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Which WordPress Files Should You Backup?


We are often asked what WordPress files we should backup. A current WordPress backup is a good way to protect yourself against server failures or hacks. You don’t have to back up every file. We will show you how to backup WordPress files and which WordPress files are most important.

Why Setup a WordPress Backup?

Hacking attempts, DDOS attacks, and data theft are all possible on any website that is accessible via the internet. Even the most secure websites could be affected.

Your website’s backup solution is WordPress. It helps you keep your website safe and allows you to restore it after an accident.

Many people believe their site doesn’t require a backup. They don’t realize the importance of having a backup until they are in an accident.

How do you create WordPress backups?

An automated backup system is the best way to set up a backup.

There are many free and paid WordPress backup tools. You can take a look at our expert pick of the best WordPress backup plugins.

If you have the budget, then we recommend using VaultPress. It syncs all your changes automatically, keeps daily backups with security scanners, and allows for easy restoration. BackupBuddy. This is the most widely used WordPress backup plugin.

You will only need to set up a backup solution once. It will then automatically create backups.

Which WordPress Files to Backup?

Three types of files can be found on a WordPress site. One database is also available.

  • WordPress Core Files
  • Files within the wp-content Folder (your theme and plugins as well as uploads)
  • WordPress configuration files
  • Your WordPress Database

Backup of Core WordPress Files

The core WordPress files are what run your WordPress website. These files are the ones that you would normally not make changes to, and they will remain the same for all WordPress sites.

Core WordPress files contain all files found in the root folder and wp-includes folder.

These files can be downloaded from WordPress.org. These files don’t need to be backed up.

Core WordPress Files

Backup of wp-content Folder

WordPress’s wp-content folder stores all of your media, images, themes, and plugins.

You can always find new copies of the plugins or themes you have installed on your WordPress site if you know which plugins you used. You don’t have to back up plugins or themes folders in this case.

Back up these folders if you don’t know where you put the plugins and the theme. These folders should be backed up if you have a custom theme.

All of your uploaded images and photos go into the /wp-content/uploads folder. You will not be able to recreate this folder if you lose it. This folder must be backed up regularly.

The wp-content folder is also the place where your other WordPress plugins may create their own folders.

wp-content folder

W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache plugins may create folders or files in your wp-contents folder. You can ignore these files, as plugins can regenerate them.

However, plugins like Envira Gallery create folders to store files for your galleries. These folders must be backed up.

It is important to ensure that plugin-uploaded files are not deleted from your backups.

Backup WordPress Configuration Files

WordPress configuration files are important settings files for your WordPress website. These are the two most important WordPress configuration files:

These files include settings relevant to your WordPress website. These files can be manually restored, but it is safer to keep them as backups.

Backup WordPress Database

WordPress stores all data in a MySQL database. This is where you will find all of your posts, pages, and users.

This section is the most frequented on your WordPress site. This is why you need to create database backups more frequently.

Why not just backup all files and databases every time?

A backup of your WordPress files and database should be done at least once per month. You can make full backups of more busy websites once a week, or even every day.

You should remember that full backups can take a lot of resources. If you are on shared WordPress hosting, then this could hog your server resources. This could cause a slow site or even render your site inaccessible.

Your storage space would encroach if you stored large backup files in the cloud. It can be hard to transfer large files on a shared server. This could lead to unfinished uploads and corrupt backups.

Let’s now see how to backup WordPress sites.

Create Multiple WordPress Backup Schedules

Multiple schedules are the best way to set up a backup. This is how you can create multiple backups:

  • Monthly WordPress backup
  • Every week, partial WordPress backup
  • Every day, database backup only

Many good WordPress backup plugins can be used to set up multiple schedules. We will show you how to do that in BackupBuddy. You can also refer to their documentation for information about other plugins.

Log in to your WordPress admin area, then click BackupBuddy. Your backup schedules will be listed there.

If this is your first time using BackupBuddy, then it will automatically take you to the quick setup wizard.

quick setup wizard in BackupBuddy

Follow the on-screen instructions and BackupBuddy will create your first complete backup.

Then, come back to BackupBuddy >> BackupsPage. There are two options for complete and database backups.

To create a backup profile, click on the plus icon.

Add new backup profile button

You will then see two fields. Select Files only from the dropdown menu. Next, give a name for this backup profile. Partial Backup

Setup and Add Backup Profile

Next, click on the gear icon to view your newly created profile.

Customize your backup profile

You will be able to customize the backups that your profile creates.

You will first need to uncheck the “Use global defaults files to back up?” option. This will display the WordPress files and folder structure.

customizing backup profile

Just move your mouse to the folder or files you wish to exclude and click on “minus” to cancel. You can repeat this process to improve wp_includes and/or wp_admin folders, files within the root folder, plugin-created files, and files within the wp_content folder.

When you’re done, click on the Save Profile Settings button.

You are now ready to go.

WordPress Schedule Backups

BackupBuddy >> Schedules Page to add a new calendar.

Next, give the schedule a name. Then select your backup profile. You can then choose a backup interval. BackupBuddy allows you to choose from several options, starting at once an hour up through once a year.

Adding a new schedule

We recommend that partial files be backed up at least once a week.

To select the location where the backup should be saved, click on the remote destination button. To save your changes, click on the Add New Schedule button.

That’s all, BackupBuddy will now create a partial backup of your files based on the schedule defined by you.

To ensure that your backups don’t get too big can be moved reliably, and can be easily restored, you can add additional schedules or backup profiles.

We hope you found this article helpful in learning which WordPress files you should backup. The right way to do this.


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