WordPress relies on its database. So we want to make sure that we keep the database that is running your website humming along and error free. For non-techies the thought of doing anything with a database can be pretty scary. Also, many clients have mentioned that in this tough economy they don’t have extra funds for file storage or even more premium plugins which many other articles on this topic elude are necessary.
So with that in mind, I’ll make it super easy for you to get a process in place without spending a dime! Today we’ll cover the very basics you need to do. Most once setup are on auto-pilot. The rest are a few simple tasks that you can do on a regular basis to avoid any headaches.
The other benefit of database maintenance is that maintenance includes backups. Google is urging website operators to sign up for its security notifications after a study of 760,935 hijacked websites revealed the difficulties in cleaning up infections that expose visitors to malware. You can read about that here.
Backing Up Your Database — Off-site
The first thing we want to get into the habit of doing is backing up your database. And not just backing up to the server — getting that backup copy off the server! That back up file won’t do you any good if the server your website, and therefore you backup copy is also on, gets compromised or crashes.
The plugin I use is WP-DBManager. This plugin let’s you schedule the plugin to do weekly backups (or daily or monthly). The frequency of backups depends on how often you update your website. Then, what I do is every Friday I FTP into the server and download the backup file to my computer, and to a flash drive just in case my computer crashes. You can’t be too careful when it comes to backups!
To get your database backup off the server, you can use the file manager in your cPanel and navigate to the directory where the backup file is stored (with WP-DBManager that’s the wp-content/backup-db folder) and download from there.
Don’t know how to FTP?
FTP is a direct way to get at the files for your website — without having to go through your cPanel. You would use your cPanel username and password with your URL in the FTP settings to connect. Check your web hosting provider for your specific “FTP” settings.
Okay, we now have our database backed up and have a copy off-line. Next, we want to clean things up a bit by repairing and optimizing. A database that is not maintained, over time, can become sluggish and start hiccuping.
Optimizing and Repairing your Database
WP-DBManager has a built-in scheduler to optimize and repair as well as schedule your backups.
Backing up, repairing and optimizing is on auto-pilot. Sweet! All you have to do is get a copy of that database off the server for safekeeping.
Now you have the basics to keep your database running smoothly and backed-up. Get the above in place and take the time to embrace FTP. Take my word for it — you don’t want to think back and wish you did because of a crash or compromise. Don’t be that guy (or gal).
At your service,