How to Restore WordPress From Backup?

Aug 25, 2020

How to Restore WordPress From Backup?

Aug 25, 2020

Imagine waking up one beautiful morning. 

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping. You made a killing in the last quarter of your business. You pour out that hot, steaming, cup of fresh-pressed coffee that you love so much.

As the aroma takes hold of you, you open up your laptop for another great day of work.

And then you discover that…

your site is down.

That is the worst feeling ever.

And if that’s what you feel right now, you are stuck in a vicious cycle.

We call this the cycle of Lose, Restore, Repeat.

It sure hurts knowing that:

  • Every second that your site is down, you lose money and even some loyal customers.
  • You have to restore WordPress from backup.
  • Your site might be down because you just got hacked.

That’s not even the worst part.

It’s now time to find your backup.

Don’t panic. 

We’re here to help.

By the end of this article, you will know how to:

  • Restore WordPress from backup the right way
  • Restore WordPress without backup
  • Prevent this vicious loop from ruining your day ever again.

How to Restore a WordPress Website

Let’s dive in.


NOTE: If you’re trying to restore your site to a new hosting, that’s called migration. If that’s what you’re looking for, this article is a big waste of your time. Read our article on how to migrate a WordPress site instead.


Finding Your Backup Before You Try to Restore WordPress from Backup

Tell me if any of this sounds like you right now. Your site is down and you:

  • Don’t even remember if you have a backup;
  • Might have a backup somewhere, but you don’t remember what backup plugin you used;
  • You remember the plugin but you have no clue where the backup was saved;

That’s okay!

You either have a backup or you don’t.

I Don’t Have a Backup and I’m 100% Sure

If you don’t have a backup and you’re 100% sure of that, you should skip ahead to this section right now.

By the way, XML files aren’t valid backup files. 

I’m sorry to break this to you, but if you have only an XML file, you can’t restore WordPress from backup. You should click the link above and skip ahead as well.

I’m Not Sure If I Have a Backup

Now, if you’re not sure if you have a backup, let’s start with the obvious.

Are you a BlogVault customer? 

If you are, then just rest easy. You’re definitely in luck. 

Restoring your site will take half an hour, tops. Just follow along:

Log in to your BlogVault dashboard.

Click on your Site.

Then, go to ‘Backups’.

Hit ‘Test Restore’.

This will help you check if the latest backup you have is of the broken site or not.

If everything checks out, just go back and hit ‘Restore Site’ and you’re done!

And if the site appears to be broken, just go back and click on ‘Show All Backups’: 

And select another backup version.

That’s all!

If you’re not sure if you’re a BlogVault customer, just check your email. If your site is down and you’re a BlogVault user, you will get an email notification. 

Or, you can hit up our customer support. We’re here to help.

Now, if you aren’t a BlogVault user, then you might be able to restore WordPress from backup with: 

  • One of the most popular backup plugins
  • Your web host

Most popular plugins store your backup on cloud storage.

Do you remember using a plugin that connected to:

  • Google Drive;
  • Amazon S3;
  • Dropbox;

Or any cloud storage for that matter?

Take a quick look at your cloud accounts to see if you have a backup file stored. It’ll either be a zip file or a .wpress file.

If you find one, you now have a backup. Keep reading.

Don’t worry if you can’t find one, though. There are other ways to recover your site.

I’m 100% Sure that I Have A Backup

But even if you do have a backup…

You try restoring your site from a backup you took, and you realize that:

  • Restoring a WordPress site is a lot more complicated than you first imagined.
  • Most of the “help docs” and articles online are just promos for some plugin or the other.
  • The plugin that you paid for took a corrupt backup, and all your data is gone now.
  • The backups that you do have are zip files, and you don’t know what to do with them.
  • You might even have a .wpress file and no one seems to know what those are.
  • Your backup is sitting on a Google Drive account, and you don’t know what to do next.
  • The plugin that you paid for keeps crashing your site when you try to restore.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, this is the right article for you.

Let’s use that backup to get your site up and running again.

How to Restore a WordPress Site Using a Managed WordPress Backup Service

One of the simplest ways to handle backups and restore WordPress from backup is to use a Managed WordPress Backup Service such as BlogVault.

A Managed Service is like a supercharged backup plugin that offers a whole host of features and benefits that a regular backup plugin simply can’t provide. 

As you’ve seen, BlogVault has a one-click restore feature.

All you have to do is select the backup version you want to restore to and click on restore!

That’s all.

Most users choose a Managed WordPress Backup Service because the one-click restores are so convenient.

However, a service like BlogVault does not allow you to restore from backups made manually or by using other plugins.

So, if you need your site up and running right now, you should skip ahead to the section on restoring a WordPress site using a plugin.

But if you’re looking for an alternate solution and restore plugins aren’t working, we have some bad news for you.

There may be no way for you to restore WordPress from backup.

In this case, you can attempt a manual restore or a restore without any backup file.

Web hosts such as GoDaddy and Kinsta also have backups that you can use to restore your site. You should also check with your hosting provider to see if there are any backups that you can use. 

Read our section on web host backups to get more detailed steps and information.

If none of these work, there’s little you can do anymore.

We strongly recommend you use BlogVault in the future so that this never happens again.

BlogVault’s plugin works in the background to restore all your files and database tables automatically. Depending on how large your site is, the restore takes somewhere between 5 minutes to 30 minutes.

The best part?

BlogVault guarantees a 100% restore rate, with none of the issues associated with regular backup plugins.

There is even a version history that allows you to:

  • See all changes in each backed-up version.
  • Find the right version to restore using convenient labels.

You can also quickly test your restore using a FREE staging site that comes with the package just in case you want to check something real quick.

How to Restore a WordPress Site Using a Plugin

Every backup plugin works differently.

So, there are small differences in the way in which you can restore.

For a plugin like BackupBuddy, you would have to:

  • Download the importbuddy.php file.
  • Download your backup.
  • Delete all your files.
  • Download the database from cPanel using phpMyAdmin.
  • Delete the database.
  • Use your browser to login to your-site.com/importbuddy.php.
  • Import your files using the backup in importbuddy.
  • Then finally import the database from phpMyAdmin again.

BackupBuddy is a premium plugin, and that’s how much effort you need to put in!

For others like UpdraftPlus, the backup gets uploaded to Google Drive or Amazon S3 or Dropbox by default. 

So first, you would need to download a local copy to your PC.

Then, you can use the plugin to upload the zip file to your site.

The rest is done for you by UpdraftPlus.

But this is not a fool-proof method to restore WordPress from backup, and there are several common issues here.

After the restore, if you see that your site broke or if the restore process fails altogether, you are in for a rough day.

You can try to restore the site manually. But that’s pretty much all you can do unless…

… your webhost has a backup that you can use.

How to Restore WordPress From Backup Using Your Web Host

Not every WordPress host will have a backup of your site.

Even if they do…

You will be paying extra to take the backup and restore WordPress from backup.

But if you’re desperate for a fix, this may be your only option.

Now, if you do have backups enabled, you can log in to your hosting account and check your site settings for a backup. You can usually restore WordPress from backup with one click.

I know what you’re thinking.

Restoring a WordPress site from the hosting account seems super convenient. So, why not use this as the first option?

Simple – unless you’re paying the web host separately for your backups, there’s no guarantee that your host will have a backup of your site.

Also, even if they do have a backup, you may not have the access to restore WordPress from backup yourself.

That’s right!

There’s a lot of fine print in the Terms and Conditions you clicked ‘OK’ on without reading.

How to Restore a WordPress Site Manually

Fair Warning: Restoring a WordPress site without a restore plugin or a service can be risky. It’s also a lengthy process.

That being said, it may just be your last option.

In several instances, you might not have access to the WordPress dashboard. In such cases, you can’t use a plugin to recover your site.

So, the manual methods of using FTP, cPanel, and phpMyAdmin are your only option.

So, let’s cover how to restore WordPress from backup manually before we get into some specific restore issues.

Step 1: Download the backup

If your backup file is on some cloud storage service like Google Drive, download the zip file first.

Step 2: Log in to cPanel and delete your files

That’s right. Delete all your files. 

Go into the ‘public_html’ folder, select all the files, and delete all of it.

NOTE: If you go check your site now, you’ll see that the site no longer exists.

Step 3: Go to phpMyAdmin in cPanel and delete your site’s database table

This part is a little tricky.

You have to know which database to delete. 

If you’re not sure, it’s usually the database with the format ‘wp_site-name’ and that’s the one you want to delete.

Just in case you’re still not sure, head over to wp-config.php and you can see what the name of the database is.

Then go to that database, download a copy, and then delete the tables.

Step 4: Re-upload the files

You can do this step using cPanel or using FTP.

We’ll take a look at each.

If you’re using cPanel’s File Manager, upload the zip file directly to the ‘public_html’ folder.

You can then use File Manager to extract files directly from the zip file.

Alternatively, you can use FTP to manually upload each file.

So, connect your site to an FTP client like FileZilla and simply upload the files.

Step 5: Re-upload the database

NOTE: This is not recommended if your website was hacked. If your site was hacked, create a new database. Re-uploading the same database will cause restore attempt failures 9 times out of 10.

Finally, add the database to phpMyAdmin again.

That’s all!

If you managed to do this successfully, good for you.

But chances are that this problem will occur again. The best thing you can do now is to start using BlogVault’s Managed WordPress Backup Service to prevent future incidents.

If you still haven’t been able to restore WordPress from backup, chances are that your backup might be corrupt.

Or, maybe you have an XML file which isn’t actually a backup.

In that case, you can attempt a recovery without a backup.

How to Restore a WordPress Site Without a Backup

Restoring a WordPress site if you have no backups is a tricky thing to do.

There are 2 ways to do this. 

The problem is – neither is a surefire method to recover even 70% of your site.

But then again, 70% is still better than no site at all.

So, let’s just dive in:

Method #1: Using Google/Bing’s Cache to Recover a WordPress Site

Commercial search engines such as Google usually keep a cached version of your site stored.

This way, if your site is temporarily down, your users can still see a copy of the last cached content on your site.

To use this cached version to restore your site, head over to:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:https://example.com/

Replace the “https://example.com/” in the formula with your own site URL.

This will fetch the last cached version of your site.

Click on ‘View Source’ to see the Source Code.

Then, copy the code.

Reinstall WordPress on your website.

Create a new page and paste the code.

For Bing, you can’t directly fetch a cached version of the site using a formula.

Instead, search for your webpage.

When it shows up in the Bing SERPs, right next to the URL, you should see a ‘down arrow’.

Click on the arrow.

Then click on ‘View Cached Page’ and repeat the same process as before.

Again, there’s no guarantee that you will recover your full site. But you might recover a part of it.

Method #2: Using the Wayback Machine to Recover a WordPress Site

The Wayback Machine is the world’s largest internet archive.

So, there’s a good chance that it took a snapshot of your site.

This is especially true if your site is a few years old and generates a lot of traffic.

Head over to:

https://web.archive.org/web/*/https://example.com/

Again, replace the “https://example.com/” in the formula with your own site URL.

This will fetch a calendar of the times the Wayback Machine crawled your site.

Look for the latest date encircled in green.

That’s a sign that the site was crawled properly.

Click on the snapshot time and wait for the cached site to load.

Next, use the Wayback Machine Downloader to get a copy of your site emailed to you.

Finally, use this backup to restore your site manually.


NOTE: For the database, you will have to create a new one so that you can create a new user with admin privileges. After that, you can upload your database as well.


How to Get Out Of the Vicious Cycle of Lose, Restore, Repeat

We really hope that you were able to restore WordPress from backup or without one.

And if you weren’t, we are sorry that we could be of any more help to you.

Here’s the truth:

This will happen again.

Unless you take action and prevent it today.

Trust us when we say it, BlogVault saves over 200,000 businesses from getting crushed because of a broken WordPress site every month.

With advanced features that normal plugins simply can’t offer and 100% restore rates, BlogVault can help you secure your site permanently. 

You can quickly restore WordPress from backup that is safe and secure on a separate server.

Even if you managed to restore your site somehow using this guide, we really recommend that you use BlogVault moving forward for daily automated backups.

It just saves you from all this pain.

Still have questions?

Tweet out to us now and we’ll be happy to help you find a solution that works for your needs.

Until next time!

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