PhpMyAdmin: Database Backup Tutorial

What exactly is PhpMyAdmin? How do I back up my database?  I never thought I’d fully understand the answers to these questions.  After all, I was just a writer, not a techy when I first started blogging.  I had no intentions of trying to figure out all of that extra stuff – but as time when on, I realized that I had to learn or else risk never knowing how to preserve my blog’s content.

Today, I’m going to share a step-by-step guide for performing a database backup via phpMyAdmin.

Sadly, I’m still recovering from last week’s outage.  If you read How to Avoid Losing Your Blog’s Precious Content (and what to do if you do!), then you’ve heard about the outage that caused me to lose a lot of a content and to spend hours on recovery measures – all because I was unprepared with a recent backup of my blog!  You might want to check out the post if you’ve experienced something like this and need strategies for recovering lost content.

Losing content is totally preventable, so this doesn’t have to happen to you!

After sharing my experience with readers and reviewing that post’s comments such as this one from Evelyn:


I decided it was time to create a quick step-by-step tutorial.  

Don’t be afraid of PhpMyAdmin

Saving a backup of your database doesn’t have to be scary.  There’s actually nothing scary about PhpMyAdmin.  It only takes a few clicks to create a backup of your database that you can save to your computer and use to restore your site if needed.  You can’t rely on just an XML export from WordPress – it’s not enough – it won’t save your settings, your images, your user data and your theme customizations, etc.

Backing up your database is actually very simple and straight forward.

To create a backup of your blog via PhpMyAdmin, simply follow this step-by-step guide or watch the video I created for you, below.

How to Backup Your WordPress Database with PhpMyAdmin

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Access to your cPanel (URL, username, and password)
  • A jumpdrive, Google Drive , Dropbox account or other place to store large files

To export a copy of your blog’s database, follow these steps:

phpMyAdmin1.  Log into your cPanel.

2.  Scroll down until you find the “Databases” section.

3.  Click the “phpMyAdmin” link.  (You may need to re-log in)

4.  Locate your blog’s database in the left-hand sidebar and click the link.

5.  Locate the “Export” button at the top of the page and click it”

6.  Leave the default settings alone and just click “Go.”

7.  Save a copy in a folder on your local drive and an additional copy on a jumpdrive or to Google Drive (recommended).

If ever you need to restore or move your blog, simply follow steps 1-4 and this time click “Import”.  Locate your file and then upload it.  It’s that quick and easy.

Schedule Manual or Automatic Backups

If you’re going to back up your site manually, I recommend deciding on a back up schedule that you will adhere to faithfully.  Try to adhere to a weekly, or every-other weekly backup schedule if you only post a few times a week.  If you update your site frequently, you may want to do backups every couple of days or use a plugin to back up your site automatically.

Warning: plugins can conflict with each other, so be sure to back up your site before uploading one of these plugins – I know… ironic, huh?  I had remove a previous backup plugin because it was causing errors and failing to backup, but perhaps, they’ve worked out the bugs since then.

3 Automatic Database Backup plugin Options

BackWPup – Free – (I’ve decided to give this one a try) – I like that this plugin can automatically send backups to Dropbox.  There are other options if you’re willing to pay to upgrade your account.

Backup - Free – I like the fact that it’s possible send backups to Google Drive, but I used this one years ago and experienced some issues.  I’m sure things have been updated and kinks worked out, but I decided to go with the previous option.

Another reader, Leslie recommends Backup Buddy.  It’s not free, but it might be a higher quality backup plugin than the others.  If you’re scared you’re going to forget to back up your database and want to make sure you get files that work, you might want to consider the investment.


Watch the phpAdmin Backup Tutorial Video

Before attempting this yourself, you might want to take a look at this video for an over-the-shoulder look at how to access phpMyAdmin as I take you step-by-step through the process of exporting a WordPress Database:

So now you know what to do!  Spend a few minutes preserving your site’s content today!  What backup plugins are you using?  Share your experiences with backup plugins – which back up plugin works best?  worst?

About Kiesha Easley

This is my blog - where I love to encourage bloggers. My hope is that you'll leave this blog with more than you came with; you'll learn something new or will at least be engaged and entertained.
In addition to teaching others how to blog, I'm also a college instructor who teaches students how to write for mass media.
I've guest posted on Problogger, DIYThemes and many others. I'm also the author of Highly Favored, a blog devoted to Christian inspiration & encouragement. Please follow me on twitter @weblogbetter or on Facebook.


  1. Really thanks for the tutorial Kiesha!

    Because after I saw what happened to this blog, I got scared about mine too and more scared because I am completely new to WordPress now.. previously all my blogs were hosted on Blogger and so I was unaware of backup methods.

    Got some really useful information here. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for this tutorial.

    I have a shop where I have trouble loading backup through the shopsysten, so maybe I need to backup & load the database in this way.

  3. Hi Kiesha,

    That’s what I love about WordPress that you have all kind of plugins available as per your requirements. No matter even if you’re technically zero, still you can easily do everything with the help of amazing plugins.

  4. Hi Keisha
    Thank you so much for this tutorial and the video. I will be going through it and learning how to use it to back my the database.

  5. I also appreciate you sharing this Keisha because I backup by blog daily just to be on the safe side and I do have a plug-in. But for some reason it loves to just stop working.

    So I started manually doing it through the plug-in and now it won’t email me the file. Urgggg

    I tried the BackWPup but it saved it to my server and that’s a no no with my hosting service. It won’t email you the file and I don’t use DropBox so I’ll continue my search for EASY plug-ins to use. I just have to remember to back mine up this way although I did find this way pretty darn easy so thank you so much.

    So sorry you had issues, I hate that when that happens. We all try to stay on top of things the best we can but sometimes things just don’t happen as we had planned. Hope all is well now.


    • Hi Adrienne,
      Sounds like you were having a similar issue to mine. It was the reason I switched to doing manual backups. So far the BackWPup seems to be working okay, but I’m keeping a close eye for sure.

  6. Great tutorial for newbie wordpress bloggers as well as wordpress developers ,PHPMYADMIN is one of the best tools available in this context.. Apart from backing up and restoring your database, phpmyadmin can be used to create/update/delete tables,databases ,data as well as allows you to build relationships between the database tables .


  7. Yeah, it is very simple and easy to backup database through phpMyAdmin, probably just about 2-3 clicks. Though many people are scared to even open it and change something.

  8. Hi Kiesha,

    Thanks for taking the time to share this tutorial with us. I also appreciate the mention.

    It doesn’t seem scary anymore and it actually is a simple task. I played around with it after you did your previous post, but I still didn’t do much. But now I have a better understanding of how it works.

    Take care,


  9. Great article Keisha, and thanks for the mention.

    There are lots of articles on the net about how to backup your site, but it can’t be said enough to make sure people remember it. If your site is your business, making sure it stays alive no matter what is important, and backups play a major part in that.

    Just wanted to mention something else. If you don’t want to use a plugin and will do backups manually, there is another way then having to go to your phpmyadmin (if that scares you too much). Under the Files section in your cPanel, you’ll find two options called: Backup and Backup Wizard. These will guide you through creating backups too without having to mess with the phpmyadmin. Just thought I’d put that out there :)

    Take care!

  10. Hi Kiesha,
    phpMyAdmin is a wonderful MySQL free management web tool. It has a lot of functions including, of course what you have shared here. For manual backup of small databases, it’s the most convenient.

    However, as your database grows, it will be less convenient so something else, like a plugin or the solution I shared on my blog with MySQL Administrator will be more acceptable. Besides, MySQL Administrator can even do automatic or scheduled backup of large databases.

    Just to compliment this post, permit me share the link to MySQL Administrator tutorial here:

    • Kiesha Easley says:

      Hi Enstine!

      Thanks for sharing! I appreciate it. A site does get to the point that its too much for a plugin. That was my problem before. I’ll have to check this out.

  11. I found out if you have a large database phpadmin fails. I used mysqldumper and that worked great! And the best thing is its free!

  12. I wonder why to access phpmyadmin, it’s always slow…
    Is it just me or everyone also had this?

  13. Thanks for the easy steps and breakdown. After reading about your recent trouble, I’m now more than ever being diligent about backing up my database. Thanks for this recommendation about PhpMyAdmin, I’ll definitely be trying it out ASAP.

  14. Sorry again to hear about your database problem Kiesha, but thank you very much for the tutorial that you shared about how to back your database with PhpMyAdmin. The video was super helpful!


  15. Thanks, PHPMy admin is very good tool of database, most of IT users use this to develop websites so thanks for sharing such a good way to keep backup

  16. Thanx for the article, i am new at using phpmyadmin and this was causing me problems while developing apps.

  17. I definitely needed this post! I’ve started a new blog and have yet to start backing it up! That’s going to be on today’s to-do list. It’s really bad practice to wait for an emergency happen before taking action! (I guess that means I should also get my earthquake kit ready, too!)

    Thanks for this information!

  18. Great tutorial Kiesha. I didn’t realize the importance of backing up my content until my blog got hacked into. It’s sad that something like this had to happen in order to set up back up software. Now I have it backed up and sent to my email once a week and I definitely feel more at ease.

    Thanks for sharing!

  19. Hi Kiesha,

    Thanks for this very clear tutorial. I use the WordPress Dababase Backup Plugin, which is free – it emails a backup of my database to my webmail account every day – I’m just wondering what the advantage would be of doing this manual backup you suggest as well?


  20. Hi Kiesha,

    Good read and I’ve learned something just now by reading your post. Wow…I have never touch my phpMyAdmin either until now. Your walk-thru instruction is so CLEAR, I just did it.

    You know for a backup I used “UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore.” There’s a FREE version but I just paid $65 for the PAID version coz I didn’t wanna take the chance of losing my data, comments, and photos. This plugin could also backup your stuff straight to GoogleDrive, FTP, Dropbox, Email…and if you decide…say you wanna copy the same wordpress design & theme to another domain, this plugin can do THAT too. So there’s more option on the “premium” on this one. I think with the $65 my life can be saved. Coz I sure hate to go through what you went thru, that would freaked me out tremendously.

    And so thank you so much for this post. This post I shared on Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, and Facebook. Everyone should read this. Anyway…Have a lovely week!!


  21. I never thought to backup my blog site. I backup my main on my server every night. I plan to have my web developer add the blog site. Great information and thank you for sharing

  22. Hi Kiesha,

    I was able to check out your video and that was worth watching. It might sound funny but it wasn’t until I have seen your tutorial that I’ve learned about this stuff. I know how important having a database backup is though. It is just that I don’t know much about securing one for my blog.

  23. I never guess that i Can backup the plugin , I’ve searching on google and i found this tutorial . The Video is working thanks anyway

  24. Thanks for sharing this tutorial and video with us… This is indeed very helpful….

  25. Thanks for this detailed tutorial! It was very helpful and i liked it very much!


  1. [...] plug-ins but they back my blog up to the server which is a big no no with my hosting service.  I saw Kiesha’s post on this topic because she’s in one of my LinkedIn groups.  I just decided to hell with the [...]

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