The fool proof guide to backing up your WordPress website.

Have you though about how you backup your WordPress Website? Call me old school but there are certain maintenance aspects that I prefer to manually manage. Backing up a WordPress website is one of them. In this blog post you will learn my fool proof way to back up your WordPress website using cPanel.

Disclaimer: If you do not follow the instructions carefully, you can permanently break or delete your website. If you are not too ‘tech-savvy’ I would recommend reaching out to a WordPress developer (like myself!) and having this process taken care of professionally.

Step 1: Access your cPanel

Generally, there are two ways to access your cPanel, the first is by logging into your Website Hosting account and the second by going to

There are two options you will need to look at within the cPanel, phpMyAdmin and File Manager.

cPanel Icons for backing up a WordPress website
Depending on the version of your cPanel, your icons may vary.

Step 2: Back up your files

Navigate to the File Manager, you need to ensure you are in the public_html folder, which is where your WordPress installation files should be.
Your WordPress website files should look something like this:

Backing up WordPress - File Manager

Select all of your files by clicking the first file, holding down SHIFT (or Mac equivalent) and selecting the last file that appears.
Right click and select Compress.

Backing up WordPress - Compress Files

On the next screen, select Zip Archive from the radio buttons. Scrolling to the bottom of the pop up box, you can optionally choose to rename the new Zip file we are creating.

Hit Compress File(s) to start your WordPress file backup.

For good housekeeping, I like to create a new folder and drop and drag the newly created Zip file into so it is easily located if required.

Step 3: Back up your Database

A database is critical for your website. It holds all of the information within your website such as content, pages, blog posts etc.
Before we can back your WordPress database up, we need to determine what the name of your database is.
Still in the File manager, you will notice a file named wp-config.php.
Select this file and locate the Edit button within your File Manager. Be sure not to make or save any changes within this file, we are simply looking at it to determine the name of your database.

Within this file you need to late your DB_Name (see example below)

/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘your-database-name-here‘);

Take note of the database name indicated within the ” marks.

Next, lets get onto backing up that Database!
Return to the cPanel and now locate your phpMyAdmin button.

Don’t let this next screen scare you away, we are just running a simple export.

On the left hand menu, locate the name of the Database you wish to backup, select it by clicking on the name.
The database tables will open to the right side. Locate the export button at the top of the page, select GO.

Backing up WordPress website - phpMyAdmin

Viola! You have just backed up your WordPress Database.
Again, as good practice, I like to take this downloaded file and uploaded it into the Folder we created earlier which has the .zip backup of the website files, however it is completely up to you how you store your files.

And there you have it, you have just backed up your entire WordPress website.

Regular, automatic backups are also a great option. Most people opt for back up plugins such as the free plugin by Updraft or even the paid counterpart from iThemes BackUpBuddy.


WordPress developer in Melbourne - Jaffe Websites