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Backup WordPress database

How to Back Up a WordPress Database 

Do you want to learn how to back up your WordPress database?

In case your website has a server error or cyber attack, it’s important to back up your database. Using Duplicator, you can quickly save your current database and restore it after any data loss or unexpected changes. 

In this tutorial, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to back up a WordPress database!

Why You Should Back Up Your WordPress Database

Behind the scenes of your website, many components work together to show your content to visitors. WordPress websites have core files with custom themes, plugins, and uploads. Plus, there is a MySQL database.

Your database stores and organizes the data for your website. It saves your posts, pages, user data, categories, tags, and much more.

To keep your data secure, it’s important to back up your website. This way, you’ll have a saved copy on hand if an error occurs.

Here are some reasons you might need to have a backup of your WordPress database:

  • Plugin or theme update errors
  • Attacks from hackers
  • Before migrations
  • Accidental data loss
  • Server errors
  • Malware infections

Before any of these WordPress errors happen, you can back up your database. When you have regular backups to fall back on, you’ll always keep your website functioning correctly. 

Note: Keep in mind that you should also do a full backup of your WordPress site. If your website crashes, a database backup won’t be enough to fully restore your site’s functionality. You’ll also have to have a complete backup of your site’s files. 

How to Back Up a WordPress Database

Now that you know why database backups are important, let’s talk about how to perform one! We’ll show you all the backup options available for your database. 

Method 1: Back Up Your Database With a Plugin

If you want to start backing up your database, you have two options. You could either use a WordPress backup plugin or do a manual backup. 

To make sure your data is backed up correctly, we’d recommend installing a plugin. This will allow you to avoid making errors in your database.  

Step 1: Install Duplicator

Duplicator is the best WordPress backup plugin. You can use it to easily save your entire website or parts of the site like your database:

Duplicator Pro plugin

Unlike other plugins, Duplicator Pro is well-equipped to handle large websites. If you need to back up the database for your WordPress Multisite network or ecommerce site, Duplicator is the right tool for you.

To get started, select a subscription for Duplicator Pro. After you check out, download the plugin and save your license key.

Then, you’ll need to install Duplicator in your WordPress admin dashboard. If you need help with this, check out this guide on installing and activating plugins.

Before you start using Duplicator, it’s important to activate your license key. First, go to Duplicator Pro » Settings » Licensing:

Duplicator license key

Paste your license key in the Activation settings. Now you’ll be prepared to back up your database!

Step 2: Create a Package

Using Duplicator, you’ll create packages (or backups) that contain your website’s content, plugins, themes, database, and WordPress files. These packages are fully customizable, so you can easily save just your database if needed.

To create your first database backup, go to Duplicator Pro » Packages » Create New:

Create Duplicator package

On the next page, name your package. Under Storage, select the offsite location where you want to save your website backup. Duplicator supports local storage, as well as remote services like:

Database backup storage location

For this tutorial, we’ll save the database backup to the local server. If you want to save your backup to the cloud, check out our guide on how to create a cloud WordPress backup.

Next, you’ll need to adjust the archive file to only include your database. Normally, it would also package your core WordPress files, plugins, themes, and other data.

To do this, find the Archive section. Then, click on the Database Only tab:

Backup WordPress database

After you click Next, Duplicator will scan your website. If a successful database backup is possible, you’ll see all Good notices:

Database scan

Lastly, hit Build. Your database backup will start automatically. 

Tip: You can also use Duplicator to back up your media library, core WordPress files, or other custom combinations of site data. However, as we mentioned earlier, you’ll need to have at least one full backup of your WordPress site files and database. For complete backups, don’t make any changes to the default package settings. 

Step 3: Download Your Backup

Once you create a backup, you can download it to your computer. If your database ever becomes corrupted, this backup will be available for recovery.

To download your backup, go to the Packages page. Then, click on Download » Archive (zip):

Download database archive

This will download your database in a zip file. Whenever you need to restore your database, Duplicator can import this saved archive. First, find Duplicator Pro » Import:

Import website archive

Simply drag and drop your database archive into the upload box. After it uploads, you’ll see an overview of the package. Review this information and click Continue:

Restore database backup

Then, Duplicator will prompt you to set a recovery point. However, if your website is already broken, you don’t need to set one. To continue, hit Launch Installer:

Launch database installer

At the top of the page, make sure the mode is set to Overwrite Install – Database Only. After this, accept the terms and notices and click on Next:

Database package install

Finally, you’ll need to confirm the installation settings. In the pop-up window, hit OK:

Confirm database install

Duplicator will then install your database. You’ll need to log back into your dashboard:

Finished database import

By now, your original WordPress database will be restored!

Note: Keep in mind that a database-only package won’t restore your WordPress files. You should only use this method if there is an error within your current database. To fully restore a broken site, you’ll need to import a complete package of your entire website.

Step 4: Set up Automatic Backups

If you run a WooCommerce store, you might want to regularly back up your database to save your customer data. Instead of creating manual backups every time, consider enabling automated backups.

In your dashboard, go to Duplicator Pro » Schedules » Add New:

Create website backup schedule

First, give your backup schedule a name. For example, you might label it Monthly Database Backup:

New database backup schedule

To only back up your database, you’ll need to create a custom template. To do this, hit the + icon next to Package Template:

Create package template

On the next page, name the template. Then, select the Database Only option:

Database backup template

You can also choose a custom storage location if you’d like. Once you make these changes, go back to the Schedules page. Be sure to select the template you just created:

Select package template

Now you can choose how often you want your database backed up. Duplicator supports monthly, weekly, hourly, and daily backups:

Automatic database backup schedule

You’ll also need to set a Start Time. This will tell Duplicator when you want to start the backup.

Finally, scroll to the bottom of the page. Here, check the box next to Enable This Schedule:

Enable backup schedule

After you save your backup schedule, your database will be automatically backed up. By creating scheduled backups, you’ll have peace of mind that your data is secure!

Method 2: Back Up Your Database With phpMyAdmin

If you don’t want to use a plugin, you can also back up your database manually. However, this is not the best backup solution because it comes with more room for error. For secure site backups, we’d recommend using Duplicator instead.

One way to manually back up your database is through phpMyAdmin. This software allows you to manage your MySQL databases with a web browser. It provides an intuitive interface for administrating WordPress database tasks.

Usually, hosting companies will give you access to phpMyAdmin. With Bluehost’s WordPress hosting plan, for example, there is a phpMyAdmin button in your control panel:

WordPress phpMyAdmin

Once you’re in phpMyAdmin, select your database name. Then, click on the Export tab:

Export WordPress database

For the Export Method, choose Custom. The Format should be a SQL file:

Custom database export

Under this, you’ll see a list of database tables. You can deselect any of these to exclude them from the export file:

Custom database tables export

Next, scroll down to the Output section. Here, select Save output to a file. You’ll also need to set the Compression to zipped or gzipped:

Database output

To download your database, hit Go. Your database will download as a zipped or gzipped backup file to your local computer. You’ll need to save this in case your database ever unexpectedly changes. 

Method 3: Back Up Your Database With cPanel

If you don’t want to deal with phpMyAdmin, you can also back up your database in your cPanel dashboard. Many web hosts have a built-in database backup feature.

First, open cPanel. Find the Files section and click on the Backup option:

cPanel backups

On this page, you’ll see different ways to back up your WordPress website. To download a copy of your database, click on the database name under Download a MySQL Database Backup:

cPanel database backup

This will automatically download your database as a SQL file. If you ever need to restore it, go to Restore a MySQL Database Backup and upload the file.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I back up and restore my WordPress database?

You can back up and restore your WordPress database using the Duplicator Pro plugin. Simply create a new package and only include the database in the archive file. Download the package and reupload it to your site to restore your database when you need to.

How do I do a full backup of my WordPress site?

You can fully back up your site by creating a package with Duplicator. By default, Duplicator will bundle your site files, custom plugin and theme data, and database tables. After your package is built, you can download the archive and installer files to your computer. These make it easy to restore your site later if needed. 

What is the best WordPress backup plugin?

The best WordPress backup plugin is Duplicator. You can use it to schedule automatic backups or back up your site in real-time. The plugin also has cloning and migration options to help you move to a new host without downtime. 

Alternatives: BackWPup, BlogVault, and UpdraftPlus are also effective backup plugins with incremental backups and customizable backup files. However, Duplicator provides a standalone installer which makes it easy to restore backups. Plus, it can back up larger sites and Multisite networks

How do I manually back up my WordPress database?

You can manually back up your WordPress database by exporting it in phpMyAdmin. As an alternative, some web hosting providers have a backup feature in cPanel. 


That’s it! You now know how to back up your WordPress database.

Do you want to save your database backup to the cloud? Check out our beginner-friendly guide on how to back up WordPress to Microsoft OneDrive.

Are you ready to start backing up your database? Download Duplicator Pro today!