Backing up the WordPress Database

DarkerView is a substantial part of who I am. Recorded here are my writings, photos and experiences spanning years. A personal diary recording so much of my life. While my blogging effort goes back to 2005, it is only the last few years that are hosted on the newer WordPress based DarkerView. Still, I worry about losing it all, this would be a stunning blow, not something I wish to contemplate. Thus I make an effort to back everything up.

Hawaiian Double Hulled Canoe
A Hawaiian double hulled canoe awaiting a crew below Pu’ukohala Heiau
I use a plugin called, simply enough, WordPress Database Backup. The plugin is easy enough, just a few settings to make.

The settings are fairly stright forward to figure out… You can choose to exclude storing post revisions and any spam comments you may have not yet deleted. Any optional tables, not part of the basic WordPress setup, can be included. You can choose to set up an automatic backup at several different time intervals.

The plugin also gives you a few choices in what to do with the backup file. The backup can be stored on the same server as the site, emailed to the specified address, or simply downloaded to your local computer. I generally trigger my backups manually and download them to my local machine for storage at home.

The result is a compressed file containing the necessary SQL code needed to recreate the entire WordPress database. For DarkerView, a three year old blog with almost one thousand posts, the resultant backup file is just over a gigabyte.

Unpacking and perusing the resultant backup file is interesting. Laid before you is the entire structure and contents of the site in SQL query statements. In the case of DarkerView this currently results in over sixteen thousand lines of SQL. Not having really looked at the back-end database before it is quite interesting to examine.

The backup file does not include the uploaded files, the images and thumbnails. It is necessary to copy this section of the blog manually. This is easily accomplished with an FTP session opened to the hosting computer and a single copy command.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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