It may not seem like something necessary to do on your site, but if you don’t backup your database and something catastrophic happens, all the content and data will be lost.

The first thing you need to do is log in to your website’s WordPress Dashboard using mydomain.com/wp-admin.

Once you are there, in the menu of options to the left, select “Backup” from the “Tools” menu.

Once you have opened that page, you will see a list on the left of core WordPress tables that will always be backed up. To the right of that, you will see a list of tables that are optional. It may be a short list or an extremely long one, depending on what plugins you are currently using on your website. You may select any of these that seem relevant to you. You can usually tell what they are based on their name. If there is any doubt, select it anyway. Better safe than sorry.

Once you have selected the data tables to be backed up, scroll down to the next section, where you will select your Backup Options. There are three options available: Save to the server; Download to your Computer; Email Backup. It is not recommended to download the backup to your server. If there are any problems that would cause the data to be lost in the first place, it may be a server problem (though it is a rare occurrence). Better to be safe and download a copy or have it emailed. For the initial backup, selecting “Download to your computer” might be the best option, that way it is a hard copy that you know right where it is. Once you’ve made your choice, hit the “Backup Now!” button. If you choose to download, it will begin to download to your computer right away.

Now that you’ve gotten the initial backup of your database completed, you should schedule backups depending on how often you plan to update your site. A backup is no good if you are constantly making changes but never back them up. Scroll down to the bottom of the page until you get to the “Scheduled Backup” section. Here, you will be able to choose how often your database is backed up. The only option for delivery is to have it emailed, which of course you can save to your computer once you get it. You will also need to check any additional data tables to be included in the scheduled backups just like you did in the beginning. Once you have selected all your options and tables, hit the “Schedule backup” button.

While we’re on the topic of saving valuable website data, I would like to mention that in addition to saving your database to your computer, you may also want to look into a 3rd backup option, just in case your computer decides to crash as well. We prefer to use Mozy.com, but any 3rd party backup will be good, just as an added bit of insurance.

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