How To Backup and Restore WordPress Website Without Plugin (Manually using cPanel)?

Backing up your WordPress blogs is the best thing you can do to show your love to something that is the source of your bread and butter.

Okay if not bread and butter you cannot deny the fact that you would never want to see your WordPress blog harmed.

Recently WordPress blogs have been prone to more malware and hacking threats (not because of the inefficiency of the CMS but due to the careless attitude of the bloggers).

In order to save yourself the havoc the best thing you can do is backup the blog so that you can restore it to a starting point.

backup wordpress blog
You can backup your WordPress files through two ways, namely:

  1. Automatically– where you can rely on free and paid plugins and services to backup your blog at a scheduled time, and
  2. Manually– where you back your files yourself to your external storage device or cloud to be more secured.

Automatic Backup of WordPress Blog

There are plenty of plugins to backup your WordPress blogs.

Certain plugins like duplicator and backwpup are free and do a pretty good job. But when using them for a serious and professional blog I would never go for them. I prefer premium plugins and services like backupbuddy and vaultpress respectively.

Why choose manual backup over automatic backup?

  1. While automatic methods have their own benefits there are still chances of failure when backups are not properly done or the backup files have been not completely transferred or emailed.
  2. Sometimes your cloud storage accounts or your email can get hacked. That’s when your potential hackers will get access to all your blog contents and then might harm you.
  3. Storing the files to your external hard drive can assure you that at least point 2 above can never happen.
  4. Most free backup plugins store the backup files on the wp-content folder of your database which would imply that your backup will also be infected in case your blog gets infected.

How to Manually Backup WordPress using cPanel?

1) Login to your cPanel.

2) Now scroll down to the files section and you should see an icon named Backup wizard. It’s our weapon so click on it. Remember the location might vary from cPanel version to version and themes that you have been given by your host service.
hostgator backup wizard
3) On clicking the backup wizard, click on backup button.
hostgator backup and restore

  1. Halt here are some points you need to know before you begin.
  2. The backup button provides two backups, the full backup and partial backup.
    1. Full backup is used when you are shifting to a different webhost and cannot be used to restore within the same host.
    2. The partial backup is used to restore when your site gets down or is infected by malware and you still are continuing within your webhost.
  3. There are three types of items that need to be backed up under each of the above two.
    1. The home directory: it contains your themes, plugins and site’s content.
    2. The MySQL database: it contains your sites set up that helps your site to store the posts and comments etc.
    3. The email forwarders and filters.

Now let’s continue with our process:

4) Now download all the three one by one and save them on your PC or external hard drive.
hostgator full or partial backup
Note: you cannot download all the three at a time, you need to download one, go back and download the other one. Rinse and repeat.

TIP: Save your backup to a drive that does not get used for other purposes otherwise chances are it will get infected.

TIP: Take a backup of your PC as soon as you download it to your PC. It can come handy if your PC gets infected with virus.

How to Restore WordPress Backup files with cPanel?

Now that you have successfully created your backup, here is an easy peasy way to restore it to your webhost. You can use this, if God forbid your site gets down with malware.

    1. Login to the cPanel and go to the backup wizard, same as you did while taking the backup.
    2. There is a button for restore, click on it.

hostgator wordpress restore

  1. Now search the appropriate file you want to restore and then upload it. Click OK and you are done.

restore hostgator backup

How to Restore a full backup in Hostgator?

For Hostgator a full backup must be restored by the root user for the server. Hostgator has provision to restore your full backups for free as long as the account previously existed on their server and you have uploaded the file yourself.

The backup and restore process is now over. It was simple huh? It will take only a few minutes once you do it the second time. Just like how you can now install a WordPress blog in just four minutes.

How to Backup and Restore WordPress in Bluehost?

For taking a backup of WordPress blog from Bluehost hosting you need to have the access to cPanel, to get access click here (login link).

    1. You will find the Site backup Pro option on the cPanel under “file management”.

site backup pro

    1. It will take us to a new window where we will click on “site backup and restore basic”. The other option is a paid one and we will focus on the free method.

backup and restore basic

    1. The next screen that comes shows us five options

site backup and restore

  1. Now for options “Website files”, “Home directory”, and “MySQL” you have one additional option (the browse button) which enables you to view the content within them and restore selectively. (however this is a paid feature and as we are focused on taking complete backup, we’ll exclude this)
  2. For taking backups:
    Click on download option from “website files”.
    download options for website files
    You have two options the regular backup date (as I have mentioned above click on weekly backup unless you update too often). Next option is the file type if you are confused select the .zip type as it is globally accepted.
  3. Click on download. Repeat the same process for all the five options above.

Restoring the Bluehost backup:

For restoring, click on the restore tab from the five options that you intend to restore.

For example if you want to restore websites files click on the restore button under that and you will be prompted to choose the backup date on the first option and then click on “restore now”.
restore options for restore files
You are now done restoring your website.

Some FAQ on taking and restoring WordPress blog backup:

Mostly it happens that we read a tutorial and we don’t actually get the point of the writer. Even if the writer has explained all the points we might have doubts separately. Here are some FAQs which I cherry picked from many forums and blogs that were unanswered.

Q1) How often should I backup my WordPress blog?
Ans: There is no hard and fast rule as to how often you should backup your WordPress blog. If you blog too often or have lots of customizations done frequently I suggest you backup your blog daily or every other day.

For normal users you should ideally backup your WordPress blog every single week.

Q2) How to restore WordPress backup files?
Ans: The question causes a trauma to every novice user. I have answered the question just on the above section.

Q3) Do I need to backup my free WordPress.com blog?
Ans: Well you always need a backup for your blog. WordPress.com backups can be helpful when you move your blog to a self-hosted WordPress.org blog.
CLICK HERE to get free WordPress migration facility from me without costing a penny to you.

Q4) I don’t know what files of my WordPress blogs should I backup?
Ans: I suggest you to backup your home directory, MySQL database and the email forwarders and filters. These all are necessary and not just anyone.

TIP: For additional security I suggest using Bluehost. Not just because it does not let your website to be down anytime, but because it is rare for a Bluehost blog to get hacked or infected. Learn more about why to choose Bluehost over other webhosts.

Over to you

Now that I have shown you the process of backing up your blog I hope you do it regularly. You can also do it with plugins but try to be self-dependent. Machines can’t always be trusted. Remember the terminator series? Lol just kidding. Backing up by cPanel reduces chances of backups getting missed.

9 thoughts on “How To Backup and Restore WordPress Website Without Plugin (Manually using cPanel)?

  1. Hey Ankit,

    This is very useful article for those who need help to create a backup. Frankly speaking, I will share this article with those who are not aware about this.

    But I have a different problem. I want to change my domain with the same content. So can you help me with it.
    I hope you will reply soon.
    Thanks Ankit.

  2. Great post you have here Ankit. You really clarified me with the hitches i always encounter with cpanel backup.

    Thank you,
    Godwill

  3. Thanks so much for the writeup…i finally was able to set up a backup for my blog…been so worried about this.. just to ask tho, are there any other plugins you have or know off that can do this automatically?

  4. Hi Ankit, This is a better article on how to backup our WordPress website. backupbuddy is a great plugin but it most of the time i would like to take backup of my website manually and in this endeavor your article is a life savor for all of us.
    The only point i would like to add here is – You only need to take backup of database and wp-content, nothing else is required to take in your backup.

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