What WordPress Files to Backup: A Clear-cut Understanding to Avoid Mistakes

What WordPress files to Backup?

When the question of Backup arises, especially a WordPress site, a talented Blogger or site owner must have crystal understanding of what all WordPress files are about; which ones essentially need to be included in the Backup list and in respect of Backup, which files are important, to what extent and what other file-types beyond WordPress deserve being backed up.

Lack of knowledge of all these things may lead you to unwise decision for a complete backup which will ultimately result in losing a part or the whole of your website.

Discover what WordPress files to backup

Before this exploration, let’s have a inquisitive look at what things we don’t want to lose even a bit in case of any disaster to our site.

What WordPress files to backup focus image

This draft list may include-

  • WordPress Core Files
  • post
  • page
  • comment
  • Media- image, audio, video, animation etc.
  • User
  • Configuration
  • Theme
  • Plugin
  • Database

As a matter of fact, we cannot but do without a single element in the list. If anybody ever loses one of these, he knows well how hassle and pressure he has to go through.

Ultimately, we don’t want to lose or compromise anything. We like that, if ever any mishap takes place, we can regain the full website as a brand new one without employing any efforts except few clicking.

How Possible?

Answer is Two things- By gaining unhasitating knowledge and  taking timely attempt to Backup.

But all these are neither reasonable nor possible to backup same way, same often, in same storage or from same source.

Don’t worry, we won’t drop you into any complication of method, description and Jargon but simplify everything the way you like to think or go through.

First of all, we can backup all these elements from two sources-

  • Files and Folders from WordPress Installation
  • From phpMyAdmin under Database in Cpanel

Now question, are all Installed WordPress Files necessary to be backed up?

The simple answer is NO. Backing up unessential files will waste your storage spaces and valuable works.

So, in order to reach a sensible conclusion which files to backup; Let’s launch an expedition to have a decent understanding of what WordPress files are.

What do the WordPress files and folders mean?

Total WordPress structure is comprised of hundreds of Files and Folders most of which are php files. To build up a WordPress site, we download this WordPress structure from wordpress.org and upload it to our Server’s root directory public_html. The Directory clicked, basically 3 folders and a number of files are displayed as shown below—

Backup WordPress Files 1

Obviously, it is neither possible nor necessary to illustrate all the files and folders in this context. Our purpose, in this tutorial, is to get our readers acquainted with all the probable files and folders that are essential for Backing up activities. Reasonably we’re walking along the pre-chalked-out way and highlighting only the crucial ones-

  • WordPress Core Files: This is the WordPress infrastructure files we download from WORDPRESS.ORG before site building process starts which includes 3 folders wp-admin, wp-content, wp-includes and many other files.
  • wp-admin Folder: wp-admin simply contains the files that build WordPress Admin Panel or your Admin Dashboard. Important functions that it serves are connecting to the Database, loading the Dashboard and confirming users administrative permission.
  • wp-content: wp-content includes all  of the Themes, Plugins, images, audio, video and other uploads that you that you stored gradually to serve the site’s requirements.
  • wp-includes: wp-includes is basically the folder that stores the files to make the overall things function. This folder actually contains WordPress Core Files run WordPress.
  • wp-config.php file: This involves all of the Settings  that you made for your site from WordPress Admin Panel.
  • .htaccess file: .htaccess file is one of the most important configuration files for the Server that runs with Apache. It is a hidden core file (starting with dot); so is not visible in the file list in screenshot above. It functions for your post permalink structure, redirecting visitors (301 Redirection) to alternative pages and so on. You can access and edit this file by entering Server’s root folder via FTP Client (like FileZilla). But to make any edit or modification, it is essential you make sure of your expertise.
  • function.php file: Click wp-include and you see function.php file in the file list.
WordPress file to backup 2

It enables users to add functionality and feature in the WordPress site and acts like a plugin. It is also called the theme function file that enables to add theme-related features in any site.

However, all our necessary clarification on WordPress files are finishes. in the next step, we’re going to detect why and how we’re going to Backup which files.

Make a final selection which WordPress files to backup

Here are the list of WordPress files to backup and not to backup with their reasons—

  • WordPress Core files: You needn’t backup WordPress Core Files as you can always get a fresh new copy of it with updated version from it source.
  • wp-content: This folder includes the most essential files and folders you must backup. If you backup this folder, this will cover backup of your Themes, Plugin, and all of your uploads like image, video, audio, GIF, animation etc. If you’re assured that you did not edit or needn’t modify Theme and plugins, then you can exclude these. Otherwise do backup. Only include the theme(s) that you currently use.
  • WordPress Configuration files: .htaccess file and wp-config.php file under the general file list are the Configuration files for WordPress. You must backup these.
  • function.php file: function.php file is the place to add Custom code snippet that works as plugin. If you’ve added code, then, you can backup it. Otherwise, exclude from the list.
  • Database backup: All the files and folders we discussed above didn’t include Database. Then, where is Database stored? Actually database is not stored in any of the WordPress core files and folders. Database is stored in your Hosting Server under MySQL database that you created during WordPress installation process. You can access all of your databases from phpMyAdmin under Database section of Cpanel. You should Export database for backup in your PC’s HDD form phpMyAdmin and restore it anytime using Import button.

Here are the most contextual links of two Netplanter articles for you that essentially go for next steps of present post.

Some may throw question: Why all these hassles; Backup all the WordPress files and that’s OK.

You can do so. But things are not so easy. If you choose scheduled backup in a Cloud Storage, which most people desire, you cannot but be economical in question of storage space as your site is growing everyday. Again it is unwise to backup the files that you can get as part of WordPress Core Files free of cost and efforts.

That’s all the story on WordPress files to backup. If you read the whole presentation with inquisitive look, you must have mastered the backupable file type of WordPress. If there any other file that needs to be backedup. Or do you disagree with any of the points. Feel free to comment. Also share with your WordPresser friends if you think it will guide them.

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