How to Automatically Backup Your WordPress Site for Free

There are many ways to backup your WordPress site. Some of them paid, some of them free. We’ll be looking at a free plugin to easily backup your site and store it on a cloud. You can schedule automatic backups so you won’t need to worry about a thing.

The plugin we’ll be using is called BackWPup and it provides a complete WordPress backup with the files automatically stored on a cloud server of your choice.

Installing BackWPup

In your WordPress dashboard click on Plugins > Add New. 

Do a search for BackWPup and the BackWPup WordPress Backup Plugin should show up in the search results.

Click on Install Now and then Activate the plugin.

Creating a Backup

To make a backup click on Add New Job which will take you to the General tab. First type in a name for your job. This name will be used internally to help you identify each backup.

Under Job Tasks select the tasks that you’d like BackWPup to perform. If you want a full backup of your WordPress site then tick all of the options except the last one, Check database tables.

Under Backup Creation you’ll be able to select your file type. The default is .zip but you can use the others if you like.

Under Job Destination you’ll be able to select where you want your backup files to be stored. As you can see BackWPup has a number of services that you can use and I recommend sending to one of the cloud hosting services such as Dropbox or Amazon S3. From there you can download a copy to your computer. Don’t keep a backup on your server because if something happens to the server you’ll lose your backup as well! In this example I’ll be backing up to Amazon S3.

BackWPup Job Destination

Once you click on ‘Save Changes’ a new tab will appear at the top ‘To: S3 Service’. You’ll need to either authenticate the service for Dropbox or provide an Access Key in the case of S3. 

If you’re using Amazon S3 login to your dashboard, click on your username to the top right and select ‘My Security Credentials‘. Expand the ‘Access Keys’ tab and either create a new access key if you’ve forget the secret key or copy the access key and past it into the BackWPup tab. The secret key will only be shown once so if you don’t know what it is create a new access key to receive a new secret key.

Copy both the Access Key and Secret Access Key into your BackWPup tab and then you’ll be able to either select a bucket or create a new one. When you’re done click on ‘Save Changes‘.

To run the backup immediately click on ‘Run Now‘ up the top. Keep reading for how to schedule regular backups.

Scheduling Backups

Click on the ‘Schedule‘ tab to schedule your backups. Under Job Schedule select to Start job with WordPress cron. You’ll then be given a schedule execution time to select how often, monthly or weekly, you want the backups to take place.

Alternatives

That’s it for automatically backing up your WordPress sites for free. There are a number of paid plugins that do essentially the same thing. The main difference is that with a paid plugin you’ll get support. Two of the most popular WordPress plugins for backing up your site are VaultPress and BackupBuddy by iThemes.