While there are several plugins that do a great job of simplifying the process of (automatically) backing up your WordPress site, images and settings (my favorite is BackupBuddy by ithemes)–there are a handful of times when a manual backup is required.

This is usually while troubleshooting other issues within WordPress such as when you temporarily cannot access your admin dashboard (or your backup plugin as a result), or when newly installed plugins do not play nicely with other plugins–or stop working altogether.

You should always create a full backup of your site before making changes to the site (to resolve an issue or customize your site) that may fail or otherwise provide unwanted results. When these kinds of problems arise, instead of building your entire site from scratch again, you can simply restore your site from the backup file. Continue reading to learn how to back up your WordPress site.

The two most common ways to manually backup a WordPress site utilize free and easy-to-use tools on your server (provided by your web host)–phpMyAdmin and cPanel.

How to make a WordPress backup using phpMyAdmin

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  1. Login to phpMyAdmin and select your WordPress database.
  2. Once you have selected your WordPress database, click the “Export” tab.
  3. If prompted, choose a compression method (gzip is best), and click “Execute.”
  4. If prompted by your browser, click “Yes” to download the database file.

How to make a WordPress backup using cPanel

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  1. Login to cPanel.
  2. Click on “Backups.”
  3. Click on the database you want to download.
  4. Confirm any dialog boxes from your browser, if prompted.

That’s it! Of course it’s much easier to hire a WordPress developer to troubleshoot your issues and make optimal changes to your site and server–which would begin with a full site and database backup.