Updating WordPress and Backing Up Data

People are smart – really!  I know sometimes it doesn’t APPEAR that way but they really are – IF you understand the WHY behind what they’re doing.  In my experience, you must identify the “why” behind a problem before you can begin to provide a real solution.

When it comes to updating WordPress and backing up data – I’ve seen that there’s a REASON for why many people don’t perform these essential WordPress tasks and my daughter provided a GREAT illustration the other day.

Danielle gets REALLY annoyed with one of the exercise DVDs she uses because during the workout – the featured Barbie-esque creature chirps, “You just have to MAKE time for exercise.”  My daughter is annoyed because – when she looked up this woman online – she discovered that she works full time  as a personal trainer.  She snarled, “Of COURSE she has no trouble making “time” to exercise – she works in a gym!”

So I get it.  I get that many WordPress bloggers aren’t “working in a gym”.    Just as you have to find a way to fit exercise into your schedule – you have to find a way to fit blog maintenance into your life.

Nagging Never Works

The reason people don’t back up their data and update their WordPress installation is  not for lack of “nagging”.  WordPress gurus who speak geek fluently (for some – “plain English” is a second language). are constantly admonishing WordPress users to keep their installation of WordPress current.   They go on and on about “security” issues and can even share tales of horror about lost content and blogs destroyed because someone failed to update their WordPress blog installation.

Yet – there are still many – MANY blogs operating on outdated versions of WordPress…. like prior to 2.8 in some cases.  Why?  It’s not because the WordPress development team hasn’t TRIED to make it easy – they’ve included beg notices and made it so you don’t even have to log out of your blog to update.  Yet – I’ve found that even technically savvy clients will contact me – quaking in fear – because of the warning which appears before you update WordPress –

Important: before upgrading, please backup your database and files.

This links to a Codex page which is approximately 10 miles long.  I know from experience that when my people (who aren’t signed up for automatic updates) get to this point – their reaction is something like this…


The reason the page is 10 miles long is because they have to try to cover EVERY possibility available from various web hosting companies.   This is what happens when you try to write a message targeting EVERYONE – but that’s a rant better suited for my book’s blog Beyond Niche Marketing.  🙂

Quick Easy Database Backup

So here’s a quick EASY way to back up your blog – it’s a WordPress plug in called WP-DB Manager.  Install it on your blog and you can not only backup – but optimize and repair your database without logging out of WordPress.  I then FTP a copy of this backup to my hard drive and then burn it to a CD.  (This level of OCD  is  only defined as paranoia if you’re NOT working with Windows based computers.)  By the way – I feel this plug in is WELL worth a $20 donation to the creator.

Remember, your database is WHERE your blog content REALLY lives.  Pulling a backup of your WordPress blog without pulling a copy of the database is NOT backing up your blog. (If you’re thinking “duh”  as you read this – let me just say – there’s a REASON I’m clarifying this here.)

If you think your blog may have been hacked – Donncha et al have created a plug in to scan for exploits.

I know it’s one more thing in an already busy day – but it’s truly a zen moment when you experience the inner peace of having your database backed up and your blog purring along.


  1. This is so true Kathy. I remember the first time I was faced with that scary message, years ago – I decided, like so many, that I wasn’t confident enough in my ability to back up my database correctly so I just stuck to the the WP version which I was using until I dared take the leap of faith some months later!

    If only there had been such a plugin back then! It really is a fantastic tool for newbies – and a fundamental one too.
    .-= Nicola Connolly´s last blog ..Bing’s SEO challenge =-.

  2. Hi Kathy – This is a good reminder. I found it a pain to remember to back up initially, as I was used to having an ordinary website and uploading pages from my pc.

    I need to check out that plugin that tells you you’ve been hacked, cos I was hacked a few weeks ago and I was one of the last to notice.
    .-= Cath Lawson´s last blog ..7 Enjoyable Ways To Spend Less Money =-.

  3. Hi Kathy-I must say this advice is precious because many newbie bloggers without any tech knowledge are not eager to attempt back-ups of their blogs It can be a disaster if you make a mistake and then you’ve got down-time with posssibly lost data info. That plugin is a life saver.

  4. Henry – Thanks for joining the conversation!

    Blogging is so popular and it’s deceptively “easy” – until your blog is hacked or crashes. You still need to be “tech savvy” to be able to use the plugin – but it is a lot easier than using php admin to back up your data.