How to Manually Restore a WordPress Site from a WordPress Backup?

Nov 5, 2019

How to Manually Restore a WordPress Site from a WordPress Backup?

Nov 5, 2019

Restoring your WordPress backup can help you recover your site when things go wrong. But the process is not always easy and entails complexities. In this article, we’ll take you through the easiest ways to restore your WordPress site. We’ll also cover the difficult ones for advanced users.

Note: This article covers restoring your site from a backup. If you’re looking to migrate your site to a new host or domain, check out our detailed guides to migrate to another host, a server or a new domain.

TL;DR – If you’re unable to restore your WordPress backup, it’s time to consider more reliable backup options for your website. Try our backup plugin BlogVault. It has a 100% restoration rate and you can rest assured your backup will always work.

WordPress Backup and Restore explained

Before we learn how to restore a WordPress backup, you need to understand how your backup works and what it contains. A backup contains all the data of your website which is categorised into your files and database. You can take a backup using plugins like BlogVault and UpdraftPlus. You can also opt for a backup with your web hosting provider, or you can do it yourself by copying your data manually.

Besides the ‘What; and ‘How’ aspects of backups, it’s also important to consider the ‘When’ aspect. For example – If you took a backup one week ago and want to restore it now, you will get your site back to what it was a week ago. Any changes made in between that will be lost. Which is why we recommend regular and automatic updates.

Now depending on how you took your backup, you can restore your website using the following options:

    • Website Hosting Provider
    • WordPress Backup Plugin
    • Manually via phpMyAdmin, cPanel and via FTP

Restore your WordPress site from Your Web Host

Many web hosts provide backup as a part of their hosting package or it comes as an add-on. These backups are taken regularly as snapshots of your site so you can get your site back to certain restore points.

If you’ve taken a backup with your host, in most cases, you need to contact them to get your site restored. They will assign a technician to get your site restored. This process can take a few hours up to a few days.

In other cases, you would have to download your backup copy and restore it either manually or using a plugin. We’ve covered how to restore your backup manually in detail below.

However, there are managed WordPress web hosts like GoDaddy and Kinsta that have options for you to restore your backup yourself by accessing your hosting account dashboard. The process varies between hosts and you should be able to find a guide or tutorial in their help/FAQ section. The general process entails:

    • Access your hosting account
    • Click on your site
    • You’ll see an option of “Backups” in the menu list
    • Inside the backups tab, you’ll see an option to restore
    • You need to select the backup copy you want to restore and proceed

The time it takes to complete the process depends on the size of your site. Once complete, you’ll be notified and you can proceed to your site to check if it’s restored.

Using a Backup Plugin to Restore a WordPress site

There are plenty of backup plugins available in the market, but not all of them provide the same experience. A backup is only as good as its restore and only a few deliver reliable restores.

While you can get free WordPress backup and restore plugins to do the job, you’ll be limited in terms of what you can do with your backup. Whereas, with premium backup plugins, you get access to much-needed restore features such as automated, one-click restores, fast service, and customer support.

Now, if you’re using the BlogVault backup plugin, you can be rest assured your restore is as easy as a few clicks. Furthermore, it has a 100% restoration rate so you don’t ever have to worry about your backup not working.

Restore WordPress Backup with BlogVault

If you’re new to BlogVault, you need to create an account, install the plugin on your WordPress site, and then add your site to the dashboard. Once done, the plugin will automatically sync your site and take a backup. It usually takes only a few minutes to backup your entire site the first time. After this, only changes made to your site will be backed up using incremental sync technology – this makes the process faster, lighter and efficient. Once you have a backup, we can proceed to guiding you on how to restore your site.

Step 1

Access the BlogVault Dashboard and select your site. Under backups on the left hand side, you’ll find an option to restore as seen below:

Step 2

Once you click on Restore, you will need to enter your FTP credentials. You can find these credentials in your web host account or contact them to get it. If you still have trouble, you can refer to our guide to finding your FTP credentials. Enter your host/server name, select the FTP type, and your username and password. The plugin will verify your credentials and then proceed to the next page.

Step 3

You’ll be given an option to select your folder in which your WordPress installation resides. Simply find the folder with your WordPress site’s name, select it and proceed.

Step 4

Select the backup version you would like to restore from the drop down menu. Double check your database details.

When you scroll down, you get advanced options in case you need:

    • A selective restore – which allows you to choose whether you want to restore only files or only the database.
    • To change the DNS server location.
    • HTTP authentication – In case you have a password protected site and need to provide credentials.

If none of these apply to you, you can skip it and start your restore process.

Step 5

Wait a few minutes till Blogvault carries out the restore process. BlogVault allows you to exit that page while the process runs in the background. You’ll be notified when it’s complete. Depending on the size of your site, the restore time can vary. But it usually takes around 5 minutes to get your site restored. Once done, you’ll see this:

Congratulations, you’re WordPress site is now restored successfully!

Once done, you can visit your site and see that it’s back to normal. However, it’s best to skim through all the important pages, check the functionality of all your plugins/theme to ensure everything is working fine. Remember, clear your cache to see the new changes. That’s all you need to do to restore your site using a plugin. It’s that simple.

Checkout our latest guide on Restoring WordPress From Backup.

How to Restore WordPress Manually

Attempting a manual restoration entails more complexities and additional steps and requires some amount of technical knowledge. If you’re unsure about the backend of WordPress and how it works, you could end up making things worse. If you’re a beginner, we advise getting a professional to help you. However, if you’re confident, let’s take a look at how to restore your site.

Now in order to carry this out, you need to first have separate backups of your WordPress files and database. If you don’t have backups of these components, follow our detailed instructions to download files and database separately. Once downloaded, we can begin to restore the site.

Caution: If your site has been hacked, it’s advisable to get a fresh WordPress installation from the WordPress repository. This will ensure there are no backdoor files or infections left behind.
Refer to this section to know how to manually install a WordPress installation.

Now, get set to restore. This happens in two steps as follows:

    • For WordPress databases: using phpMyAdmin/Cpanel
    • For WordPress files: using FTP

Let us start with the first method, which is using phpMyAdmin/Cpanel.

1. Restore WordPress database from Backups using phpMyAdmin or Cpanel

Step 1: Login to your hosting account and access your phpMyAdmin.

Step 2: Click on “Databases” and you’ll see a drop-down list of all the tables.

Note: For hacked WordPress sites, it is better to first delete your existing infected database tables before restoring the backup. We suggest you take a backup of your database before you delete anything.

To delete the database, select the database from the left section. We chose the one marked in red – bhwpsite_67e. Once you click on the specific database, all its tables are displayed. From the bottom section, click on the ‘Check all’ option so that all the tables are selected as shown in the image below. You can see a Drop option on the same menu as shown. Click on it to delete all the selected tables.

Please note, this is only in case your site has been hacked and you need to clear your database to ensure no infections remain. The rest can skip this step.

Step 3: Select the database in which you want to restore all the data. For the purpose of this article, we chose the bhwpsite_67e database as shown in the image below. On the top of the screen, there will be an ‘Import’ tab.

Step 4: A new window will open where you can click on the ‘Browse’ button.

Step 5: Clicking on the Browse file option will open a new window. From your local files, select the location from where you wish to import the MySQL database tables. This will be the folder where your WordPress database backup was stored.

Step 6: Next, click on Format, select ‘SQL format’ and hit ‘Go’ at the bottom of the page. Though it entails just a few steps, the time taken to restore is extremely long. Once done, you need to visit your site to check if the WordPress restore was successful.


2. Restore WordPress files from Backups using FTP

Now, to restore your backup archives using FTP, you need to install an FTP client FileZilla and have your FTP credentials handy. FTP enables you to transfer files between your local computer and the server over the internet. You can use this method to install a fresh WordPress core installation as well.

Step 1: Open FileZilla. Enter your FTP credentials and click on Quick Connect to connect to the server. (Ensure that your FileZilla is the latest version.)

Step 2: Once you are connected to the server, then you would see your local files on the left side and the remote site on the right.

First, identify the WordPress files in the remote site. In a fresh WordPress install, the WordPress files would be under the root directory public.html. Click on the WordPress folder that is named after your website on the right panel. You’ll see folders such as wp-content,wp-includes and wp-admin.

Second, on the left panel, make sure your backup files are all in a folder saved on your local system. If you have your backup stored in a zip file, ensure you unzip it before you start manually restoring WordPress.

Step 3: Now, drag and drop all the files from your local folder (left panel) on to the WordPress folder on the remote site (right panel). You can choose to overwrite the files.

The process seems straightforward enough, but it is of utmost importance not to miss any crucial files file or folders while uploading. While, an advanced user would know exactly what to overwrite and what not to, this can be a daunting task for beginners. Which is why we don’t recommend this method to restore your site.

Not only is this manual restoration process time-consuming, it’s also very risky and nerve-wracking.

Note: A complete WordPress backup restore can sometimes take days using the manual method.

What you need to do after your WordPress Restore is complete

Once you’ve safely restored your site, we strongly advise carry out the following tasks:

  1. Login to WordPress admin and ensure everything is functioning fine. If you were hacked, check user permissions and ensure you recognise all users present.
  2. Activate the themes and plugins you use. Delete all inactive and outdated ones.
  3. Do a website front-end check. Run through critical URLs and ensure they are performing well.
  4. Take a fresh backup of your restored WordPress site. As we just saw the difficulties of a manual backup and restore, we recommend you install a backup plugin to handle it for you.
  5. Refresh your cache to reload the new data.
  6. In addition, backup and security go hand in hand. We recommend you install a security plugin to keep your site safe from hackers.

When you use BlogVault to backup your site, you get complete access to the security plugin MalCare to take care of all your security needs.


There you have it, the easy and hard ways to restore your WordPress site. We hope after reading this guide, you were able to restore your WordPress site successfully. As we mentioned earlier, a backup solution is really only as good as its restore process. To ensure you can always restore your backup without a doubt, you need to use a trusted backup solution like BlogVault. It’s one-click auto restore feature is guaranteed to work and get you back to business in no time!

For more step by step WordPress tutorials, follow our WordPress blog.

So save yourself a heap of trouble and
Try BlogVault’s Auto-restore for free now!

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