BackUp and Restore Tips

Ready For Your Next Blog Crash? BackUp And Restore Tips

image - Blog Backup TipsI had a bit of a scare yesterday and, after all, was done and said, only lost one day of work. I thought I’d post what I understand on restoring backups in hope of helping others. Let my mistakes help you from repeating them with your blog. Backup your blog with confidence so you can rest easy and enjoy what blogging is really about… creating content! Backup all of your content, files and your database. Most bloggers are backing up only their databases and that can be a mistake.

Important details

First, I want to put in a disclaimer that I am not an expert and this is just my understanding. If anyone sees something wrong or sees something that should be added, leave it in the comments below so we can amend this post.

Second, I’m Using a dedicated server from Hostgator that uses cPanel so that is what this post addresses. Also, I use the Genesis Framework($) and a Child theme (eleven40 Theme($)) (I’ve since switched themes). This can be an important distinction when it comes to restoring certain files for your blog since there may be multiple files.

My Scare – Blog Crash

I decided to add Google Plus comments to this blog and changed the Functions.php file. I must have done something wrong because I suddenly lost everything in the blink of an eye. My blog completely lost everything, including the backend of WordPress. The only access I had was via FTP and cPanel.

Mistake Number One

Yesterday I upgraded to WordPress’s latest version ( WordPress 3.5.2.). Before I made this change I, of course, backed the blog up. What I should have done, is backed it up a second time AFTER updating to the latest version.

Mistake Number Two

Several hours after updating the WP version and making several changes on the blog, not to mention comments and comment replies, I made the Funtions.php error. I should have backed up again before making any changes. Now, after getting the blog restored, I have lost hours of work and all of those comments. That’s still better than losing the entire blog but I should have backed up again; I do know better and just got in a rush.

Genesis Framework

The great thing about WordPress and the Genesis Framework is that installation is so simple that anyone can use it. You don’t need any coding experience. The bad thing about WordPress and Genesis Framework is anyone can install it. In other words, anyone can get the blog up and running but when something goes wrong, you need to be able to fix it. That’s what this post is for; to help you with backing up and restoring your blog.



Recap – BackUp and Recovery Tips

  • Backup your blog files and database before AND after any major changes and WordPress or plugin updates.
  • Backup on a regular schedule. There are free plugins that may help you with this.
  • You may have to change the database filename before using it to restore your blog. In my case, I have to change the backed-up file from mylogin_wrdp1.sql to wrdp1.sql.gz before the restore will work in the cPanel.
  • I like to rename files before replacing them rather than deleting or overwriting them. I just add something like -old to the filename. Once I know everything took, then I delete the old file.
  • Step back and evaluate the situation before attempting a database restoration You may only need to replace a particular file, depending on what caused the problem. That was my case yesterday and I compounded the problem with an unnecessary database restoration when a simple file swap would have fixed everything.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In my case yesterday, I sought help from the All About WordPress Facebook Group run by Nile Flores. That’s where I was fortunate enough to get invaluable help from Leslie Bogaerts. Leslie explained that the Genesis Child theme had it’s own Functions.php and I was replacing the main WordPress Functions file. In other words, I was replacing a file that had nothing to do with the problem. That kind of information would have taken forever to find by “Googling” it.
  • Finally, here’s some advice from Nile Flores:

Always have a beta version of your site to make changes. Make the changes there first before applying them to your main live site.

Blog Back-up Options

If you’ve ever had a hosting company shut down or shut you down then you know that sinking feeling that you may have just lost countless hours of work. If you have ever been the victim of a heartless hacker you’ve been there too. I have had both happen. I had a hosting company that €˜took the money and ran€™ to never return again. That was several years ago. I’ve been hacked a few times too.

Starting over can be a terrible ordeal but if you have recent backups of your site files and databases you can quickly be up and running again. Below are a few options to consider.

FTP client

When you first start your blog it’€™s very important to keep a copy locally on your computer. Use the exact folder structure on your computer that you do on your site. When you add plugins, new themes or anything else to your site always put it in the correct folder and the FTP it to your server. I recommend weekly FTP backups if you make updates and changes regularly. It’s good to get in the habit of making these backups the same time each week. Set aside half an hour or so dedicated to blog backups each week. I recommend database backups daily but more on that below.
Want more on using FTP? Watch the video at:

cPanel® Backup Option

If you are a technical person cPanel has their own tutorial for database backups.

WordPress Plugin

Austin Matzko offers a very popular WordPress plug-in that can be setup for automatic database backups. I use WordPress Database Backup on all of my blogs. I have them setup to email me daily backups.

Blogger Blogs

Alex Chitu @ Google Operating System Blog shows an easy way of backing up Blogger blogs using a Firefox extension. How to Backup a Blogger Blog

phpMyAdmin Backup

Daniel @ Daily Blog Tips shows how to use your phpMyAdmin to export your tables and database in his post “Backup Your Blog Regularly“.

Here’€™s a tutorial from Inc.: MySQL Tutorial

Remote Data Backup Service

Using an online third party backup service may be another option. I had a list of sites for you but then I found this review of online backup services by Evaluating Online Backup Services

The Importance Of Blog Backups With Backup and Restoration Tips

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