How to Schedule Automated Backups for your Author Website

It’s very (very, very, veryveryveryvery) important to configure automatic backups for your author website. 

Did you get that? It’s important.

If you don’t back up your site, what will happen if it goes down, or is hacked? You’ll have nothing.

But with automated backups, you’ll have files you can use to restore your site and get rid of ay problems.

Your hosting provider probably tells you they back up your hosting account on a regular basis, and in theory this means that they could restore your site for you if there was a problem.

But what your hosting provider probably won’t be so quick to tell you is that their backups aren’t guaranteed. Every hosting provider I’ve ever worked with has a clause in its terms and conditions saying you shouldn’t rely on their backups.

Luckily, once you’ve installed and configured a backup plugin, you can leave it to do its work behind the scenes. And it’s only if you need to restore your site in future that you’ll need to look at it again.

It’s very rare that you need to do this.

In the last ten years I’ve created dozens of sites, and I’ve only once had to restore one of them from a backup. I got an email from someone who’d visited my website and found it had been hacked. It was displaying some indecipherable text in Arabic and playing a tune that was supposed to be ominous (mwahaha).

Unfortunately I was on a camping holiday at the time (it’s as if the hackers knew), but I made my excuses to my family, found the nearest Starbucks (for wifi, and coffee to calm my nerves) and restored my site from a backup taken before it had been breached.

If I hadn’t had my backup plugin running, I would have been stuck. And that would have been goodbye to my holiday!

As you’re only going to be running one site, and you’re going to keep it constantly updated (aren’t you?), then its unlikely that something like this will happen to you. But if it does, your backups will keep you safe.

Anyway, you’re thinking. Stop waffling on about backups and show me how to get them set up.

Sorry. Here goes.

The first step is to install the Updraft Plus plugin, which is free.

Note: This guide is for self-hosted WordPress sites, or WordPress.org. If you’re on WordPress.com, your site will be kept backed up by the lovely folks at WordPress, so you can relax.

Go to Plugins > Add New and type Updraft Plus into the search bar. Find the Updraft Plus plugin and click the Install button. It’ll install, and then you’ll need to click the Activate button.

The plugin will activate and you’ll see a popup. Click the Press here to start! button.

You’ll be taken to the backup settings screen (which is at Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups in case you need to find it again). Ignore any popups that appear and click on the Settings tab at the top. This is where you configure your automated backups.

Let’s work through the screen:

  • Files backup schedule: select how often you want the automatic backup to happen. It makes sense to have the same frequency for backups as you will have for adding new content to your site. So if you plan to blog every week, select Weekly.
  • Database backup schedule: Choose the same as for Files backup schedule.
  • Remote storage: select the remote storage option you’ll use. If you have an account with a service like Dropbox or Google Drive, it makes sense to use that. If you don’t have anything like that, just select Email.

Now scroll down to the bottom of the screen (you can leave all the other settings on the defaults) and click the Save Changes button.

If you selected a remote storage option like Dropbox, you’ll be given a link to authorize your account. Follow the instructions to link your remote storage to your website and have backup files sent there.

Your site will now be backed up automatically on a regular basis.

If you ever need to restore your site, go to Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups > Backup/Restore. Select the most recent backup that you know to be clean and follow the instructions to restore it. I hope you never have to use this, but it’s good to know it’s there.

And that’s it! Now you can go back to sitting in your garret and penning words of literary lusciousness, while knowing your author website is safe. Enjoy!

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