How to backup a local site using blogVault

Local sites are commonly used as a development set up by designers while creating or modifying sites for their clients. This activity can span over many weeks and involves considerable effort. Hence it is crucial to take regular backups as a single crash could translate to days/ weeks of wasted effort. However, blogVault (or any other WordPress backup service for that matter) only supports publicly accessible sites. But there is a simple workaround to this problem. You need to first make your site available outside of your local network. From then on, you can use blogVault to backup your site just like any other.

Ngrok is one such service that helps you make this transition for your site. It provides a URL to your site that you can use just as any regular site. Any request to view the URL will first reach ngrok’s public servers from where it is redirected to your local network.

The Local Site

Here is my work in progress local site that I want to backup using blogVault.

Ngrok Setup

Installing ngrok on your system is really simple – signup, download, unzip, and run. Though signing up with ngrok is an optional step, it is required if you want to use some of its advanced features –

  1. Custom Subdomains – Normally if you switch off your local system and come back to run ngrok the next day, you’ll be provided a new URL. By signing up, you can create a URL like http://mysite.ngrok.com instead of http://435fgrd3.ngrok.com which remains persistent across shutdowns.

  2. Password Protection – You can configure HTTP authentication so that only you can access your local system even though it has been made public.

  3. Multiple Tunnels – You can expose multiple client sites using a single ngrok client.

To signup with ngrok, fill in a simple form and you’re all set.

After signing up, you can proceed with downloading and unzipping ngrok to your local system.

To run ngrok, use the command prompt with the port number where your server is running. The default port is 80. If you’ve changed this during your server setup, use the appropriate port number. You can also specify a subdomain to uniquely identify your site.

C:\Users\shylaja\ngrok>ngrok –subdomain=mydevsite 80

You can test if the URL works by opening it with a browser.

Backup with blogVault

I can now start backing up my local site using blogVault with this URL. In case you don’t have a blogVault account, you can register by filling up a simple form as shown below.

If you are an existing customer, simply click on the dashboard and enter the URL.

You’ll then be prompted to enter your WordPress admin username and password. Click Install Plugin to proceed. This will automatically install the plugin on your site.

As soon as the plugin is installed, the backup is initiated immediately. You can see its progress on the blogVault dashboard. The process may be very slow, depending on your Internet connection. But this is only for the first backup. Later on, blogVault will only backup the changes and hence complete the process very quickly.

Note: You may encounter issues with backup in case you’ve changed the SITEURL in your WordPress configuration file. In such cases, retry after reverting this back to its default value.

That’s it! You never have to worry about losing any data during local development.

FAQ

Is ngrok a paid service?
No, it is offered free of cost. You are free to make a voluntary payment though.

Can I shut down my computer or close ngrok at the end of the day?
Yes. If you have created a unique subdomain using ngrok, you can continue using the same URL across shutdowns.

How will automatic backup happen if the computer has been switched off?
blogVault can perform automatic backups only when your system is online. So it is preferable to schedule backups during this time. However, blogVault also supports the Backup Now feature using which you can initiate a backup anytime you want.