This wasn’t going to be the subject for my post today, but a series of events have changed my mind. Here they are:

Yesterday on my blog, WPShout I published ‘10 Awesome Things to Do With WordPress’ Custom Fields‘. This morning I awoke to find not a single comment on the post. I was disappointed as the post had taken ages, but I didn’t think much more of it. Until this evening. I wanted to email a friend a link to the post, so I loaded up WPShout, only to find the post wasn’t there! In the admin was only my draft from a couple of days ago. Odd, I thought. I copied and pasted the post from Google Reader and republished the post. And then I realized that a heck of a lot of comments I’d spent yesterday evening replying to had gone, and so had my replies. In other words, my database had reverted to a version a couple of days old. Why? I don’t know (if anyone does have any idea, could you drop me an email?!) at this point.

Of course, at this point you’re (probably not) screaming at your monitor

“just restore the backup you’ve got!… you, you do have a backup, right?!”

Yes. Of course I did. Or so I thought. I’d set up the WordPress Database Backup plugin to email me a backup of the database every 24 hours, and that email automatically got archived. Which meant I didn’t see it hadn’t been sent for a couple of weeks because when moving domains I’d forgotten to reinstall the plugin. Which meant I didn’t have a backup.

Where this post is going is simple – don’t be an idiot like me and only realize your backup doesn’t exist when you actually need it, spend five minutes now installing the plugin I mention above and set it up to email you every day. Just don’t archive the email automatically. WordPress Hacks Top Tip: don’t be an idiot….always have a backup.

Hi, I'm Alex Denning. I run a site called where I publish WordPress Tutorials. You should follow me on Twitter @AlexDenning!

  1. Kyle Eslick says:

    Great tip! I found myself in this situation a couple years ago and now I do backups bi-weekly or weekly depending on how active each website is.

  2. Leland says:

    This is definitely a great tip. The database is probably the most important thing you need to backup on a regular basis, especially for an active site.

    It’s also a good idea to keep a backup of your active theme as well as plugins handy, although these usually don’t change much.

  3. Kel says:

    It’s rumored that some web hosts only keep old backups themselves… so if your site went down and the host restored from an old backup – presto – old data!
    Read on:

  4. This just shows how important a simple backup can be…

  5. Sharninder says:

    Good tip and yes, everyone should use the wp DB backup plugin. I use the plugin to mail me a backup on my gmail address and so don’t really have to worry about storing the backup again somewhere.

  6. Taylor Blue says:

    This is a great idea and should give no one an excuse to not have a backup. I was hacked many times on my old site and didn’t have backup and kicked myself. Everyone should have one because you never know what can happen with them. Thank you.

  7. Thanks for the reminder. I’ve just turned on my automatic backup again.

  8. ComputeLive says:

    Thanks for the plugin..I was looking for one which would email me the backup of the database after a certain interval…

  9. Judith says:

    Hey, Alex,

    You and I were having the same kind of day yesterday! Fun, huh?

    Just the stress alone of trying to figure out what happened is enough to drive one insane, but then, to not have a backup — that would have caused my head to explode!

    But just as you suggest, I did have a backup. Here’s another very important thing to consider. Remember to also backup — again — before you install any plugins! Doing so saved my sanity and my site yesterday.

    I installed a not so good plugin that is not so well supported (which I found out after the fact). The plugin totally screwed up my database and the ONLY way to get my site back up and running was to restore.

    Don’t even want to think of what I would have lost and the time it would have take to rebuild my extensive site if I had not had those backups. Just the thought of it makes my stomach churn.

    WordPress Hacks Top Tip: You just cannot backup enough!

    Hope your recovery is not too much of a PIA…

  10. Dean Saliba says:

    Backing up your database is vitally important. I always backup my database every single day just in case.

  11. Great tip and the wordpress backup plugin had made the process so much easier by automating it.

    Before this plugin, i had to go to mySQL, phpadmin, what-have-you and manually extracted the backup files – very tedious and calls for lots of procrastination.


  12. George Serradinho says:

    That’s a bummer. I get a backup of my database sent to me every day and I archive that. I make sure every 2 days or so that I have been sent the email. It also gets archived automatically as normal.

    We all need to make sure if anything happens to our database, that we can restore it from a recent copy as to not lose any post or other details.

  13. Alex Denning says:

    Thanks guys! Weirdly WPWebHost didn’t seem to have any backup, which is very odd, but I suppose that serves me right for not doing a backup! Don’t make the same mistake I did!

  14. ComputeLive says:

    I would like to thank you for this plugin..My server was down for some reason..when it was restored again..I had lost all my post..but thanks to this plugin I was able to quick get all my post back…

  15. nazcar says:

    before i usually forget to back up data..
    now, i post a stick note above my monitor so it always remind me to backup my database.. :)

  16. CSS Madness says:

    Thanks for the remainder, even though we have setup a script or tools to do automatic backup for us, we still have to check the script occasionally to see if it still runs smoothly.

  17. Google Money says:

    I used to use WordPress Database Backup plugin as well, but then switched to WP-DBManager recently. It’s much better and even has a restore feature which rocks.

  18. Paul Lear says:

    Thank you for the plugin recommendation, Alex.

    I might try it out, I’m doing it manually with the export feature at the moment.

    Take care,


  19. WP Database Backup is a great solution to keep your WP database backed up. We developed our own WP Backup Plugin a couple months ago that automatically backs up both our WP files and WP database to Amazon S3 – which is great because I always forgot to manually back up.

    We built this because we lost an entire blog because our web host said they were backing everything up – and they weren’t. Luckily we were able to restore 4 of our blogs from these backups after they got hacked a couple weeks ago.

    When in doubt – always be backed up!

  20. turisuna says:

    I had bad experience too with my blog posts several months ago, and the worst was I didn’t use to make a back-up file for my data, so all my data disappeared lol. Now I’m really afraid if that problem will happen again, I have installed the back-up plugin to save all my files.

  21. I didn’t back up my data to my second website and lost everything, never doing that mistake again.

  22. I will never forget that day when my blog was got hacked due to very ordinary password. Unfortunately at that time i was not aware of WordPress backup and i had to start from zero.

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