321 Backup WordPress: The Ultimate Backup Strategy

Bulletproof Backups for Your WordPress Website

Fortify your business continuity with foolproof WordPress backups. No data loss, no downtime — just secure, seamless operation.

The 321 backup WordPress strategy is the safest way to protect WordPress backups.

Have you ever considered what would happen if you suddenly lost all your important data? Whether it’s cherished family photos, critical work documents, or treasured personal projects, data loss can occur unexpectedly and bring about significant distress. Many people underestimate the likelihood of hardware failures, cyber-attacks, or natural disasters devastating their digital lives.

The emotional and financial toll can be overwhelming. The process of trying to recover lost data can be time-consuming and expensive. The impact is particularly harsh for individuals and small businesses that might not have robust IT support to fall back on.

To safeguard yourself against such devastating scenarios, implementing a 3-2-1 backup strategy is essential. This article will guide you through everything you need to know to secure your data effectively.

TL;DR: Use BlogVault for automated backups of your WordPress site and invest in a webhost that takes backups too. This approach fits the 3-2-1 strategy by ensuring you have multiple copies of your data, on different media types, with one copy stored offsite for added security.

We write so many articles and always test what we do. Sometimes things don’t go our way. We’ve been locked out of our admin panel by login security plugins. We’ve even crashed sites because some code we were testing was wrong. Thankfully we’ve always had our sites stored on BlogVault and restoring them to their previous glory took just a couple of clicks. Go to the external dashboard and click Restore.

We accept that we are using test sites and the stakes are low. But, the problems we faced are not unique to us. You may install a 2FA plugin that locks you out. You may make changes to core files with syntax errors, crashing your site. If you don’t have a backup strategy in place, how would you recover your site? Who can you turn to? 

This is why we are passionate about backups and how they are stored. The 321 strategy is the best way to strategize your backups. 

What is the 321 backup WordPress strategy?

The 3-2-1 backup strategy is a widely recognized method for ensuring that your data remains safe and recoverable, even in the face of unforeseen disruptions. Here’s a breakdown of how this acronym represents a comprehensive approach to data security:

  • 3 copies of your data: Always have three copies of your data. One copy is your live site and the data that’s actively being used. The other two copies are backups to ensure redundancy.
  • 2 different storage options: Store your backups on at least two different types of storage media. Apart from the live site on your server, store one additional backup on a separate device, such as a USB drive or an external hard drive. The key is to use diverse storage solutions to mitigate the risk of hardware failure or other issues affecting both copies simultaneously.
  • 1 offsite backup: Keep one of your backups in a different physical location to safeguard against regional disasters. Storing your backup on a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive ensures that even if your primary location is compromised, you still have access to your data from another geographical location.

How to implement 321 backups WordPress rule?

The 3-2-1 backup strategy is an essential methodology for ensuring comprehensive data protection and effective disaster recovery. You can use a backup plugin like BlogVault alongside your web host’s backup services, you can seamlessly implement this strategy for your WordPress site. This solution works because you can have a robust backup strategy without needing to do any heavy lifting—just invest in good tools.

Begin by installing the BlogVault plugin, which is a straightforward process. Access your WordPress admin dashboard, navigate to the Plugins section, search for BlogVault, click Install Now, and then activate the plugin. Once installed, configure BlogVault by following the setup instructions to create an account and initiate the first backup. BlogVault takes automatic daily backups. You can choose what time of the day you want it to be done. So, you don’t have to manage it. It’s there when you need it, without you needing to put in any effort. 

Additionally, BlogVault stores the backups on its own servers. So it ticks off two boxes—it is in a different physical location and it is a different storage location from your primary copy—your live site. 

In addition to BlogVault, utilize your web hosting provider’s backup services to create a secondary local backup. Most web hosts include backup services as part of their hosting packages. So verify that backups are being performed and understand the frequency and retention policies. However, be aware that these backups are usually stored on the same server as your live site, meaning any server failure could affect both the site and its backup. Nonetheless, the web host’s backup acts as the third and final copy of your backup.

By implementing this approach, you effectively maintain three copies of your data: the live site on your server, a secondary backup managed by your web host, and a tertiary offsite backup stored on the BlogVault servers. These backups are stored on two different devices and at least one of them is stored in a different physical location, adhering to the 3-2-1 strategy’s guidelines.

As a side note, BlogVault offers the option to send backups to your Dropbox account, which can provide an extra layer of redundancy if you have an existing Dropbox account.

Why choose BlogVault for the 321 backup rule?

BlogVault stands out as a comprehensive backup solution for WordPress sites, offering a range of features that make it an indispensable tool for website administrators and developers. Here are the key reasons why BlogVault is the best choice for your backup strategy:

  • Incremental daily backups: BlogVault performs incremental daily backups, which ensures that only the changes made to your site since the last backup are saved. This approach significantly reduces the time and storage space required for each backup, while also minimizing the load on your server.
  • Offsite storage: Your backups are automatically stored offsite on BlogVault’s secure servers. This offsite storage adds an essential layer of protection, safeguarding your data from local server failures and physical disasters.
  • One-click restores: BlogVault simplifies the restoration process with its one-click restore feature. In the event of a data loss or website issue, you can quickly and easily restore your site to a previous version, minimizing downtime and preventing potential revenue loss.
  • Test restores: One of the standout features of BlogVault is the ability to test restores. This allows you to verify the integrity of your backups and ensure that they can be successfully restored without affecting your live site.
  • Backup export options: If you need to move your site or switch to a different web host, BlogVault allows you to export your backups. This feature provides flexibility and ensures that you have control over your data at all times.
  • Full backups: BlogVault offers full backups that encompass all your website files and database. These comprehensive backups ensure that no important data is overlooked, providing peace of mind that your entire site is protected.
  • No server load: BlogVault executes backups without placing additional load on your server. The offsite processing ensures that your website’s performance remains unaffected, even during the backup process.
  • Long-term storage: Depending on the plan you choose, BlogVault stores your backups for up to a year. This long-term storage capability allows you to retrieve older versions of your site, offering a reliable backup history.
  • Ease of setup: Setting up BlogVault is a straightforward process, allowing you to start backing your site within minutes. Full backups can be completed in less than five minutes, enabling quick and efficient initial setup.
  • One plugin for multiple things: Beyond backup and restoration, BlogVault includes additional features such as staging and migration tools, security enhancements, and performance optimization. With BlogVault, you get a comprehensive plugin that addresses multiple aspects of site management, eliminating the need for multiple plugins.

Why the 3-2-1 backup WordPress strategy works

The 3-2-1 backup strategy is a tried-and-tested method for safeguarding data against a wide array of potential risks. Here’s why this strategy is so effective:

Redundancy minimizes risk

Having three copies of your data ensures that if one copy gets corrupted, lost, or deleted, you still have two other copies available. This redundancy drastically minimizes the risk of total data loss. It’s a safety net that ensures your data’s availability even when unexpected issues arise.

Diverse storage media for reduced failure risk

By storing backups on two different types of storage media, you significantly reduce the likelihood that a single type of failure will result in data loss. For instance, if a hardware failure compromises your external hard drive, you still have a cloud backup intact. This diversification means that the failure of one storage medium won’t affect the integrity of your overall backup system.

Protection from local disasters

One of the most compelling features of the 3-2-1 strategy is the offsite copy. By keeping one backup offsite, you protect your data from local disasters such as fires, floods, or theft. Even if your home or office suffers a catastrophe, your data remains safe and recoverable from another location.

Enhanced recovery speed and flexibility

Multiple copies stored in different locations make it easier and faster to recover from data loss events. You don’t have to rely on a single source for recovery, which can be particularly useful in case of emergencies. This multi-location storage can drastically reduce downtime and accelerate recovery, helping you get back to business as usual more quickly.

Comprehensive risk coverage

The strategy covers a wide range of potential risks, including hardware failure, software issues, human error, and natural disasters. This holistic approach ensures that your data is more secure by addressing multiple points of vulnerability, making it less likely that any single event will result in total data loss. 

Peace of mind

Knowing that your important data is backed up in multiple ways can give you peace of mind, allowing you to focus on other important tasks without constantly worrying about data loss. This mental relief is invaluable, especially in high-stress environments where data integrity is crucial.

While maintaining multiple backups might seem like overkill, it isn’t. In the next section, we will delve deeper into why backups are essential and explore additional best practices for maintaining data integrity.

Why are backups important?

WordPress backups are crucial for maintaining the integrity and continuity of your website. They act as a safety net, ensuring that you can quickly recover from unforeseen issues and maintain the smooth operation of your site. Here are several reasons why backups are indispensable:

  • Protection against data corruption: In scenarios where data corruption occurs—be it through database issues, file corruption, or software bugs—a backup ensures you can restore your site to a pre-corruption state. This ability to revert to an earlier, uncorrupted version is invaluable for minimizing downtime and preserving the user experience.
  • Mitigation of plugin conflicts: Sometimes plugins can conflict with one another or malfunction, causing your site to behave unpredictably. A backup can help you revert to a stable version of your site before the conflicting plugin was installed or updated, allowing you to quickly resolve the issue and restore normal functionality.
  • Reverting website redesigns: During a major website redesign, backups are essential. They allow you to revert to the original design if the new changes do not meet expectations or cause problems. This flexibility ensures that you can experiment and innovate without risking permanent damage to your site’s usability or aesthetic.
  • Compliance and legal safeguards: If you’re required to provide historical data for legal purposes or compliance audits, having backups ensures you can retrieve the necessary information. This capability is particularly critical for businesses that must adhere to regulatory requirements, ensuring you remain compliant and avoid potential legal complications.
  • Support for staging and testing: When setting up a staging or testing environment to try new features or designs, backups of your live site ensure you can replicate the current state for accurate testing. This enables you to make informed decisions based on how changes will impact your actual site, without risking the integrity of the live version.
  • Safeguarding your investment: You will never regret having a reliable backup. It acts as a safeguard for all the investments you have made in your site up to this point. Whether it is time, energy, or money, these resources are valuable, and that investment should be protected. A robust backup strategy ensures that all your hard work is not lost due to unforeseen circumstances.

In summary, backups are an essential component of any comprehensive website management strategy. They offer a reliable means to recover from data corruption, plugin conflicts, redesign missteps, and compliance requirements, while also supporting accurate staging and testing processes. Most importantly, they protect the substantial investment you have made in your site, ensuring that your time, effort, and financial resources are securely preserved.

What to back up?

When it comes to backing up your WordPress site, the short answer is: back up the full site. This comprehensive approach ensures that every component of your site is protected and can be restored in case of data loss or corruption. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what should be included in your backup.

First and foremost, include the WordPress core files that comprise the WordPress installation. These are typically located in the root directory and include vital folders such as /wp-admin and /wp-includes, and critical files like index.php. These core files are the backbone of your WordPress site, and without them, the site can’t function.

Next, make sure to back up all themes located in the /wp-content/themes/ directory. This is essential for preserving the design and layout of your site. Whether you’re using custom themes or modified existing themes, having a backup ensures you don’t lose any customizations or design changes.

Plugins are another crucial element to include in your backup. Located in the /wp-content/plugins/ directory, these add functionality to your site and their loss can significantly disrupt your site’s operations. By backing up your plugins, you can quickly restore them and maintain the features and functionalities they provide.

Equally important is the media library, found in the /wp-content/uploads/ directory. This directory contains all your uploaded files, such as images, videos, and documents, which are integral to your site’s content and user experience. Ensuring these files are backed up guarantees that your site’s multimedia content is preserved.

Don’t forget any custom files or scripts you may have added to the /wp-content/ directory or elsewhere in your file hierarchy. These custom elements often include modifications that are crucial for your site’s unique functionality and appearance.

Lastly, but importantly, back up the site database. This database contains all your posts, pages, comments, settings, and plugin configurations—in essence, it holds all the dynamic content of your website. The database is usually stored separately from the site files and can typically be accessed via a tool like phpMyAdmin. Without a backup of the database, even if you restore all your site files, the content and settings would be missing.

In summary, a comprehensive backup should include the WordPress core files, themes, plugins, media library, custom files or scripts, and the database. By ensuring all these elements are backed up, you protect the entirety of your WordPress site, enabling a full and seamless restoration in case of any issues.

While we’re on the topic, let’s quickly talk about what you don’t need to backup:

  • Cache files: Cache files are temporary data created to speed up content delivery but are not essential for the core functionality of your site. These files can quickly accumulate and take up significant space. Since they can be easily regenerated, there’s no need to include them in your backups.
  • Backup files: If you’re using multiple backup plugins, you’ll likely generate redundant backup files. These can consume a considerable amount of storage space unnecessarily. Make sure to exclude these backup files to avoid duplication and inefficient use of resources.
  • Logs: Server and application logs are useful for monitoring and troubleshooting but are not necessary for the basic operation of your site. Including logs in your backup will only increase its size without adding any critical value. These logs can also be recreated or accessed separately if needed.

If that sounds overwhelming, we get it. The good thing is that a backup plugin like BlogVault will take a complete backup of your site, automatically. They take backups on a daily basis, at the minimum. These backups are also stored offsite. So, you can relax a little, knowing that your site backups are safe. 

Final thoughts:

Backups are like health insurance: they can be a hassle to maintain, but when things go wrong, you’ll be immensely grateful that you had them. This is why we strongly recommend taking regular backups and storing them safely. However, we understand that maintaining backups can be challenging and time-consuming. That’s where BlogVault comes in—taking the load off your shoulders by providing reliable, automated backup solutions, ensuring your sites are always protected without the stress and effort on your part.


How do I back up my entire WordPress?

Backing up your entire WordPress site involves saving all your website files and the database. The easiest way is to use a plugin like BlogVault. Sign up and set up an account and BlogVault will take backups daily, automatically. You don’t need to worry about it. They are stored offsite and don’t affect your server laid either. 

How many backups should I keep?

We recommend the 321 strategy for backups. The 3-2-1 backup strategy is a data protection method that involves keeping three copies of your data (one primary and two backups), storing them on two different types of media, and keeping one copy offsite to ensure data recovery in case of disaster.

How do I access my WordPress backup?

This depends on how you’ve taken a backup. If you’ve backed up using a plugin like BlogVault, you can click Details in the Backups section. Then, click the button to Export Download. Choose what you want to export and you’re all set. You’ll have a zip folder with your backup. If you stored a manual backup on your computer, use an FTP client to upload it back to your web server. If it is stored remotely, access the cloud storage service (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) where your backup was stored. Download the necessary files to your local machine for restoration or transfer.

How do I delete old WordPress backups?

This depends on how you’ve taken the backup. A backup plugin like BlogVault stores your backups on their own servers. You don’t have to manage it. If it is stored on your server, you will need to use an FTP client to access your files, find the backup, and delete it. If it is stored on a cloud service, you will have to regain access to that service and trash the backups.

How to implement the 3-2-1 strategy?

The 3-2-1 backup strategy is a robust approach to safeguarding your data. It says to maintain one primary live version and two additional backup copies. You have to store backups on at least two different types of media, for instance, a physical external hard drive and a cloud storage service. Ensure that at least one backup is stored offsite. This typically means using cloud storage (like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Amazon S3) or storing an external drive at a different physical location. 

Here is how we recommend you implement it:

  • Primary copy: Your live site. This is pretty self-explanatory but this is your primary copy. 
  • Secondary copy: Use BlogVault to take a full backup that is stored on their offsite storage. 
  • Tertiary copy: You can send a copy to Dropbox using BlogVault. You can also store it on a hard disk.


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