Backup WordPress site’s files without any software/plugins

Screenshot showing the task list to backup wordpress site to Onedrive

If you built your own website, you know it isn’t an easy task to redo everything you’ve done all over again. Making it perfect takes a lot of effort and customization and which can be wrecked with a bug or a vulnerability. You should always backup WordPress site regularly on a secured place you trust. As long as your files and database are safe from being corrupt or infected, a simple setback would not cause serious downtime. You can move them easily and do not have to start fresh.

How to backup WordPress Site

There are plugins to back up the site periodically or manually. They can however cause a performance overhead on your site when they run in the background. It’s pretty simple. To backup WordPress site, you need to backup two things, the files and the database.

The database files are very tiny compared to the size of the files. Users can backup MySQL databases from database applications like PhpMyAdmin with a single click, so we’re not going to automate it. It is more secure to backup the database in deep.

Screenshot of phpmyadmin database export screen for exporting wordpress database

One of the easiest ways to backup your files is to download them through the FTP client application like Filezilla. You can download all of your files and store them locally. It takes a while but it is free and secure.

Some people might like to store them in the cloud so that it’s accessible anywhere on the internet or make collaboration with team-mates easier. I used to do a local backup with Cloudberry Backup tool but it was atrocious, buggy, and they eventually removed the feature all together.

Security Risk

Backing up your WordPress files to the cloud can be a little risky. Backing up your files through a middleware is even more risky. You need to provide them with your FTP credentials which is trusting the service with all your files. As you are backing up your WordPress, the WordPress folder contains the “wp-config.php” file which contains credentials to your server and database.


There’s a solution to preventing this file being uploaded.

Create an FTP user accounts separate from the main control panel account, and they cannot access any other feature with these credentials.

Screenshot of cPanel for creating a new FTP user
Screenshot of cPanel for creating a new FTP user

You can also move the configuration file up from your “home/website/public_html/” folder to your websites root “home/website/” folder. When you create an FTP user to just access the “public_html” folder and the FTP user will not have access to the wp-config file. There’s a good list of benefits of moving “wp-config” file away from the web root folder on Stack Overflow.

We are working with the argument that files are less of a security risk than your database and database credentials. As plugins, and themes are all but using information from the database. The rest are static files (e.g. style sheets, scripts, images). Do you store other credentials in files or are worry that your theme or plugins might get stolen? Then this is not the WordPress backup method you should be consulting.

This tutorial is meant as a guide to those who consider these risks and would like to continue using it.


One free cloud based service I found is Multcloud. It doesn’t require any software installation on your device and runs on the cloud without any interruption. This method is suited for sites running on low end or shared hosting environment.

First thing, you’ll need is a multcloud account and a cloud storage with enough storage space to store your website. Then we can add them both the multcloud service and start the transfer.

Create a new FTP user on your website’s control panel and add it to you Multcloud cloud list. Make sure to allow the user to access the root of the website. In case of cPanel, it is usually “public_html” folder.

Screenshot of cPanel for creating a new FTP user
cPanel setting to create a new FTP user

Add it along with your cloud account in Multcloud. With cloud accounts you won’t need to give it your credentials can can use authorization methods. Choose SFTP or FTPS if your server supports it.

Screenshot of multcloud website - adding FTP credentials to multcloud
Adding FTP to multcloud

Then head on over to Cloud Transfer or Cloud Sync for the transfer to start. Choose the FTP folder itself to copy the root folder. On the cloud, you can create a new directory when you hover over a folder. Then begin the transfer.

Screenshot of selecting FTPS from the cloud account on multcloud
Select the FTPS account you just added
Screenshot showing a folder section window on Onedrive Cloud drive
Select the Cloud account you want your wordpress site to backup to.
Screenshot showing the task list to backup wordpress site to Onedrive
Transfer ready to be started in Multcloud dashboard

On the options setting, choose how you want the file replacement to be handled. You can also set it up to send you an email when the transfer is completed

Handling file replacement during file transfer from WordPress folder

The free tier is limited to two upload threads. The speed is exceedingly slower than their premium offerings. However, it is running on the cloud so it will not affect performance of your site or your local device. You can monitor the transfer from the task list section of the website.

Screenshot of the details of the upload task being performed by multcloud
Multcloud upload task

That’s it. Just wait for the transfer to complete in the background and continue working on something else.