WordPress works based on core PHP files and a database. Most hosting companies use MySQL database as the default option for installing WordPress. Taking a regular database backup is one of the essential steps in preparing for unexpected disasters. In this article, we will explain how to download WordPress database using phpMyAdmin tool.
Why to Keep a Database Backup?
Theme, plugins and other core files are part of WordPress installation. However, you do not need to backup them frequently as you can always get them from the developer’s site or from WordPress.org repositories. There are two things you need a regular backup in WordPress. One is your images and other is your text content. WordPress stores all images under “/wp-content/uploads” folder which you can backup regularly. The text content what you type in the post editor is stored in “wp_posts” table of your MySQL database. You need to take a regular backup of this data due to the following reasons:
- In case if someone hacked your site, you should have the local backup for restoring purposes.
- You can import the downloaded database locally using tools like XAMPP and install WordPress on your computer.
- Database backup will also be useful for migrating content from one hosting company to other.
What is phpMyAdmin?
Unlike other files, you can’t download WordPress database from admin panel or using FTP connection. Though there are backup plugins available, we recommend manually download your database so that it is safe and secure. For this, you need to use an app called phpMyAdmin from your hosting account. This is the most commonly used app both in cPanel (like Bluehost) and with custom hosting like SiteGround.
How to Download WordPress Database?
The hosting setup may look different in different companies. Here we will explain with SiteGround hosting and you can use similar setup in Bluehost, HostGator or any other companies.
- Login to your hosting account and go to your site’s hosting panel.
- It is called Site Tools in SiteGround while you will be using cPanel with most other share hosting companies.
- Use the search tool to and open phpMyAdmin app.
- This will open the tool in a separate window showing the databases available for your WordPress installation.
- Select the database you want to download and go to “Export” section.
- By default, you will see the “Export method” as “Quick – display only the minimal options” selected.
- Change that to “”Custom – display all possible options” to view additional options for downloading your database.
- Make sure to select the format as SQL and select all the tables.
- Select the compression method as “gzipped” or “zipped” to reduce the file size when downloading your database. You can extract the compressed database file as a SQL file.
- You do not need to change any other options, scroll down and click on “Go” button.
- This will start the download of your database file which may take some time depending upon the size.
- When you are done, close phpMyAdmin window.
You can use the compressed database file to extract and get SQL file and use for any restoring or local setup purposes.
Note: If you want to edit the database entries for any reason, make sure to take a backup as explained above and put the site in maintenance mode. Sometimes, wrongly deleting entries may show PHP errors or show white screen on the browser. You can avoid users seeing the sensitive error messages by putting your site into maintenance mode. As an administrator, you can check the site by logging into your dashboard. Once everything looks fine, then you can disable the maintenance mode and allow visitors to see your content.