Using FTP To Access Your Site
Making a Backup With FTP
Now that we know how to connect with FTP to our website, we can do all sorts of things with our site.
A good start is to make a backup of everything that is hosted there. There are multiple reasons to make a backup. For example, if you plan to make changes to files on your server and you would do something wrong, you got at least a backup of that file that you could re-upload to restore your website to a previous state.
It is generally a good idea to create backups of your site often. I would never entirely rely on a backup service of a third party, such as your hosting party, because also they can have problems with hardware and software. If their backup goes wrong that one day that you need to get a previous version up and running, you have a huge problem. Having an own copy at hand is very useful for these situations.
Note however, that making backups with FTP will not copy your content of your site. The content of your site you can export using plugins and the export function within WordPress - Tools.
With FTP you make only a backup of your content images, plugins, themes and generally WordPress files as well as anything else you uploaded to your site (for example ebooks for download).
As you probably noticed, when you connect to your website you see only two directories.
The first is actually a directory and the second is a shortcut to a directory that represents the https version of your site. I believe they have put both together on Wealthy Affiliate, so that's why it is a shortcut, linking to the httpdocs version of the site.
Anyhow, whichever of the two you double-click (or select with the mouse and click enter on your keyboard), you will end up seeing the actual directory and content of your website with lots of files and directories.
Locally, you do not want these files to just end up anywhere, so let's create a directory in the place of your choosing and enter that so that we can start downloading a backup of your site.
On the left side where your local PC files reside, right mouse button click anywhere in the whitespace. A menu will pop-up asking what you want to do. We want to create a directory (alternatively you can select create directory and enter it).
I made mine on my special backup drive and created a nice structure for backups. This is entirely up to you, but if you plan to have several versions of backups, a structure might be a good idea. The easiest structure however is to have a backups directory and have a directory for each site underneath that. As for versions, you could name directories by date or by numbers.
For the simple purpose of this tutorial I created a directory e:\backup and below that I created a directory for each site I want to backup (sitename.com etc).
Then you have to go into that directory before we can start the backup process.
To backup the files on the right, you need to select them all. All directories and all files, from the top of that list to the bottom of that list.
To select all the files there are a couple of methods to do so:
- Select something inside the right frame and press CTRL+A
- Select the first item of the list, press and hold SHIFT and select the last item on the list
- Select the first item of the list, press and hold SHIFT and run the down-arrow until all is selected
- Use your mouse and click below the last item, then drag a selection-frame over the entire list
If you have problems with selecting, then please nudge me and I will update this tutorial accordingly.
Now to copy and download all these files on your site to your local PC at the directory we previously created, you can do this in two ways.
If you are very well established in dragging and dropping with the mouse, drag the files you just selected from the right frame to the left frame (click and hold left-mouse-button and drag the files to the left window then let go of the left-mouse-button).
If you are less well established in drag-and-drop, right click with your mouse on the selected items and click download from the popup menu*.
*There is one more method to get that last menu up, if you are on a Windows machine, there is a button for context menu's on the right hand side before the CTRL button that will do exactly the same as right-clicking.
Immediately the download of your site should start and it will take some time depending on the size (including themes and plugins) and the speed of your internet connection.
When everything is completed, you have successfully taken a full backup of the files of your site.
You can choose to do this backup every day, every week, every month or just before and after each WordPress update. At least you got a method to get everything downloaded to your pc. Now if you also do a content export from the Dashboard, through:
Tools - Export - Export All Content and Download Export File, you are also safe on the database side of things.
Next up, how to upload a theme or remove a theme