Do I need to back up WordPress core?

UpdraftPlus Premium has the option to back up WordPress core, and any other files that have been stored by hand in the WordPress root directory. Should you use this option?

Normally, backup of WordPress core is unnecessary, since you can always download a new copy from (and most web hosting companies provide a 1-click WordPress installer to make it even easier). Also, if you suspect that your site has been hacked, it is better to download a fresh copy. This spares the worry or work of comparing your backup with a clean copy of WordPress core.

However, the backup is also harmless, so if you are not sure if you should be backing it up, then you lose nothing by doing so. Here are the situations in which you will want to back up WordPress core and any extra files stored in its directory:

  • No need to go to to get a new copy of WordPress.
  • If you have made modifications to WordPress core (which is not recommended – you should use plugins instead; but perhaps you had some unusual need), then this will back them up. (You will know if you have done this).
  • If you have added new files into WordPress, but outside of the normal upload mechanisms, then this will back them up.  (You will know if you have done this – it refers to files that are not in a standard WordPress directory (e.g. the ‘wp-content/uploads’ folder), and not uploaded through the WordPress dashboard (e.g. you added an extra directory /mystuff in the root of the site via  FTP).
  • If you also store other resources or even separate sub-sites in the same folder as WordPress, then this will include them in your back up. (e.g. If you added another PHP-based application that was not WordPress, and you want to be able to back this up too).
  • Backup up your wp-config.php file so that you do not need to re-enter your database settings and other customisations upon restoring

Posted in: Backing up