I want to restore, but cannot or have failed to do so from the WP Admin console – can I restore manually?

Don’t panic. If you have access to your backed files (i.e. you have the emailed copies, or have obtained the backed up copies directly from Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, FTP or whatever store you were using), then you simply need to unzip them into the right places. These are all basic operations and not difficult – if you don’t have anyone who can help at hand or if you just want a quick solution, then contact Support (Premium customers only).

Note: Over the years there has been a tiny number of users who go the do-it-yourself route, but who make beginners’ mistakes (which is understandable) and then decide to send us nasty-o-grams about it. The procedure below is tried-and-tested; we have done it over a hundred times. Please don’t be one of those unreasonable users! :-)

Finally… if your WordPress site is too broken to log in to, and you have an UpdraftPlus backup, then you can just delete the broken site (or better, move it elsewhere – just in case it still has something you might want in), make a new install of WordPress and UpdraftPlus, and go from there instead. It’s not necessary to go the manual route until you really need to!

But, if you are doing a manual restore, then… just do this:

1. Unpack a fresh copy of WordPress.

Unless you purchased the “more files” add-on, UpdraftPlus does not back up the WordPress core – you can just get a fresh copy of that from www.wordpress.org. So, if you are starting from nothing, then first download and unzip a WordPress zip from wordpress.org/download. (If you did purchase the add-on, then you can skip from here to step 2., and just make sure you unpack the wpcore zip first at that stage).

You will also need to set up a new wp-config.php file, by editing and renaming the wp-config-sample.php file that is included in WordPress, so that it contains your proper database details. Don’t access WordPress itself in your browser until you’ve finished this entire procedure, though – edit wp-config.php in a text editor. You will also want to copy any other settings you had in your old wp-config.php – e.g. multisite settings. (If your backup includes a “wpcore” zip, then you can find your old wp-config.php in there. Don’t copy the old database settings, unless you really do intend to use the same database instead of importing the backup as below).

If your site is moving location (i.e. changing URL), then you will also want to add WP_HOME and WP_SITEURL parameters to the wp-config.php file. See here and here. (If you do not, then you will not be able to log in).

2. Unpack the plugins / uploads / etc.

After doing that, then unzip the backed-up zip files (i.e. the archives that UpdraftPlus created and stored) for your uploads, themes, plugins and other files back into the wp-content directory. If your access to your website is via FTP, then that means you would do this for each of the .zip files you have from UpdraftPlus:

  1. Unzip the zip file on your computer.
  2. Log in via FTP to your website’s hosting space, and move into the wp-content directory.
  3. Copy the contents of the zip file via FTP into wp-content. If done correctly, then for the “plugins” backup, you will be copying over a folder called “plugins” into wp-content, so its final name is wp-content/plugins. (The “others” archive will not follow this pattern – it can have anything in it)

If you had the “more files” add-on, and have a “wpcore” zip, then unzip that one first. That is the zip that contains the “wp-content” directory that you’ll then be extracting the other zips into.

N.B. For larger sites, your backup may be split over multiple zips files. For performance reasons, by default, UpdraftPlus splits the data every 400MB. So, you may have more than one “uploads” zip (with names ending in uploads.zip, uploads2.zip, uploads3.zip, etc.). You need to unzip and upload *all* of these, so that the final wp-content/uploads folder (in this example) is the resulting of merging all those zips (i.e. unzipping them all on top of each other).

3. Import your database

Finally re-install the database. Your web hosting provider will almost certainly provide you with access to a database manager – often phpMyAdmin.

If your database was not stored with encryption, then you can simply click on the ‘Import’ function in your database manager, and upload the database file (the file which ends in db.gz). Then you are finished!

Note: some versions of phpMyAdmin only want to accept a database backup for which the filename ends in the pattern “.sql.gz”. You can achieve this by simply renaming the UpdraftPlus backup – change the filename ending from “db.gz” to “db.sql.gz” before uploading it.

If your database needs decrypting (if the file name ends in gz.crypt) then you need to decrypt it before doing the above step. See this question here.

Posted in: Restoration