Test your WordPress Website Backup


Sometimes, backups could be missing files or become corrupted. It may not be a common occurrence, but can you afford to take that risk the next time you need to restore your site?

Your WordPress backup could become unusable for many possible reasons, some of which include:

  • Your backup software experiences an issue
    • It contains bugs
    • There’s a compatibility issue with other plugins or WordPress core
  • There’s a temporary glitch
    • Your internet connection becomes severed unexpectedly
    • You reach your server’s PHP memory limit as a backup is being made
  • Your computer has been infected by a virus
  • A hacker infiltrates your site and a backup is created with malware or other unwanted content

Instead of guessing and hoping everything’s fine, in this post I’ll show you the ropes of testing a backup locally to ensure you have at least one backup you can rely on.

This is where testing backups come in handy. Testing your backups before restoring could save you from a lot of distress in future. It’s recommended that you make testing an integral part of your overall backup strategy.

Testing backups of your website should be conducted from time to time, instead of saving it for when disaster strikes. That way, you’ll be prepared and can quickly restore a working backup to get your site up and running.

Challenges of WordPress Backup Testing

You need to first create a testing environment. This can be quite technical, particularly if you have multiple backup versions that need to be tested.

You may need to create different testing environments. Tools like WampServer or DesktopServer can help you create a local environment on your system. Or if you’re using a good managed WordPress hosting plan, you may be able to create staging sites to test on.

But once you have a test environment setup, you need to actually test your backups. You can either do this manually or with a plugin. Let’s take a look at both!

Testing Your WordPress Backups Locally

Before you can test your backup locally, you need to install and fire up the local environment of your choice. In case you don’t have a program installed already to do this..

Once you have one of these or a similar program installed on your computer, uncompress your backup and locate your wp-config.php file.

In most cases, you should be able to find the following in your uncompressed WordPress backup:

  • A backup of your database, usually as an SQL, ZIP or GZIP file
  • Your WordPress core and custom files

Some WordPress backups won’t include these files in quite the same structure, which means you may need to create a manual backup or on your local environment, you would need to install the same plugin or program you use for backups. From there, you would restore your WordPress backup to test it out.

You should also consult the documentation for your backup software if you’re not sure how to complete these steps since it would be different from other programs and plugins.

Speaking of documentation, if you prefer to know how to restore your backup manually , follow down to that section below.

How to Test Your Backups Manually

Your first option is to manually test WordPress site backups yourself. There are two main steps that you’ll need to do.

1. Create and download a backup of your site.

To backup your WordPress site you essentially need to make a copy of all of your files. You can backup your site manually either using the cPanel File Manager to download your WordPress folder or via SFTP to view and download your files. This guide on how to backup WordPress covers all of the steps and tools to get the job done.

2. Upload the backup on your local site.

Now on your local system, you’ll need to create a temporary WordPress website to upload and test your backup.

Use Desktopserver or similar software to create a WordPress website locally. Once ready, upload the backup to the local site using the ‘Export or Import a Website’ option. (Note, this feature is available exclusively to DesktopServer Premium users.)

DesktopServer Backups

Once you’ve uploaded the backup and the website is ready, you can start testing the local site.

As you can see, manually testing is not exactly easy and requires you to use tools. On top of all these, you need to have the technical knowledge to handle any issues that arise during testing. It’s far easier to use a plugin.

How to Test Your Backups with a Plugin

Manually testing backup can be difficult. This is why many users prefer to use a tool or plugin to test backups. Using plugins you can create a testing environment with the click of a button.

If your WordPress backup plugin offers a testing environment that’s even better because then you don’t have to download and then upload your backups on to your testing environment over and over.

While there are many backup services to choose from, BlogVault is the only one that creates a testing environment on its own server. The burden of running processes is carried by BlogVault servers and not yours which means, your live site remains unaffected.

In this section, we’ll show how to test backups using BlogVault Backup Services and Snapshot Pro Usage.

BlogVault Backup Services

1. Create and setup your Blogvault account.

Create an account and add your website to the dashboard.

Create a BlogVault Account

Once you add a website to the BlogVault dashboard, the plugin will take a backup of your website. This can take a while and you’ll be notified once it’s done.

2. Select your backup to test.

Next, select the website of your choice (in case you added more than one website) and from the dashboard click on the Backups section.

Blogvault Backups

Then in the next page, click on an option that looks like a cloud. That’s the Test Restore button.

Blogvault Test Restore

You’ll also need to select the Backup version and the PHP version you want to test. Don’t forget to hit Submit.

Blogvault Backup & PHP Version

The test backup is restored within a few minutes and now it’s time to check if the backup is in working order.

Blogvault Restored Backup

3. Get to testing!

Click on the Visit Test Restore button.

Blogvault Visit Test Restore

You will be asked to enter your credentials from the previous page.

Blogvault Credentials

After logging in, you should be able to see the backup restored on your website.

If you want to test a different backup then simply delete the test site and create a new one. Start from the beginning and simply select a different backup version to test.

When you find the backup you are looking for, click to activate and restore that specific version.

Automated tools like BlogVault eliminate the hassles and risks associated with manual testing backups. It’s as easy as clicking a few buttons! And as mentioned before, there’s not stress on your server (since everything is done on Blogvault’s end).

Snapshot Pro Usage

Create a fresh install of WordPress on a local or live site, then install Snapshot Pro there and set it up. Install all the plugin you had on your original site, but keep them all inactive.

Go to Snapshot > Import and enter the URL where your snapshot is located.

Import page
Import your snapshot so you can activate it to verify it works.

Next, click Scan / Import Snapshots and when you see a message letting you know the import was successful, go to Snapshot > All Snapshots.

You should see your snapshot listed. Hover over the name and click on the restore link.

All Snapshots page
Click to restore your snapshot and test it out.

On the next page, click the restore link under the snapshot’s file name.

On the next page, go through the options and make sure they’re set correctly:

  • Restore Blog Options > Site URL — Click the Change button if the URL of your test site is different, otherwise, skip down to the next section.
  • What Tables to Restore? — Click on the button for Restore selected database tables and check all the boxes for all the tables listed that are dynamically displayed.
  • What Files to Restore? — Choose the Include selected files option, then check all the boxes for the files that are listed dynamically.
  • Restore Theme Options — Check the box for Plugins > Turn off all plugins, then select the theme you want to activate.

Finally, click the Restore Snapshot button. Pat yourself on the shoulder while you wait for your snapshot to percolate and when the process has completed, you can go ahead and test your snapshot to make sure it works.


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