≡ Menu

How To: Backup and Migrate your WordPress site with Backup Buddy

Backup buddy is a must have tool for all bloggers, period! Whether you are a full time blogger or part time, as long as you are serious about your blog, you need this plugin. There are many reasons why you should have backup buddy in your wordpress plugin list.

What is Backup Buddy?

Backup buddy is an amazing wordpress plugin developed by ithemes. It comes with several awesome features such as wordpress security, migration/restoration, full wordpress backup and more. Although it is not free, it is very reasonable and totally worth it. Check it out and see it for yourself.

Imagine how would you feel if you blog was hacked. It could take hours and even days to clean your database and recover everything. In some cases, you may even lose the database. Let me remind you, wordpress doesn’t handle backups by itself which means you need to have a backup plugin in order to backup your files. Most of the time people forget how important it is to backup wordpress blogs.

I have learned this the hard way; my blog was hacked more than three times and I am glad I was able to rescue them. If you think that relying on your web hosting company is the best thing to do then you are completely wrong. My blogs were hacked because the web hosting company I used had open security holes which were vulnerable. Do not rely on your hosting company for backups because they cannot help you if your database gets corrupted. In most cases, they can only recover data lost 1-2 days ago. What if some hacker injects some malicious code into your blog? You might not even notice it. I know it sounds scary and that is why I recommend backup buddy. You will be amazed to see what it can do.

No, it doesn’t backup only your database, it backups your entire blog which means wp-content, wp-admin files, images, databases, each and everything in your root folder.

Beside being the ultimate wordpress backup plugin, it can also move wordpress to different hosting without a hassle and that is the topic for today. I will show you how to move your wordpress blog to a different hosting in several easy steps. Trust me, if I knew about this plugin before, I wouldn’t write this article here: Moving WordPress to New Host ;)

Moving WordPress Blog Using Backup Buddy


Step 1

First, using your favorite ftp client (I use filezilla), upload the plugin to your wp-content/plugins folder. Then login to your dashboard, go to plugin’s tab and activate backup buddy.

Once you have activated the plugin, it will be displayed as a tab on the left sidebar on your dashboard. See the picture above for reference. Simply click on “backup and restore”.

Step 2

Click on Full Backup.

Step 3

Depending on the size of your blog and speed of your internet, backup time will vary. It may take from 1 minute to even 15 minutes for backing up your entire blog so be patient and have a drink while doing it.

Once backup is completed, it will display a link. Click on it to download the backup to your computer. Alternatively, you can also directly send the completed backup file to amazon’s server or any other host with ftp instead of downloading it on your computer. Either way, it’s your choice.

Step 4

Now go back to the main backup buddy tab and this time click on “Restore/Migrate”. When clicked, you will download a file called “importbuddy.php”

Step 5

You should have 2 files; backup file and the “importbuddy.php” file. Assuming that you have already added the domain to your new host, open your ftp and login to your new host (where you would like to move).

Upload the 2 files in the root folder of your domain. See the picture above for clarification.

Step 6

Now you need to create a new database for the new host. Creating a database using cpanel is pretty easy and most web hosting companies like hostgator have cpanels :)

I have still added screenshots on how to create a mysql database for your new blog. If you have already created a database then skip this and go to the next step.

Its quite easy to locate the MySQL database in the cpanel.

Give a desired name and create your database.


That covers up how to create a database in mysql.

Step 7

Once you have created the database, type the following in your search bar: http://domain.com/importbuddy.php. Replace domain.com with your domain name and hit enter. You should see a screen like above. This is the first step of blog restoration using backup buddy. Simply click next.

 Step 8

We are going to move to a new server so select “Migrate to new server” in the options and click next.

Step 9

This might take a little while because backup buddy will extract your entire blog on the new server. Once files extracted, click next.

Step 10

In this step, you enter your blog’s details, url and newly created mysql admin and pass, database name etc. Make sure the details are accurate. Once doubled checked, click next.

Step 11

If you have followed all the steps correctly, your blog should be up and running right now. Good job in moving your blog to a new host.

Step 12

Probably the most important one; after you have restored your entire wordpress. Login to your server and delete the importbuddy.php and any other backup zip files (if any) from your root. This is very important because if you leave your backup files with the importbuddy.php on your server, others can easily hack into it and copy your entire site. Just delete it and you are done.

Take Action! Backup your wordpress database on a regular basis. If you can’t keep up with the daily backup, let Backup Buddy make your life easy :)

Some Awesome Features of Backup Buddy

  • FTP off-site backups
  • Send backups via e-mail
  • Schedule backups & transfers
  • Directory exclusion
  • Full backup & database only options
  • Compatibility features for picky servers
  • Back up non-WordPress tables (optional)
  • Backup file integrity checking
  • E-mail notifications
  • Limit number of local backups
  • Built-in help system
  • Automatic upgrades
  • Malware Scanner included free from security pros
  • Background manual backups (start a backup, close your browser, and walk away)
  • Manage remote Amazon S3, FTP, within BackupBuddy
  • And more than 50 additional features and enhancements!

   Check out Backup Buddy

Bottom Line

Backing up and moving wordpress to different host  is made simpler with this amazing wordpress plugin. I have lots of blogs and if i knew about this fantastic backup plugin then I wouldn’t have thought twice before getting it. This is a must have tool for all bloggers. Whether a newbie or a professional blogger, no one wants to lose their hard earned most valuable content. What do you think about backup buddy?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://scubalife.com.au corry allan

    thanks for the info. was wondering if you could help me, I used import buddy to copy my website http://aquaticadventureshallam.com/ with is in one host to another host with a new url http://scubalife.com.au it all seems to have worked but only the home page has the new url and the other links are pointing back to the old url. i want to delete the old website but don’t know if i could log back in under the new url. any help would be great thanks. i can’t find anything useful in the import buddy forum.

    • http://www.salmanahsan.com Salman Ahsan

      did you check your permalinks setting? I just moved one of my old blogs whygogreentoday.com to a different host and it went smooth with backup buddy. Check your permalinks setting and update them. If you still face problems then let me know and ill see what i can do. Good luck

  • Pingback: Moving Wordpress Blog To New Host: The Only Guide You Will Ever Need

  • SEO-Robert

    This is a timely article for me because I have several wordpress installs now and I’m starting to get concerned about losing data – primarily because I tend to customise the installed wordpress themes quite a lot, using the theme editor. Do you know does backup buddy for wordpress also backup these edits, or would it be like a clean new install theme that it recovers/moves?

    I have a backup plug-in that mails me a backup of the db, but I am looking for a wordpress backup solution that also backs up any theme edits.


    • http://www.salmanahsan.com Salman Ahsan

      Backup Buddy will backup your entire wordpress along with database. Entire as in your whole root which means when you import it on your new host, you get everything as it is, nothing changed. :) let me know if you need any assistance, good luck!

  • BizSites

    I have about 10 wordpress installs that I need to move to another webhost, and I’m obviously a little concerned about the risk of losing data, or the process somehow failing.

    Has anyone tried the wordpress backup buddy detailed above to move from one host to another, and if so can you post up some tips on making sure it goes smoothly, or else I am in for a heap of work!


    • http://www.salmanahsan.com Salman Ahsan

      Its not as difficult as it may look. I have recently moved 2 wordpress blogs to different host without any problems. Just follow the instructions and you should be good. If you really want to feel safe then just backup everything using backup buddy (click on Full backup). After that, upload the backup and importbuddy.php to the new host and follow the instructions. Even if you screw it up, you still have your files intact in your old host which means you can reverse it if necessary. I haven’t faced any problems yet because backup buddy makes wordpress backup easy breezy :)

    • http://zimbrul.co.uk zimbrul

      I use to do the most of the backups via ftp. Copy all the files across to your computer, copy the old database, create the new database, change the wp-config to accommodate the new database settings, change the url’s globally (here is the tricky part), copy the files from your computer to the new host and off you go.
      Make sure you check your .htaccess files (in root directory and wp-admin) and make sure you disable any cache plugins before doing the move.

      • Salman Ahsan

        good tips ;)

  • Elyse

    Does anyone know if this is what I need to clone a very complicated, large WordPress blog? Doing a little research before I buy. Thanks for your help!

  • Kieffer


    This is very well done. Thank you! Can you please provide the same instructions but for moving a site from online host to local (using MAMP Pro) and then back up to same online host/server. Obviously using Back-up Buddy. I just bought it and have searched high and low everywhere and can’t find any instructions.

    This would be a great post since I’ve seen a lot of other folks asking for the same thing.

    • Salman Ahsan

      Why do you want MAMP PRo guide? are you a mac user? I can provide some useful links if you give me more specific details. :)

      • Kieffer

        Yes I am using Mamp Pro so I can work on my sites locally offline.

        I managed to use BUB to download on my Mac with Mamp Pro. However, I’m now getting an error message whenever I try to upload a .zip file using WP upload (theme or plug-in). Here’s the error message:

        >Unable to create directory /wp-content/uploads/2012/02. Is its parent directory writable by the server?<

        Any suggestions to fix? I have given every user on my Mac complete WRX permissions.

  • DCDude

    I am not getting mydomain.com/importbuddy.php to respond. I get a 404 error from my host. I also cannot add additional named servers to my domain could this be the reason? I am using the ip address for the site for now, could that be problem?

    Can you help.

  • DCDude

    I figured it out but…now I don’t get the same screen you do in the example I get a listing of extracted files and the following “Files successfully extracted.” There is a next button that when selected, produces a text page with the following:


  • DCDude

    I was able to figure out most of the steps with the help of BB forums but it still didn’t work. There are a lot of things that can go wrong. I don’t know why WordPress wouldn’t want to make this process as seamless as possible. What a pain the…you know…

    • Salman Ahsan

      are you still having problems? Its not that difficult. Explain your issues and ill help you with a fix :)

      • DCDude

        Yes. The Navigation is missing and therefore I cannot get to any content. Similarly, the only bit of content that does have a link goes to an ooops page.

  • http://zimbrul.co.uk Zimbrul

    To be absolutely frank BackupBuddy is buggy. I bought the plugin and not being able to backup one single WordPress site. I’m quite web savvy but I got fed up to bump into errors at any stage: corrupt zip files, corrupt non-zip files, endless pings, etc.
    when asking for a refund iThemes, the plugin vendor just turned a blind eye and cease providing support.
    I use to do manual backups now and if you master this you’ll manage to do this on very large sites as well.

  • DCDude

    I’m finding that to be true. It was my saving grace. i have spent many, many hours trying to move a site. I’m running out of time so I’ll probably have to pay the new hosting company to move it even though the sales department said they do it for free.

    Oh well, no more honest people in tech.

  • Martin

    Hi Salman,
    thanks for your diligent instructions.

    I just make a redesign locally on Xampp.
    What would you point out as the advantages of BUB compared with phpMyAdmin as migration tool? I think, everything you can do with BUB you also can do with phpMyAdmin, especially adjusting paths/domain/Urls. And then 100 $ just for migrating seems a lot for me. I’m wrong?

    • Salman Ahsan

      Hey Martin, hope all is well. I can’t post much about Xampp and BUB because I really haven’t used them before so giving you fake hopes and fixes is not my thing. However, I do have a macbook which I use it mostly for video production and multimedia :). I can try checking it out and finding a fix with BUB but I don’t think that would be sufficient. If you know how to use BUB then go ahead and do so. I recommend Backup buddy if you want to make things much much easier. Its awesome for backup, migration, restoration etc.

      PS: if you have a specific question then please ask and ill try to provide as much information as I can. How big is your site? Small databases can easily be imported and exported to a new server.

  • Martin

    Hi Salman,
    thanks for your efforts.
    I have time and at the moment nothing “relevant” has happened.

    I have several static sites, which need a redesign by using a CMS (WordPress). I would call them “normal static sites”, with 3 columns, 2 CSS-rollover-dropdown-menus, header, footer, some pics, a lot of text, one video. They are not big. I will use headway as theme. The only special thing is: I will have to recreate the already existing .html-Urls of the pages, otherwise the backlinks are lost. I will do that with help of a WP-Plugin. The WP permalink option enables .html-Urls just for posts not for pages.

    As far as I know the critical thing with migrating a site are the paths/Urls, which obviously must be adjusted. Therefore the question is, what can BUB do for me and what phpMyAdmin. I have read BUB changes the Paths/Urls automatically and properly, but really all of them? phpMyAdmin has “name_options, siteurl”, which MAY give a similar possibility, I don’t know..

  • mike

    This is the exact steps I use for my website flipping Business, works so well and once you have done it a few times its as easy as riding a bike.

    • Salman Ahsan

      smart ;) Its actually pretty sweet, never thought about it.

  • Doug

    Just wanted to thank you for this post. I tried using BackupCreator, but it didn’t migrate my images. After 12 hours of waiting for response from them, decided to get BackupBuddy and – following your directions (though getting a little overwhelmed at the SQL database part – was able to migrate the site intact.


    • Salman Ahsan

      I am glad it worked out bro. Backupbuddy is pretty good. Just make sure you dont leave any security holes open; delete your backup file in the root when your done migrating :) good luck

  • http://www.tinteo.com ann

    Thanks a lot for sharing this tutorial. My problem is a little bit different as I deleted some wp database files that I though were orphans to optimize my database. Unfortunately they weren’t orphans so a few pages do not work any more.

    I have a backup made with backupbuddy. Do you have an idea of how do I restore just part of it or just the database ?
    I just feel that it must not be so complicated as to reinstall the whole site but I am not sure…
    What are your though ?


    • Salman Ahsan

      Thanks for the question Ann. First of all, never delete stuff from your database until you really know what you are doing. Fixing wordpress error is much easier than fixing database. If you have backupbuddy then simple restore it. I always talk about scheduling backups and if you have done that, you should have the latest backup. Simply login to your dashboard and navigate to backupbuddy. You will have all the options there. If you keep an SQL backup then you simply delete the old tables from your database and import the backup SQL. I hope I was able to explain. Contact me on twitter or through email if you need further assistance. Good luck

  • Sandy

    Hi…Having problems with a site. I have back it up, uploaded to the new hosting company, uploaded importbuddy.php created a new database…at the point is where I had problems. Turns out the client did not buy a new domain but instead just the hosting. Due to some issues with the site we wanted to do some testing on some of the plugins and new WordPress versions before we physically moved the production site. so this is a test site so to speak. since the did not a “real” domain I’ve been trying to do the thru the ip address. Verified that I have it right, but all I’m getting is a 404 error. Can this be done thru an IP address or do I need to point a domain to the hosting site? Thanks, any assistance will be helpful

    • Salman Ahsan

      Hello Sandy, thanks for your question. It is very much easy to test stuff on a domain name linked with hosting than using IP addresses. I am not even sure about the IP address but dont you have a spare domain?

  • user1212

    I just used backup buddy to migrate all my files. All the content is there after migration , however the images and styling are missing. What can i do to fix it?
    P.S. None of the images show up (They point to a different location) and the styling is not taking effect

    • Salman Ahsan

      The images and styling should remain intact. I have recently migrated 6 domains without any issues. Check your permalink

  • http://quickweightlosschannel.com Chad Jones

    Hi Salman… I have one question about importbuddy.php. Will this imporbuddy.php be use across all backups? For instance, I have 10 websites backed up by backupbuddy, that means 10 backup files and 10 importbuddy.php files. Is it possible to just maintain one importbuddy.php and use it on all 10 backups? What is your experience?

    • Salman Ahsan

      Basically each importbuddy is used per backup which is good for security. :)

  • Pingback: WordPress Backup Buddy Migration | Notes From Kris

  • Brian

    Is there anyone out there who can help me with the database problems that are a result of using BackupBuddy and InportBuddy? I did a complete migration and everything is there including all the files but the database has issues causing my wordpress site to now not allow of adding users, pages or posts. It no longer has a Publish button but a “Submit for Review” button..


  • Dave

    Nice article. I’m interested to know if backbuddy can backup and restore a website that is an add-on domain. If so, can you point me to the details of that process.

    • Salman Ahsan

      of course it can… the process is no different than whats posted. If you need any assistance on specific stuff then let me know and ill do my best. Cheers

  • http://www.sofaprices.co.uk viantea

    Great post. have been able to transfer blog to another host with the plugin

  • Suzanne

    I moved my site to a new server and it was really straightforward using the BackUpBuddy plug-in. The migrated site looks and works exactly the same as the old.

    However, when I attempt to log-in through the wp-admin page it says the following-
    You do not have sufficient permissions to access this page.

    What am I doing wrong? What permissions need to be changed in order to access my wordpress admin?


    • Salman Ahsan

      Thats weird. Never has such issues. If your DNS is good, all setup the right way and the transfer was fine, you should be able to login to wordpress on the new host with the old logins. Post your website and maybe one of us can check.

  • Pingback: 10 WordPress Plugins That Protect Your Site

  • Pingback: 10 WordPress Plugins That Protect Your Site | Million Dollar Business Blog

  • Pingback: 10 WordPress Plugins That Protect Your Site / Infotech Solutions | Web Hosting, Web Design, Graphics Design, SE0, Online Marketing Services

  • Pingback: 10 WordPress Plugins That Protect Your Site » eHow TO...

  • http://listofbestonlinejobs.blogspot.in/ Chitra Lekha @ Make Money Online

    very useful plugin for every blogger, thank you for sharing

  • Pingback: WordPress and DTAP - WP Realm

  • Lorne

    Is the process different when moving a WP site from one domain name to another? Example – the development domain is something like: devdomain.com/clientsite – the new domain will be clientsite.com. Are there additional steps, like changing site URI etc in WP before the move?

    • Salman Ahsan

      are you trying to move from multi-user wordpress site where you have multiple blogs that you create for your clients? Are you using backup buddy? I have personally never tried to do it this way but I believe what you are trying to achieve here is, you create your clients website on your domain directory first and then transfer it to their preferred domain. Am I right? If thats the case then I think theres some additional steps such as setting the URL etc.

  • Gazelle

    Thank you for these instructions!

  • csyl

    Thank you for this tutorial.
    I tried to restore a website with backupbuddy but I had this error : Error #224834. This directory is not write enabled. Please verify write permissions to continue.
    Do you have any solution for this problem ?
    (I first tried to restore in local and it worked out very well).
    Thank you!

    • Salman Ahsan

      you need to set permission :) You can do this either from the cpanel or FTP. Simply locate that directory and right click on it, chmod or change permission to either 744 or 777 and then once you are done, set it back to the default for security purpose. Hope that helps

  • http://www.zafro.net Zafro

    I have been trying to migrate my blog http://www.zafro.net to GoDaddy self-hosted soution at http://www.zafro.co.uk for a month without success.

    I keep getting this problem of server timing out when importing my xml file(16.1mb). I’ve researched solutions like here http://bit.ly/15G7YAQ which says must break my xml into smaller chunks using a text editor like notepad, but I think there must be an easier way. I’ve just spent 2 hours breaking my xml down and still have not finished. And there’s still possiblity there will problems with meta data/relationships.
    So I came across your blog and wondering if BackupBuddy could provide a solution if I back zafro.net and restore directly to the GoDaddy selfhosted servers where zafro.co.uk sits. Could I use BackupBuddy to migrate my blog to selfhosting.

    Any help would be appreciated.


    P.S. The only other solution is to pay WordPress to migrate this across which is expensive.

  • Tj

    Thanks for the article.

    For some reason we can’t get past step 3. No matter how many times we verify the database and everything passes, it still pops up a message telling us to verify the database again.

    Any clue why? And what the fix might be?