How to Back Up Your WordPress Database before Upgrading

One step you should always, always take before upgrading your WordPress software installation is to back up your database. This step isn’t required, of course, but it’s a smart step to take to safeguard your website and make absolutely sure that — should the upgrade go wrong for some reason — you have a complete copy of all your website data that can be restored if needed.

The best way to back up your database is to use the MySQL administration interface provided by your web-hosting provider.

cPanel is a web-hosting interface provided by many web hosts as an account management tool containing phpMyAdmin as the preferred tool to manage and administer databases. Not all web hosts use cPanel or phpMyAdmin, however; so if yours doesn’t, consult the user documentation for the tools that your web host provides. The instructions in this appendix are provided using cPanel and phpMyAdmin.

The following takes you through the steps of creating a database backup using the phpMyAdmin interface:

  1. Log in to the cPanel for your hosting account.

    Typically, you will browse to http://yourdomain.com/cpanel to bring up the login screen for your cPanel. Enter your specific hosting account username and password in the login fields and click OK to log in.

  2. Click the phpMyAdmin icon.

    The phpMyAdmin interface opens and displays your database.

  3. Click the name of the database that you want to back up.

    If you have more than one database in your account, the left-side menu in phpMyAdmin displays the names of all of them. Click the one you want to back up, and that database loads in the main interface window on the side of the screen.

  4. Click the Export tab at the top of the screen.

    The page refreshes and displays the backup utility screen.

  5. Select the Save as File box.

  6. Select the “zipped” option.

    This compiles the database backup file in a .zip file and prepares it for download.

  7. Click the Go button.

    A pop-up window appears, allowing you to select a location on your computer to store the database backup file. Click the Save button to download it and save it to your computer.

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