Why should you worry about backing up your site? If you are self-hosted, you may be thinking your host server is backed up, and that may be true. Thankfully, backing up your site is simple and free with one WordPress plugin and Google Drive.
While it may seem unlikely that your hosting company would go under or their servers with your data would get hacked, the truth is that by not backing up your site, you are putting all of your content at risk. I feel better having more control over my own data. After all, I have put a lot of work into my websites.
1. Create a Google Account
First, you will need to have a Google account. If you don’t already have one you can sign up for a free Google account here. Having a Google account will allow you to set up a Google email address, connect on Google+, use Google Drive to store files and use Google Analytics on your website, among other things.
We chose to use Google Drive to backup our WordPress site because we already had a Google account and Google Drive includes 15 GB of free storage.
2. Install and Activate Your Back-Up Plugin
There are many plugins that you could choose for backing up your site. UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore by UpdraftPlus.com is one easy-to-use plugin that can be set up to automatically back up your site to a location you choose. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to back up your WordPress site to Google Drive with UpdraftPlus because that’s the plugin/method I use.
To install this plugin:
- Go to your plugins page from your WordPress dashboard.
- Click “add new” at the top.
- Type “UpdraftPlus” into the search box and hit enter.
- Click “Install Now”
- Return to your plugin list and make sure it is activated. If not, click “activate.”
Configuring Your UpdraftPlus Settings
Once you have installed and activated the plugin, click the “settings” link under the UpdraftPlus plugin name in your list of installed plugins. On the next page, click the settings tab to configure your backup settings.
You can decide how often you want the plugin to automatically back up your site. I chose to change the backup intervals from manual to weekly and left the number of backups to be retained at two.
By changing the interval to weekly, this means once I finish configuring the settings, this plugin will automatically back up my site every week without having to do anything more.
I left the remaining “Include in files backup” settings at the default settings. The default settings will back up everything on your WordPress site except for the WordPress platform itself. WordPress could be downloaded again from WordPress.org, if that were necessary.
Next, scroll down to the “Reporting” settings. You can check the box to have an email report sent to you each time a backup is performed. I like to get these emails so I know the plugin is working properly.
In the “Copying Your Backup to Remote Storage” section choose where you want to save your backup. For this tutorial, we have selected Google Drive. This causes the area below the drop down box to fill in with instructions for connecting this plugin with your Google Drive account.
At this point you will want to scroll all the way to the bottom and click save changes. You will be taken away from this page in the next step.
Setting up UpdraftPlus to Automatically Back Up to Google Drive
Once you have saved your settings, click the link in the Google instructions that starts with “Follow this link to your Google API Console….” (The Google instructions are located under the “settings” link under the UpdraftPlus plugin.)
This will take you away from your plugin page and to your Google account. If you are not automatically logged into Google, you may be asked to select a Google account and log in first.
Click the “Create Project” button and create a Project name between 4 and 30 characters. Leave the Project ID as whatever fills in automatically. Check the box to agree with terms and click the “Create” button.
In the the next window in the far left column, select APIs and auth to expand that menu, then select APIs. The API library will display. Under the Google Apps APIs column (far right), select Drive API. Click Enable API.
Next, Go back to the “APIs and auth” section in the left hand column and this time select “Consent screen.” In this screen, the only required fields are email address and product name. For product name, I filled in our website name. Then scroll all the way down to select Save.
Next go back to the APIs and auth section and select Credentials. Under OAuth, click the button to Create new Client ID.
Leave Application type as Web application.
Open a separate browser window or tab to access your WordPress dashboard. Navigate back to your plugins and find UpdraftPlus on the list and click settings again. Go back into the settings tab and scroll down to where you selected Google Drive as your backup remote storage location.
There is a link in the Google instructions of your plugin settings that you will need to copy and paste into the Google Create Client ID window. Copy and paste your link into the Authorized redirect URLs field in Google. Copy and paste from your own WordPress dashboard. Do not use the text from these print screens.
Click Create Client ID.
The screen will give you codes for Client ID and Client secret. Copy these codes and paste them into the appropriate fields in your UpdraftPlus plugin settings. Scroll down to save changes.
Go back to the settings tab and scroll down to click the link to authenticate with Google. In the next screen hit Accept.
You should then see a success message. Congrats! You did it!
Testing your Back Up Plugin
You can test the plugin by going into the plugin settings and selecting the Current Status tab. You will see a scroll bar showing the back up progress and when the backup is completed, the date of the last backup job run will change to today’s date.
Now you can go into your Google Drive account and find the folder that was created during the set up process. You should find five new backup files in that folder if you retained the default settings to back up everything.
It is a good idea to check your plugin settings periodically to see what UpdraftPlus shows as the date of the last backup run. It is also a good idea to check your Google Drive periodically to check the date of the most recent backup files just to make sure everything is still working smoothly.
Have you used a plugin to back up your site? Do you have a different way you like to back up your blog?