When it comes to backing up your WordPress website, there a lot of options. You can use a paid service like CodeGuard, use an option in cPanel to make a backup, or use one of the many available WordPress plugins.
I used CodeGuard for a year, because it came as a recommended ‘Additional service’ with my Hostgator web hosting account. Back then, I didn’t know you could get cheaper Hostgator hosting by avoiding the additional services. I cancelled Codeguard before it renewed, as I figured out you can make backups for free by then.
First, I made manual backups, using cPanel’s ‘Backup’ option. This allows you to make a backup of all your hosted websites at once. However, the backup process takes quite a while, and you have to make your backups manually.
WordPress backup to Dropbox Plugin
I started trying a few free WordPress plugins to make automatic backups, and I liked a plugin called ‘WordPress Backup to Dropbox‘ (or WPB2D for short) best. This plugin will make automatic backups of your WordPress website to your Dropbox account. You can even set it to make backups daily. In this article, I’ll show you how to install this plugin, and set it up correctly.
Full video instructions:
Create a Dropbox account
For this plugin to work, you’ll need a DropBox account. Dropbox is a well-known cloud storage service. With a free account, you will get 2GB of free storage space; enough to make a backups for at least a dozen average-sized websites. If you don’t have a Dropbox account yet, you can create one by going to Dropbox.com. If you want to get another free 500MB of free storage space, for 2.5GB total, you can sign up using my my referral link.
Installing the WPB2D WordPress plugin
Once you have a Dropbox account, you can start installing the WordPress plugin.
Go to WordPress, click ‘Plugins’, and then ’Add new‘.
Search for the plugin ‘WordPress Backup to Dropbox’.
Click ‘Install now‘ on the first search result. Then click ‘Activate plugin’ to activate it.
Once activated, you can find the plugin in the sidebar. Click on the link in the sidebar, and then click ‘Authorize’. This will connect your plugin to your Dropbox account.
You’ll be taken to a page on Dropbox, asking permission for the plugin to create and use a folder in your Dropbox account. Click ‘Allow‘. The plugin is now connected to your Dropbox account.
You can now close this page on Dropbox.
Back on WordPress, click ‘Continue’.
You will now have to configure the plugin. If you have multiple websites you want to backup, you’ll have to create a subfolder for each one. Check the checkbox after ‘Store backup in a subfolder of the wpb2d app folder’, and make a subfolder for your website.
With the ‘Day and Time’ and ‘Frequency’ options, you can select when, and how often, you want to back up, using the dropdown menu.
Once you have selected all of your preferred options, click ‘Save Changes’.
That’s all you need to do to set up this plugin. Now, it’ll automatically make backups of your website to your Dropbox account.
Additional information on the WordPress backup to Dropbox plugin
Once the plugin has made a backup, you’ll see the date and time under ‘Backup History’. For more details on your last backup, you can click ‘Backup monitor’ in the sidebar. Here you’ll see exactly which files have been updated, and at what exact time.
The first ever backup will take the longest, as your entire site will be backed up to your Dropbox account. New backups will only replace the files that have been updated since your last backup. So, your WordPress website files will be ‘synched’ with your Dropbox folder.
Even though this means Dropbox will only keep the latest backup of your site, you actually have access to previous versions of your backup, up to 30 days back. This is because Dropbox includes a feature that allows you to restore files to previous versions. For the full instructions on that, read restoring previous versions of files in Dropbox.
You can find your backed up files by going to Dropbox, clicking on the ‘Apps‘ folder, then on ‘wpb2d‘. If you have created a subfolder, then you’ll also have to open the subfolder you have created to find your backup files.
Your .sql database file is also backed up. You can find it by opening the ‘wp-content‘ folder, and then opening the ‘backups‘ folder.
If you ever need to restore your website from a backup made with this plugins, you can use another plugin to easily restore your website. To download this plugin, and read the full instructions on that process, read this page by the plugin author.