How do I restore my backup (from an already-installed WordPress site)?

A WordPress installation is made up of two things: firstly, the files which are on disk, and secondly the (MySQL) database. To transfer a site from one place to another, there are two things to do: 1) Copy the files and 2) Copy the database.  Restoring a backup is exactly the same in principle – restore the files and restore the database. Read on!

(Note – if you are migrating a site to a different location (URL) – i.e. not restoring at the same website address, then there is also a third step: 3) search and replace the database. For this, you will need our Migrator add-on (which is also part of UpdraftPlus Premium).

First: Is your website behind a reverse proxy, such as CloudFlare, or GoDaddy’s “Preview DNS” proxy? You will want to not access your WordPress dashboard this way to do the restoration, because such proxies usually impose a low time-out. If you cannot disable the proxy, then  you may need to restore manually instead unless you know your backup is small.

If your site is still basically intact (in particular, the database), then on the UpdraftPlus settings page, there is a ‘Restore’ button. Press it, and it will show you all of the backups it currently knows about. There is a further “Restore” button for each backup, allowing you to choose the particular backup you wish to restore. Once you press that, it will allow you to choose which parts of that backup you wish to restore. Then it will over-write your present data with that contained in the indicated backup set.

Note: if your website backups are large, then a bargain-basement web hosting company may impose a time limit which may be too small. This may result in a partially-restored site. The lowest risk way to restore (but which requires more skills) is manually – see here. Another way to lower the risk is to restore one component (uploads, plugins, themes, etc.) at a time. Generally if you are restoring many things, the safest procedure is to first restore the “uploads”, then secondly the themes, then finally the plugins, others and database together. “Database last” is the one rule that should be kept.

If, however, you have a set of backup files that UpdraftPlus does not yet know about, then there is one extra step. (This situation happens if you make a new WordPress install and install UpdraftPlus). To make UpdraftPlus to know about your backup, you need to 1) Copy the backup zip files from your backup set into UpdraftPlus’s folder by FTP (by default this folder, relative to your WordPress installation, is wp-content/updraft). 2) Click on the ‘rescan folder for new backup sets’ link. Then you can proceed as before.

re1 - restore my backup

If you want to restore the database, then you do exactly the same again – but tick the box for “Database” when asked to. Alternatively, if you want to do it manually, then you need to use your web hosting company’s control panel. (Or if you are an expert user, use MySQL from the shell). Look for “database administration” or “phpMyAdmin”. You should be able to find the “Import” function and upload your UpdraftPlus database backup file directly into there. (You will need to remove the encryption first, if you chose an encrypted backup – this is done for you automatically if you download the database from your site’s UpdraftPlus settings page; or you can use the drag-and-drop decrypter on the setting page).

If you require more detailed instructions, we have a step-by-step guide available.

Posted in: Restoration