How To Backup Your WordPress Database

Jul 27, 2020

How To Backup Your WordPress Database

Jul 27, 2020

Want to recover the database of your WordPress site? Or looking to take a backup of your WordPress database to be safe?

Your WordPress database stores content, user data, configurations, and other data that is vital to the functioning of your website.

If you lose your database, you lose your website or at least a significant portion of it. You would be left trying to reconstruct your website piece by piece.

Luckily, you can avoid this as there are ways to fetch your database and restore it to get your website back to normal.

In this guide, we’ll show you different ways to take a backup of your WordPress database.

TL;DR
You can backup your WordPress database manually or using a plugin. A plugin is the easiest and fastest way to backup your database. You can use a reliable WordPress Backup Plugin like BlogVault to take a backup of your site and it only takes a couple of minutes. Next, BlogVault allows you to selectively download only your database backup. You can get your database backup in a couple of minutes. For more instructions, skip to this section.

What is a WordPress Database And Why Back It Up?

When you install WordPress, it creates files and a database for your website. The files power the appearance and functionality of your site. And the database is like a storage unit that organizes and stores all your website’s content. This makes it easy for your website to fetch requested data and display it to your visitors.

The WordPress database houses your content such as posts, pages, comments, categories, tags, custom fields, WordPress users, and other WordPress settings.

Both the database and files are important components on your website. If you are backing up your website, you should backup both database and files.

But if you are looking to take only a database backup, we assume the following –

  • Your website has crashed or has been hacked, and you need a database backup to recover your website. It’s a tough situation to be in, but don’t worry. This guide will show you how to retrieve your database to restore your website.
  • You’re proactively looking to regularly backup your WordPress database to be on the safe side. We strongly recommend backing up your entire site together – files and database. There are a number of WordPress backup plugins available to do this. BlogVault is one of the most trusted plugins and is loved by over 400,000 site owners, developers, and agencies. It will take automated scheduled backups of your site and store it safely for you.

That said, if you require a backup of only your WordPress database, we first need to locate the database and then copy it. Let’s get started.

Where to Find the WordPress Database?

Your website runs on a web server. Most site owners purchase a web hosting plan from providers like GoDaddy, WP Engine, and Kinsta.

Your WordPress website’s files and your database resides on this web server. So to create a backup of your WordPress database, you first need to access your web server and locate the database.

Now, you can access your server in different ways depending on what tools you want to use or the permission settings of your host. Broadly speaking, there are two ways to do this – manually or using a plugin. Let’s dive into the steps to find and back up your database.

PRO TIP: One of the most common mistakes made with WordPress backups is that the backup is stored on the same web server. There are many backup plugins and web hosts that create backups and store it on the same server as the website. If your website’s server goes down, you lose your site as well as your backup.

To avoid this, you should ideally select an option like the BlogVault plugin that stores your backups offsite on secure Amazon S3 servers. If anything happens to your web server, you still have a copy stored in a safe remote location.

How To Backup the WordPress Database?

There’s always an easy way and a hard way to do things. To backup your WordPress database, as we mentioned, you can do it in two ways:

  1. Manually Using phpMyAdmin – The hard way
  2. Automated Using a plugin – The easy way

The method you choose is greatly influenced by certain factors. If you prefer not to use a plugin and would rather do it manually, we’ve detailed the manual method first.

If you like the easy express and prefer automated processes, we’ve detailed the plugin method for you later.

1. Backup WordPress Database Manually Using phpMyAdmin

WordPress uses a database management system called MySQL. And MySQL can be managed using a tool called phpMyAdmin. It allows you to make modifications, add and delete, and even import or export your database. We’ll show you how to access and use phpMyAdmin to backup your WordPress database in two steps:

Step 1: Access phpMyAdmin

  1. Using Your Web Host Via cPanel
  2. Manually Via FTP

Step 2: Export Your Database From phpMyAdmin

Note: Whenever you venture into the backend of WordPress to access files and databases, there is a certain level of risk. Small mistakes here can lead to big problems.You risk breaking your site or if your website has already crashed, you risk damaging it further. If you’re using a reliable plugin, you won’t have to worry about the technical part. But using phpMyAdmin requires manual intervention, so we advise you to approach this method with caution.

Step 1: Access phpMyAdmin

You can access phpMyAdmin in two ways:

  1. Access phpMyAdmin Using Your Web Host Via cPanel
  2. Access phpMyAdmin Manually Via FTP
A. Access phpMyAdmin Using your web host via cPanel

Many web hosts have a control panel on their dashboard that grants you access to the backend of your website. If you have access to cPanel in your webhosting account, you’ll find the phpMyAdmin tool there. This is the easiest way to find your database and back it up.

1. To check if you have a cPanel, visit your hosting account and go to My Products or Advanced Settings. You should see an option for cPanel.

cpanel in web host

PRO TIP: Hosts that provide cPanel access include Kinsta, Bluehost, GoDaddy, NameCheap, SiteGround, InMotion, and HostGator, to name a few. If you’re using a Managed WordPress host like Flywheel, you likely won’t have access to cPanel. This is because the host manages the backend functions for you and limits your access to internal site settings. In that case, you can use the FTP method.

2. Inside cPanel, under Databases, you’ll see phpMyAdmin.

phpmyadmin on cpanel

3. Once here, click on phpMyAdmin and you can skip ahead to the next step.

For those who don’t have access to cPanel, we detail how to use phpMyAdmin using another method next.

B. Access phpMyAdmin Manually Via FTP

If you don’t have access to cPanel, you can use FTP or File Transfer Protocol to connect to your web hosting server. FTP is a software that you need to install on your laptop or device. You can then install phpMyAdmin on your server and use it to fetch your database.

1. Go to phpmyadmin.net and download the latest version of phpMyAdmin available.

Download phpmyadmin

A zip file will download to your computer. Unzip the file and store it in a folder you can easily access. We created a folder called phpMyAdmin on the desktop and placed the contents of the zip file in here.

2. Next, download and install an FTP client on your computer. FileZilla and CyberDuck are popular FTPs and they’re both free to use. We’ve used FileZilla in this example.

3. Once installed, open the FTP application. To connect to your server, you need to enter FTP credentials and select Quickconnect. You can get these credentials from your web host or use our guide to Finding FTP credentials.

FTP credentials

4. Once you establish a connection, you’ll see that your local computer is on the left panel, and your website is on the right panel.

    • On the right-hand panel, go to your website’s folder which is usually called public_html. You’ll see three more folders called wp-admin, wp-content, and wp-includes. This indicates you’re in the right folder. Right-click on this panel and select Create New Directory and enter it. Name it phpMyAdmin.
    • On the left-hand panel, select the phpMyAdmin zip file you downloaded earlier. Right-click and select Upload. It will upload to the phpMyAdmin folder.

5. Finally, visit phpMyAdmin using your website’s URL like so: https://www.yourdomain.com/phpMyAdmin. To login, you need to enter your database credentials.

Login to PHP MyAdmin

If you don’t know your database credentials, don’t worry. We’ll show you exactly how to find these credentials.

IMPORTANT PRO TIP: Finding your database credentials

Your database credentials can be found in a file called wp-config.php. You can fetch this file either using cPanel or FTP.

    1. Using cPanel, go to File Manager > public_html. Here, right-click and View the wp-config.php file.
    2. Using FTP, go to public_html, right-click on the wp-config. php file and select View/Edit. The file will download and open in a text editor.

Inside the wp-config. php file, you’ll find your database name, username, password.

Database credentials

Now that you have your database credentials, you can enter your username and password on phpMyAdmin to login.

Step 2: Export Your WordPress Database Backup

To create a backup of your database, you need to export the database. This process will download a mysql file to your local computer.

1. From the left-hand panel, select your database.

If there are multiple WordPress databases and you’re not sure which is the right one, you can find the name of your database using the wp-config.php file in the step we detailed above.

Once you know the right database name, select it, and a list of tables will populate on the right-hand panel.

database name in wp config

2. Next, click on Export.

Export database in phpmyadmin

3. A new page will open that allows you to customize the export settings. Unless you know what you’re doing and need to change these settings, we recommend leaving the default settings as:

    • Export method – Quick
    • Format – SQL

Choose mySQL

Once you click on Go, a .mysql file will download to your computer. You can use this SQL file as a backup to restore your site.

IMPORTANT: This file contains all your website’s data.Take precautions to encrypt it and store it safely. If it were to fall in the wrong hands, they can misuse the file to steal your data or hack into your website.

That brings us to the end of backing up your WordPress database manually using phpMyAdmin. If this method is too overwhelming, don’t stress, there’s an easier way to backup your database. Next up, we’ll show you how to use a plugin to do this.

2. Backup WordPress Database Using a WordPress Plugin

The manual method isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s quite a tedious process and we can understand why you would want to automate the process. It makes things much simpler.

There are WordPress plugins specifically designed to backup your database. That said, there are plenty of backup plugins in the market, so how do you choose one?

To answer that, we have to consider two scenarios here:

    • When you have access to your wp-admin panel
    • When you have lost access to your wp-admin panel

If you have access to wp-admin, you can login and install any plugin of your choice. But if you’ve lost access, then you need to be able to remotely install a plugin to create a backup and retrieve your data. Most plugins require you to have access to wp-admin to install the plugin.

Fortunately, there is one plugin that works in both instances is BlogVault. We’ll show you how to use the BlogVault plugin to create a backup of your database.

Step 1: Install the BlogVault Backup Plugin

Option 1: If you have access to your wp-admin panel, you can login to your website and install the plugin from the wordpress repository.

Install BV on wp

Activate the plugin and access it on your dashboard. Next, enter your email address, select backup and Get Started. You’ll be redirected to the BlogVault dashboard where the plugin will sync with your website.

BlogVault on WP

Option 2: If you don’t have access to wp-admin, you can visit BlogVault’s website, create and account, and then remotely install the plugin from here. Enter your wp-admin credentials and BlogVault will automatically sync with your website.

install BlogVault from website

Step 2: Download your Database Backup

After BlogVault syncs with your website, it automatically creates a backup of your files and database for you.

1. To access this backup, visit the BlogVault dashboard, you’ll see a tab called Backup. Click on the arrow at the bottom-right corner.

backup on BV

2. Here, you’ll see the number of backups taken and icons on the top. Select the icon with a cloud and a downward arrow to download your backup.

Note: You can also upload your backup directly to Google Drive and Dropbox using the upload option.

Download backup on BV

3. On the next page, BlogVault will automatically fetch your database credentials. You can leave the default settings as is. You’ll see an option called Selective Download. Expand this menu by clicking on the plus sign next to it to see more options.

Select only database on BV

Here, you can deselect Files and select Database and click on Continue.

4. Once complete, click on Download Link and a zip file of your database will download to your local computer.

Download link of database

That’s it! You’ve successfully created a backup of your database. You can use this backup to restore the contents of your site.

Note: If you’re looking to restore your WordPress site, you can do so using BlogVault’s one-click restore feature.

Final Thoughts

Building a WordPress site is no easy task. Managing and improving the site also takes a sizable amount of investment of time, effort, and finance.

But it can all be lost in a day. A hacker can break it and wipe your database clean or an employee can accidentally delete a critical file or change important settings causing your site to break.

Unfortunately, there’s a long list of mishaps that can lead to losing your website. The best way to safeguard your WordPress sites and ensure you never lose your data is to take regular backups.

Taking backups is easy! There are plenty of WordPress backup plugins to choose from, however, not all of them offer the same service.

BlogVault’s backup plugin automates the backup process and takes daily backups of your site. It encrypts your backup and stores it safely away from your own server and away from hackers. So if something happens to your web server, you still have access to your backup and can restore your website quickly.

If you’re still not convinced, check out all BlogVault plugin features.

Backup Your WordPress Database With BlogVault

How To Backup Your WordPress Database
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