Knowledgebase: WordPress
Updating, Migrating and Backing-up WordPress websites
Posted by Richard Moran on 20 March 2013 03:09 PM

WordPress is a self contained application that allows the online creation and management of a blog or website. It is extensible through installable themes (design) and plugins (features) so can be used to power virtually any type of site. WordPress used by almost a quarter of all websites worldwide.

WordPress can be installed via your control panel (App Vault Install) , or you may download it and install it yourself (Self Installed). When installed via the AppVault, the control panel takes care of downloading and installing the WordPress files, creating the database, connecting it to WordPress and running the install program to set things up. If you choose to install it yourself, you would download and expand the files into your webspace via FTP, create the database yourself via the control panel, and connect the two.

Installing via the application vault has several advantages:

1) It is quick and easy - installation takes less than 5 minutes.
2) Our system can force critical updates onto your installation
3) It is simple to change the URL path of the site (move back & forth between and as needed.

Updating WordPress

As with all applications, regularly updating WordPress is absolutely essential if you want to avoid your site being hacked, defaced or hijacked for spamming. You should log on regularly to the WordPress dashboard and check if updates are available for your installed themes, plugins and for WordPress itself. This is not optional - if you fail to update regularly, your site *will* be compromised.

The recommended way to update WordPress is via the application vault on the control panel - this will show when available updates are available and you can click to install them. It is additionally possible to update via the WordPress dashboard itself,this works well but will be invisible to the application vault which may still indicate that updates are available. Updating of plugins and themes is always done via the WordPress dashboard.

Backing Up WordPress

Your site is backed up for 30 days by our disaster recovery systems that prevent against hardware failure etc, but you will also need to ensure that you take regular backups of your WordPress site and data so that you can recover in the event of your site being hacked, corrupted by update or malfunction, manually removed, accidentally overwritten etc.

There are two main ways to back up WordPress files and content:

1) Manual Backup of files & database
You can take a manual copy of your WordPress files at any time via FTP and a copy saved on your local machine or other location (Websites -> -> FTP Access). You can use phpMyAdmin via the control panel to download & save a copy of your WordPress MySQL database to your local machine (More Services -> Databases -> your_database). Typically Manual Backup is only used by developers or other "Power Users".

2) Use WordPress Plugin (Recommended)
There are several plugins that you can install into WordPress to make exporting or backing up your site much simpler. Some plugins only save the backup within the WordPress site itself so are not a complete solution. Some will allow scheduled backups which can be useful (but ensure they do not build up and fill your disk space as this could affect your site). We recommend two plugins:

"WP Clone" - This plugin allows you to take a snapshot of your entire site, then download it to your local machine. This makes it easy to recover your site in the event of a problem, or if you need to move it between domains, hosts or machines etc.

"Updraft Plus" - This plugin allows you to periodically back up your WordPress site, and to store copies on external cloud storage such as Dropbox etc.

Migrating WordPress

There are several ways to migrate WordPress websites.

1) Using a Cloning Plugin (recommended)
The simplest way to move a WordPress site is to use a cloning plugin such as "WP Clone". You install the plugin initially on the original site, and create a snapshot. This can be accessed via the web or downloaded to your PC for safekeeping. You then create a new (empty) WordPress site on the destination, install the same WP Clone plugin, then import the snapshot from the original site. This can be used for moving a site between machines or hosts, or cloning on to a new domain.

2) Using WordPress Export/Import Functions

Wordpress includes an import/export option in its main settings menu. This can be useful in some circumstances where a plugin cannot be used (for example, moving from to your own self-hosted version). The Export function will create a downloadable XML file that includes all the pages, posts and menu items etc from the original site. It will also contain references to images, but not the images themselves, nor will it export custom themes or plugins etc. When importing into a blank site it will recreate all the pages & text content from the original. If the original site is still accessible via the web, it can also download the images etc used in posts. Other media, as well as the theme, users and plugins need to be manually installed and/or configured afterwards.

3) Manually via FTP & phpMyAdmin etc.

Typically only used by Developers or WordPress experts, this is a lesser used method but can be useful in certain circumstances. The WordPress files are physically copied using FTP or similar, and the database is exported from the original site and imported to the new site using phpMyAdmin. The WordPress configuration file (wp-config.php) must be manually adjusted to connect to the migrated database.

Useful WordPress plugins ... - Clone your site - Backup your site to Dropbox etc. - Completely kill commenting - Protect login page, forms against spam - Help your site rank better in search engines.


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