WordPress Recovery After Disaster

WordPress recovery usually means actions taken after some disaster – you got “WordPress white screen of death” or content is missing for some reason, or something different happened. Standard prevention measure is to make backup of all your online files every day or every week, depending how often you change your website content or produce new content.

With WordPress the backup – for quick recovery – is based on two actions: WordPress database backup and WordPress/Themes/Plugins backup. Why do I split backup into two different actions? I do it for simple reason, WordPress is system where content is separated from layout. All your content is kept not on public_html or htdocs or some other online directory, but in WordPress database. WordPress database holds not only pages, posts, coments, replies, but also plugins/themes settings and some other stuff which can be installed during customization but doesn’t come with WordPress release.

Web hosting companies have backup solutions which make backup daily or every week, but using their systems is pain sometimes. And if something went wrong you would want to set your WordPress website back to normal not within days but within hours. Based on my experience I can say that even medium size WordPress websites can be restored within 1-2 hours if there is backup copy. Also, both database sql copy file and all online files can be kept on laptop or on archive external drive. The point is, that all WordPress website files are small enough (usually several MB, anyway less than 100MB) – except media files.

What to do if you don’t have previous copy / backup files of your website? It depends. If some content is missing, it could mean that WordPress tables can be corrupted or maybe content is destroyed for some other reason. Anyway, before you take any action, immediately make copy of your WordPress based website when you see that something is wrong. And, first of all – take care about your users’s data – that is WordPress database with user info. WordPress and plugins and themes can be restored exactly as they were before because somewhere there we have copies of the system files, but with users’s data situation is totally different – you have to do everything to save users’s data (both users’s accounts settings, and users’s content too), because this is usually the most valuable part of your website.

Backup your WordPress web site can be done easily if your web hosting provides phpmyadmin system (MySQL database management system), because this systems makes most database operations easy and quick. For online files copy simple FTP download to your computer will be sufficient.