequent backup routine. Imagine how many posts and comments Gawker would lose if they only kept weekly backups and suffered problems the 6th day after their last backup.
Another problem with all database plugins is that they will not backup your files. With server storage space being really cheap nowadays, you can easily have several backup procedures in place, even if you host many pictures on your blog.
Personally I have three different, totally automated backup routines, using cron jobs:
The reason why I also use weekly and monthly backups is because if you have a corrupted database, probably your daily backups will be corrupted and unusable. This can happen on sites you do not use on a daily basis.
Daily backups are overwritten every 7 days, weekly and monthly backups are stored with attached timestamp.
Because most web hosting companies offer cPanel in their package, this tutorial is based on cPanel but the syntax is the same for Plesk and other backends.
What Are Cron Jobs
Cron is driven by a crontab, a configuration file that specifies shell commands to run periodically on a given schedule.
Backing up your database.
In your cPanel (http://yoururl/cpanel) under the header Advanced Tools, you will find a link Cron Jobs. Click this link or click the icon on the right if your cPanel is setup with icons.
On the next page choose Advanced (Unix Style). There is no real difference between both options, the needed attention level is the same and in both simple and advanced you have to fill in the correct command.
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