How to Archive a WordPress Site: Step-by-Step Guide

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As a website owner, you might face the constant threat of data loss, hacking attempts, and accidental deletions, putting your website content at risk. 

Along with having a backup of your website, it’s essential to have an archiving strategy in place. The consequences of not having one can be detrimental, leaving your websites vulnerable to irreversible damage and content loss. 

However, there is a solution! By maintaining a reliable archive, you can easily restore your website’s content, themes, plugins, and customizations whenever necessary.

TL;DR: Don’t leave your WordPress site vulnerable to data loss and potential disasters. Use reliable one-click backup solutions like BlogVault to archive your website, ensuring secure storage and seamless restoration when necessary.

What is a WordPress site archive?

A WordPress site archive is a comprehensive backup file that contains all the essential components of a WordPress website. It serves as a snapshot or copy of the entire WordPress installation, including the database, media files, theme files, plugin files, and other associated assets.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of archiving your WordPress site and provide two detailed methods to achieve this effectively. 

How to archive a WordPress site using a plugin (RECOMMENDED)

Archiving a WordPress site is incredibly easy with the help of a plugin. We highly recommend using BlogVault for this method. Thanks to its user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation, you can swiftly and reliably archive your WordPress site without any hassle. 

Step 1: Sign up and add your site

Sign up for an account on the BlogVault website. Once logged in, click on Add site and enter your WordPress site’s URL. Then, click on Continue.

Step 2: Install and activate the BlogVault plugin

Provide your WordPress admin login credentials and click on Submit. This will automatically install and activate the plugin for you. Keep in mind that BlogVault only asks for your credentials to install the plugin on your site and does not save these credentials anywhere.

Step 3: Sync your site to BlogVault

Click on Initiate Sync to connect your WordPress site to BlogVault servers. BlogVault then backs up and stores your entire site, including files, databases, media, configurations, and more on their servers.

Step 4: Prepare the backup

In the Site Overview section, locate the Backup card and click on Details. Once the Backup Details open, click on the Download Backup button.

Step 5: Select backup version and files

Choose your required Backup Version and ensure that you select all Files and Tables. This ensures that you have a comprehensive copy of both your files and your database tables. Click on Continue to proceed with the download process.

Step 6: Download the backup

After the backup is ready for download, click on the Download button. This will save a .zip file to your device. For long-term storage, you can save your backup to Dropbox directly through the Blogvault dashboard. Or you could consider compressing the file and uploading it to a cloud-based platform or any other reliable storage location.

Congratulations! You have successfully archived your WordPress site using BlogVault. Now, you can rest assured knowing that you have a secure backup for future use whenever needed.

How to archive a WordPress site manually

If you want to go with a manual approach to archiving your WordPress site, you will need to have a copy of your website’s files and database. It is essential for you to have these two components for a complete site archive.

The files of your website contain all the themes, plugins, and custom code that determine your site’s design and functionality. The database stores critical content, comments, user data, and configurations. Archiving both ensures that you have a complete copy of your site, allowing for easy restoration in case of any issues or data loss.

Before you start, create a new folder on your local device specifically for storing your site’s archive. Choose an easily recognizable name for the folder, such as “WordPress_Site_Archive (DDMMYYYY).” This will help you quickly identify the archive in the future.

A. Download files

Option 1. FTP

Step 1: Login to your site using its IP address, SSH/SFTP details, and an FTP client

For this article, we will be using Cyberduck as the FTP client. Click on the Open Connection button and in the provided fields, enter your IP address and SSH/SFTP details; you can get them from your hosting provider. Ensure that you switch the protocol from FTP to SFTP, depending on your server configuration.

Step 2: Download all folders from the site’s root directory

After establishing the connection, Cyberduck will display the directory structure of your server. Select all the folders under the root directory of your site, right-click on it, and click on the Download option. Cyberduck will begin downloading a .zip file of your website’s files to your local device. Note that the download time will depend on the size of your website.

Step 3: Store the .zip file

Now that you have downloaded the files of your website, move it to the archive folder you created earlier.

Option 2. cPanel

You now know how to download your files through FTP; here’s how you can do the same through cPanel.

Step 1: Log in to cPanel and locate your site files

Log in to your cPanel account using your credentials. Once logged in, locate the File Manager section under the Files category and click on it.

Step 2: Compress the root directory

Within the File Manager, navigate to the root directory of your site. This can be called anything, like public_html or www, and it contains all the files for your WordPress site. Right-click on the folder and select Compress. This will create a compressed .zip file of the directory. We do this so that the download process is easier and faster. 

Step 3: Download the compressed file

Once the folder is compressed, right-click on the generated .zip file and click on Download. This will save the compressed file to your local device.

Step 4: Unzip and move the files

Unzip the downloaded file and move its contents to the folder you created to store the archive. 

And you’re done! You now know how to get your hands on your website’s files through cPanel.

Option 3. SSH

Downloading your site files through SSH (Secure Shell), is a robust protocol for securely accessing your server. However, be warned: this is a lengthy process and is not recommended for beginners. If you still prefer using this method, here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Install WP-CLI and download files to device folder

To get started, you need to install WP-CLI, a command-line interface for WordPress. After you have your server and local setup ready, you can start downloading your WordPress site files to your local folder. Open your command line or terminal and execute the following command to connect your site:

scp -r username@serveraddress:rootfolder localfolder

You will now be asked to enter your password. Note you will just have to punch the password in and click on Enter or return as the characters will not show up on the screen.

Step 2: Save your website files

Your root folder will be downloaded to your device. Now you can move it to the archive folder you created earlier.

B. Download database

Option 1. Built-in database manager

Step 1: Find your web host’s database manager

Most web hosts have their own built-in database managers. Cloudways for example has its own: Launch Database Manager under Access Details.

Step 2: Export your database file

Towards the left side of your screen under your database name, you will find the Export option, click on it. Make sure all your Data and Tables are selected. Then proceed to select your Output (gzip) and Format (SQL). We recommend using a .sql format as it ensures compatibility with most DBMS (database management systems) Click on the Export button to initiate the download process.

Step 3: Save your database file

A ZIP file will be downloaded to your local device. Extract it and save your file to the same archive folder as your website’s files.

Option 2. phpMyAdmin

Step 1: Access phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin is accessible from within cPanel, but can also be accessed directly from your browser by appending /phpmyadmin to your site’s URL. However, you will need to know the credentials to log in.

From within cPanel, locate the Databases section and click on phpMyAdmin. This will open the phpMyAdmin interface to access your website’s database.

Step 2: Export the database

Within phpMyAdmin, navigate to the Export tab. Here, select the Export Method (Quick – display only the minimal options) and Format (SQL) for the database download. Click on the Export button to initiate the download process.

Step 3: Save the database file

Once the export process is complete, an .sql file containing your website’s database will be downloaded. Save the .sql file within the archive folder you saved your site files to.

Option 3. SSH

Just like how you downloaded your files using SSH, you can download the database of your website with the help of a command.

Step 1: Open WP-CLI on your local machine

You should have WP-CLI installed on your device for this method. Run the following command, replacing filename with a name for the downloaded database: 

wp db export filename.sql

Step 2: Download and save database file

Run this command to download the database file of your site to your device:

scp username@serveraddress:rootfolder/filename.sql localfolder

Once the file has been downloaded, move the file to your archive folder along with the files. And you’re done! You will have a folder that contains both your website’s files and database. 

Now it’s time to compress the entire archive folder so that it takes up less storage space. Select the archive folder on your local device, right-click on the selected items, and choose the option to Compress or Create a zip file. To make things easy to retrieve, make sure that the ZIP file has the same name as your folder, in this case, “WordPress-Site-Archive.ddmmyyyy.zip.” 

You can choose to store this archive on your local device or on an external storage device, such as a thumb drive or hard drive. You can also consider uploading the ZIP file to a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive. This ensures an additional layer of security and accessibility for your WordPress site archive.

Difference between a WordPress site backup and an archive

When it comes to data storage and retention, as a website owner it’s crucial to understand the distinction between website backups and website archives. While both serve as essential website data management practices, they serve different purposes and employ distinct storage methodologies.

Backup: preserving data for restoration

A WordPress backup involves creating a duplicate copy of your data, typically performed regularly or when the original data changes. The primary objective of a backup is to make sure you have a copy of any file that you currently use and cannot afford to lose. 

It acts as a safety net, ensuring that your files and configurations are secure and can be restored in the event of data loss or system failures.

During a backup process, the original data remains in place, while the backup copy is stored in a different location. Backups are dynamic, as they capture and store changes made to the data over time. It’s common to delete older backups to optimize storage and retain only the most recent iterations.

Storage for backups typically involves cloud storage or easily accessible local storage locations. This ensures quick access and restores when needed, making backups ideal for maintaining the latest versions of your website’s files, configurations, and user-generated data.

Archive: preserving data for long-term storage and reference

Unlike backups that focus on recent versions of data, website archives are used for long-term storage and reference. An archive is a copy of data specifically created for retention purposes, either to meet compliance requirements or to preserve historical records.

When archiving data, it is often moved from its original location to an archive storage location. Unlike backups, archives serve as fixed, unmodifiable copies of data. They are intended to be kept intact over an extended period, serving various purposes beyond restoration.

Archives are frequently utilized to efficiently search and retrieve specific information from vast amounts of stored data. This method of storing is for data that is less frequently accessed but still needs to be retained for reference, compliance, or legal purposes.

Archives of a site are generally created based on criteria such as the age of the data, the time since data was last accessed, the involvement of the main user, or the completion of associated projects or obligations.

Whether you are looking for backups or archives, BlogVault is your best bet. Because BlogVault backs up your entire site each time, any backup from BlogVault is an effective archive as well. Two birds, one stone. 

What is the importance of site archives and backups?

The importance is to ensure a robust data management strategy, it is essential to incorporate both backup and archive practices for your website. While backups protect you from data loss and enable quick restoration, archives provide long-term data retention, compliance adherence, and cost-effective storage for historical records.

By implementing a comprehensive backup and archive approach, you safeguard your website’s files, content, configurations, and user data. This allows you to mitigate risks, meet legal requirements, and ensure the availability and preservation of critical information both in the short and long term. 

By understanding the difference between backups and archives, you can tailor your data management methods to suit your specific needs and objectives.

Parting thoughts

Archiving your WordPress site is pretty important for preserving, securing, and easily accessing your website content. Whether you opt for a plugin like BlogVault or choose manual archiving methods, taking proactive steps to create backups and archives empowers you to safeguard against potential data loss, hacking incidents, and accidental deletions.

So, take the time to learn, implement, and maintain proper archiving strategies for your WordPress site. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to handle any unforeseen events, protect your valuable website data, and confidently manage your online presence.

FAQs

How do I archive an entire WordPress site?

Archiving an entire WordPress site can be done using plugins like BlogVault or by manually downloading the files and exporting the database. Archiving a site involves creating a copy of all the website’s files, database, themes, plugins, and media.

How can I ensure the safety and preservation of my WordPress site’s content and data?

To ensure the safety and preservation of your WordPress site’s content and data you need to implement a reliable backup strategy, storing backups in secure locations (such as cloud storage or offline devices), and following best practices for archiving will help protect your website’s content and data. 

What are the potential risks and challenges associated with not having a proper archive or backup?

The potential risks of not having a proper archive or backup strategy can expose your website to data loss, hacking incidents, accidental deletions, or server failures. In such cases, recovering your website and its content becomes challenging, resulting in extended downtime, loss of valuable information, and damage to your online presence.

What are the best practices for archiving a WordPress site?

Some best practices for archiving a WordPress site include regularly creating backups and archives, storing backups in off-site locations, verifying the integrity of backups and archives, documenting the archiving process, and periodically testing the restoration process to ensure data recovery.

Which tools or plugins are recommended for effectively archiving a WordPress site?

Several trusted tools and plugins are available for effectively archiving a WordPress site. Some popular options include BlogVault, UpdraftPlus, BackWPup, and Duplicator. These tools offer features for creating backups, automating the archiving process, and storing backups securely.

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