How do I make a backup of my website?

Backups are an essential part of maintaining data security.  If something goes wrong you can always "restore from backup". 

This is true of your local computer (you should always have a backup facility) and it is also true for your website files and emails etc.

If you are hosting your website through Purple Dog, it's good to know that we perform daily backups on your behalf, in case something happens to the server, or to our datacentre, we can restore from a backup "snapshot" from a previous period.  If you subscribe to n enhanced maintenance product (e.g. Club Purple or similar), we do offer additional backup frequency options - please ask if you would like to know more.

However, it is always a good idea to have your own personal backup, so how can you do this?  The following explains the options available:

1) Create a website backup from within WordPress [Easy].

2) Download your website using FTP [Moderate - Hard].

3) Create a backup using hosting control panel [Moderate - Hard].

4) Purchase a backup service


1) Create a website backup from within WordPress [Easy].

If you are using WordPress, this is an easy solution for non-technical users, or those who just need the "nuts and bolts", or those who prefer to work inside WordPress, this option could be sufficient.  You can get a copy of your essential website files, including the website database - and then use those files as a backup, or for moving to another server / provider.

The best way to do this will be through the use of a backup plugin.  Typically, the plugin will allow you to schedule backups (good as a set and forget plan) and action "on-demand" backups too.  Install the plugin in your WordPress website, then follow the plugin's instructions to make the backup.  There are multiple plugins that can do this for you, here is a good resource:


2) Backups via FTP [Moderate - Hard].

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) backups are a good way to transfer the core files (typically the ones that reside inside the public folder) from our server to your computer.  You can read more about what FTP is here. To get started, you will need;

  1. an FTP client installed on your local computer (software such as FileZilla)
  2. your FTP username and password (this was supplied to you in the hosting welcome email)

Steps to make a backup

  • If you have not already done so, download and install FileZilla (or your preferred software)
  • connect to the Purple Dog server using the credentials supplied to you in the webhosting welcome email
  • copy the files from the server to your local computer
  • use a programme such as notepad etc, to open a few of the files to verify the data

Please note that FTP backups will not include your website database or emails (if you have these) - it will only allow you to download the actual website holding pages. If you need a copy of your website database (e.g. if you are using WordPress or similar database reliant website) you should look at option 1 above instead)


3) Create a backup using hosting control panel [Moderate - Hard].

Note that not all accounts have access to host control panel. The hosting control panel may allow sufficient backup your entire website, database(s), emails etc - but enhanced skill may be necessary. One of the downsides to this method is that usually the backup generated in this way will be "locked" and cannot be easily "picked apart" if you want to access just a few specific files - it's more "all or nothing".  If you need to be able to find specific files in the backup, choose option 1 or 2 above instead. 

To access this facility, log in to your control panel and navigate to the backup section.  You will need to select which type of backup to generate, not that usually a "full" backup is typically selected here.  Once you have made your selections, you will need to go and do other tasks - the backup can take time and it is not "on-the-fly". Some time later, you will need to FTP into the account to retrieve the downloadable backup that can then be used to restore the site elsewhere.  Please note however, that the backup will usually be heavily compressed and may be very large in size.  It is highly possible that you will experience dropouts and lags for very large site downloads.


4) Purchase a backup service 

If you get stuck, it's good to know that we do offer a backup service. Pay once and get your backup as you like it. Please enquire for further details.



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