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How to Backup & Restore Your WordPress Site with UpdraftPlus

Backups are the first layer of security for any WordPress site. Aside from having automated backups, you also need to have an easy way to restore the backup if needed. In this article, we will show you how to easily backup and restore your WordPress site with UpdraftPlus.

UpdraftPlus

Why You Need a Backup & Restore Solution for WordPress?

Research shows that data loss and downtime cost $1.7 trillion each year to the globally economy.

All websites on the internet are vulnerable to data loss and security threats. As a website owner, these are some common scenarios when you may lose your data:

  • Your website can get hacked and hackers may destroy your data.
  • Your hosting provider can lose your data
  • Your host reserves the right to terminate your account and delete all your data.

There are many other scenarios where you could end up losing your website and all the valuable data created over the years.

The best way to protect yourself against these threats is to regularly backup your WordPress site.

WordPress does not come with a built-in backup solution. However, there are several great WordPress backup plugins which allow you to automatically backup and restore your WordPress site.

UpdraftPlus is one of the best WordPress backup plugins. It allows you to setup automatic backup schedules. It will also help you restore your WordPress site in case something bad happens.

Having said that, let’s take a look at how to easily backup and restore your WordPress site with UpdraftPlus.

Creating WordPress Backup with UpdraftPlus

First thing you need to do is install and activate the UpdraftPlus plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » UpdraftPlus Backups page to configure plugin settings.

Settings page UpdraftPlus

Now you need to click on the settings tab.

This is where you will set up an automatic backup schedule and a remote location to store your backups.

UpdraftPlus settings

First you need to choose a backup schedule for your files. Files include your WordPress themes, plugins, images and other uploads.

After that you need to select a backup schedule for your WordPress database. WordPress is a database driven software. All your posts and pages, comments, website settings, are stored in the database.

Your backup schedule should be based on how often you add new content to your website.

For example, If you add two blog posts each week, then you can select a fortnightly backup of files and weekly backup of database.

Next, you need to choose where to store your backup files.

It is a bad idea to save your backups on the same location as your website. Losing your website, means you will also lose access to your backup files.

This is why you need to choose a remote cloud storage service to store your backups.

UpdraftPlus allows you to save your backups to several cloud storage services including Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and many others. You can also send your backups to an email address.

Simply click on a remote service to select it, and you will see setup instructions below.

For the sake of this tutorial, we will show you how to use Dropbox as your remote backup storage service with UpdraftPlus.

We will go ahead and click on Dropbox to select it and then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the save changes button.

UpdraftPlus will save your settings. However, you still need to give UpdraftPlus access to your Dropbox account.

Scroll down to remote storage setup instructions and click on the link next to ‘Authenticate with Dropbox’ option.

Setting up Dropbox as your remote storage service for backups

The link will take you to the Dropbox website where you will be asked to sign-in using your Dropbox email and password.

After login, you will be asked if you want to allow UpdraftPlus to access your Dropbox account.

Allow UpdraftPlus to access Dropbox

UpdraftPlus will only have permission to access its own folder in ‘Apps » UpdraftPlus” folder. Click on ‘Allow’ button to continue.

You will be redirected to UpdraftPlus website where you need to click on ‘Complete Setup’ button to finish setup.

Complete setup

You will now be taken back to your WordPress site, and you will see the UpdraftPlus settings page again. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the Save Changes button.

You have now set up a backup schedule and remote location to store your backups.

Creating Manual WordPress Backups with UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus can automatically create backups based on the schedule you selected earlier. However, you can also manually create backups any time you want.

First you need to visit Settings » UpdraftPlus Backups and click on ‘Backup Now’ button.

Creating a manual backup with UpdraftPlus

This will bring up a pop-up with options to select files/database backup and whether you want to send the backup to remote storage. (see which WordPress files should you backup?)

Manual backup

Click on the ‘Backup Now’ button to continue.

UpdraftPlus will now start creating backup of your files and database. You will be able to see the progress on the settings page.

Backup Progress

The process may take a while depending on the size of your website.

UpdraftPlus will also start uploading your backup files to the remote location.

Restoring Your WordPress Backup with UpdraftPlus

Creating backups is easy, but the real useful part about backups is the ability to restore them with the same ease.

UpdraftPlus makes it easy to restore your WordPress site from a backup.

If your WordPress site was hacked or you want to start fresh, then first you will need to delete everything and install WordPress again.

Next, you will need to install and activate the UpdraftPlus plugin again on your fresh new WordPress site.

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » UpdraftPlus Backups page and click on Restore button.

This will bring you to the backups page. UpdraftPlus will scan your server to see if it can find an existing backup in /wp-content/updraft/ folder on your website.

However, since you deleted everything from your website it will not be able to find the backup files.

If you saved the backup files on your computer, then you can click on ‘Upload backup files’ link to manually upload and restore them.

Upload backup files manually

You can also connect UpdraftPlus to remote location (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc). This way UpdraftPlus will be able to scan remote location and use your previously stored backups.

Click on the Settings tab and then choose the remote location you used earlier to store your backups.

Reconnect remote storage location

Follow the instructions to authenticate your website with the remote storage service.

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Changes’ button at the bottom of the page to restore your settings.

Now you can switch back to ‘Existing Backups’ tab and click on the ‘Rescan remote location’ link.

Remote backups

UpdraftPlus will now look for backups in the remote storage location and display them below.

You can now click on the restore button next to a backup.

UpdraftPlus will now ask you what you would like to restore. You need to select all options and then click ‘Restore’ button.

Restore options

UpdraftPlus will now fetch your backup files from the remote location and start restoring your site from the backup.

Our UpdraftPlus Review

UpdraftPlus is a powerful WordPress backup plugin, and it’s a great option for DIY users who want the flexibility to choose their backup schedule and remote storage location.

Because UpdraftPlus is free, it’s a popular choice among users. However you can upgrade to UpdraftPlus Premium to access premium addons such as Website Migrator, UpdraftVault, priority support, and more options. The premium option costs $70 per year.

However like most WordPress backup plugins, UpdraftPlus lacks the ability to do realtime backups of your website.

If you want real-time backups, unlimited storage, and don’t want to pay a third-party storage service like Dropbox, then we recommend using VaultPress instead. This is what we use on WPBeginner.

The downside of VaultPress is cost. The real-time backup plan for one site costs $165 per year which is more than twice UpdraftPlus premium which gets you access for two sites and obviously a non-comparison with the free version.

Final Thoughts

Backups allow you to recover your website in an emergency. However, they cannot protect your website against common security threats like hacking, malware, code injection, etc.

At WPBeginner, we use Sucuri to protect our site (see how Sucuri helped us block 450,000 WordPress attacks).

You need to make sure that your WordPress site is secure. Follow the instructions in our ultimate WordPress security guide to strengthen your WordPress security.

That’s all, we hope this article helped you easily backup and restore WordPress sites with UpdraftPlus.

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Reader Interactions

46 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. I backup daily. How do I go into Dropbox and delete all the files from a year ago to create more space?

  2. Hello,
    I am trying to back my website up to Microsoft OneDrive as I have their subscription for 1 TB of storage. When I tried to do the first backup, there was an error. How do I connect my OneDrive account to UpDraft? I see that there is an option to do it by paying $15 but since I already have the space, I am wondering how I can do it without paying extra. I used to have DropBox, which hooked up automatically.
    Thank you for your assistance,
    Karen

    • That addon is what allows UpdraftPlus to connect to OneDrive. If you are not using UpdraftPlus’ premium version then you would sadly need to purchase the addon for the connection.

      Admin

  3. 1. I’m trying to create a backup for a fairly small (new) wordpress website.
    It’s been about an hour and the advancement bar has only reached about 1/5 of the way. Is this normal for the backup to take so long?
    2. Can I continue working on the website while doing the backup?
    Thanks!

    • 1. No, you may want to ensure that page hasn’t had a hiccup and timed out

      2. Any changes may not be saved so normally you would want to wait for the backup to finish.

      Admin

  4. Dearest WPbeginners!

    I have the UpdraftPlus backup Plugin and till I read your post I had chosen Dropbox as the backup-place. But each time the backup was unsuccesfull.
    Today I chose the FTP method, and they could find the server.
    But then there is the blanc window for ‘extern path’ – ‘must exist’.
    As a Wpbeginner I don’t know where in my FTP I have to make such a path (there a re so many maps), and how to name it.
    Can you help me out?

    Magda, from Amsterdam

    • For the specific errors you are running into, if you reach out to UpdraftPlus and let them know they should be able to fix the problem with their plugin.

      Admin

  5. thank you so much – wp beginner always come up with an awesome article – i always follow your new updates and its highly informative –
    with updraft i have absolutely no qualms at all whatsoever – but recently when i crashed my webpage and couldnt log back all i could see was blank screen with error — though i had backup through updraft in my DROPBOX but couldnt find any necessary article or video on how to retrieve back my website from Dropbox when you go into a blind situation like me
    thanks

  6. Sir, When updraft plugin takes auto backup of my WordPress site, then in between of this backup my WordPress site goes down. Sir please suggest me a solution.

  7. Great plugin, although when I back-up to Dropbox, back-ups will appear on the website diskspace, when I’ve pointed them towards Dropbox. How do I get Updraft to just back-up to Dropbox?

  8. Thanks a lot to this website for guideline. How I learnt simply I explained here to be corrected and advised.
    1) Back up in Drop Box/My computer.
    2) Install wordpress then install Updraftlus with settings.
    3) Restore from where I kept.
    Do I need to unzip file what I kept?

  9. i have backed up in google drive but how can i see in google drive which i have backed up? i m not able to find the folder of updraftplus in my google drive

    • Hi Alok,

      You would be able to see an UpdraftPlus folder in your Google Drive account. If you cannot, then please see your plugin settings. It may not be connected to your Google Drive account.

      Admin

  10. I tried to use this plugin for backup, but I always received a message saying zip file returned an error. I don’t know how to make it works, but until now this plugin is a fail for me.

  11. Is it possible to use this plugin for migrating your WordPress site to another host without uploading the files to the cPanel?

  12. Hello,
    I did Migrate My Website to another server before 4 months when I was using WordPress 4.7 and Still, I am using the same version because In my WP Dashboard No any option to Update WordPress.
    I Also using Updraftplus (Free) My question is can I restore Everything with the help of updraftplus (Free) in the same server and same Domain name.
    Thanks

    • Hi Pradeep,

      First, you need to update WordPress to the latest version. It is not safe to use an old version of WordPress. As for backup, yes you can use UpdraftPlus to create and restore backups including all your content, media, plugins, themes, and core WordPress files.

      Admin

  13. Has anyone used this with AWS? I am having a hard time and I am wondering if it is AWS – I am getting an error message

  14. Can I back up 2 WP sites using UpdraftPlus to Drop box – or should I leave the exisiting one on Dropbox and point the second one to Googledrive or somehting else?

  15. Nice explanation of setting up UpdraftPlus. My site is working fine at this point. However, I want to switch the backups to go to a different Google Drive account. I realize I could just uninstall the plugin and reinstall but that seems like a lot of work. There must be a simple way to do this. I just can’t bring my self to pay $50 for support when the problem is a lack of documentation.

    • Hi Ralph,

      To use a different Google Drive account, just click on the link to authenticate your connection to Google Drive, and then on Google’s account authorisation screen, make sure that you log into the account that you wish to use. It’ll choose the one you’re currently logged in to by default, but there’s a button there to choose a different one.

      David

  16. i want to restore my wordpress website. i have SQL database file and theme file. is there any way to restore my website ?A

  17. Do I need an additional plugin for backups like Updraftplus when my host provider has a Backup restore for my blog? Please help me understand the value of downloading yet another plugin or even a premium one. I am not at all tech savvy but want to make sure my content is backed up, of course.

    Thanks.

  18. I am also using updraft free version its awesome after this article i go to purchase premium one….this is fantastic plugin over 7 best backup plugins.

  19. Many thanks to you guys, I have been looking for wordpress backup plugin for a while, this article finally solve my problem …….

  20. Many thanks for this tutorial – great information re website back up, especially for inexperienced start-up. Cheers.

  21. Thanks for the tutorial. I have been researching on a backup solution for my blog for a while now, this would certainly be helpful.

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