How To Restore WordPress From Backup Using UpdraftPlus

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Have you ever worried about what might happen to all the hard work and time you’ve put into crafting your WordPress blog? If you have then you’ve probably set up a service so you could restore WordPress from backup. Or at least considered it.

How to restore WordPress from UpdraftPlus Backups

But the real kicker is this. Do you know how to restore from those backups? Or do they just sit on your cloud storage and you don’t know what you should do with them when you need them?

WordPress Backups Are An Afterthought

Well, the answer is probably the latter. Unless you’ve had to restore WordPress from backup previously.

For many people, a backup is something they know they need but often postpone it until it’s too late. The rest of us who do use backups, often just set it and forget it.

A Planned Backup & Restore Method Will Save You From Tears

But that’s ok because today we are going to fix that! So that if your blog breaks, or goes poof. You have a backup that you know you can use to get everything reset. (Dependant on when you last run your backup of course!)

Which, will hopefully alleviate some panic. But most likely not all of it. Because hey – we all put a lot of time, effort and care into our blogs. So it’s difficult not to have that heart sinking feeling when things go terribly wrong.

Let’s dive in and learn how to restore WordPress from backup. I’ll walk you through the whole process. So you can fix problems asap and get back to doing what you do best!

Before You Can Restore You Need To Have A Backup Setup

If for some reason you don’t have a backup plan. Then you should get the free UpdraftPlus plugin installed asap. It’s even the number #1 plugin on my list of the best WordPress plugins for new blogs.

Make sure you check your backup schedule by going to Settings > UpdraftPlus > Settings

restore wordpress from backup updraftplus settings screen

You want at minimum, daily backups but the more often the better (maximum frequency supported is 4hours). Backups for Individual Obligation are at around 180MB with all supported file types. You can get 15GB of free Google Drive space with a Gmail account.

Based on these numbers you could estimate that doing backups every 12hours would last for a little over 1 month. All of which would be free. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?

Bonus Tip: If you store photos, images, or videos on your Google Drive or Dropbox. You can free up precious space by moving them to Google Photos. Which has free unlimited space when you use the High quality over Original size setting for uploads. It supports JPG, GIF, WEBP, TIFF or RAW file types.

Choose The Files You Want To Backup

Depending on your UpdraftPlus settings, your backups might consist of several files.

restore wordpress from backup UpdraftPlus settings for files types to include in the backup

The important way to distinguish them is through the date and the word at the end of the filename. Here are the files that are stored as part of the backup.

  • db.gz – A backup of your database.
  • – The core WordPress files, such as .htaccess
  • – Plugin files for both inactive and active versions.
  • – Framework, theme, and child theme files, whether active or not.
  • – Media library files.

Enable Email Notifications To Ensure Backups Complete Successfully

This is also under UpdraftPlus’ settings. Just tick the box and every time a backup runs an email will be sent. Which will give you a report on whether it ran successfully or not.

restore wordpress from backup updraftplus settings for email notifications

Once you’re happy with your backup settings and you know everything is working correctly. It’s time to look at how we can use these backups.

Using UpdraftPlus To Restore WordPress From Backup In The Admin Dashboard

If something goes wrong and you need to restore WordPress from backup. You can easily do this within the WordPress dashboard.

Simply go to the left-hand menu and click Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups.

You should get a page like this:

How to restore wordpress from backup using updraftplus back up now and restore buttons

Click Restore.

A list of available backups will appear.

restore wordpress from backup updraftplus using the list of restore points on dropbox

Decide which backup you’d like use to restore WordPress from backup. You can use the date and time information provided to identify the most recent backup.

Click the Restore button to the right of your chosen backup. It will prompt you to select which components of the backup you would like restored.

Updraftplus restore wordpress from backup restore screen for choosing components like themes, plugins, uploads, database and others

Unless you have a specific portion of WordPress you would like restored only. Then leave all the options ticked. Note: The more you select the longer the restore will take overall.

Once ready, click Restore again.

The restore will begin and will look like this:

Updraftplus restore wordpress from backup restore screen downloading files

Once the files have been processed you’ll be prompted again to click the Restore button.

Only click Restore if you are sure you want to continue. You will not be able to cancel or close the browser until it completes without causing issues otherwise.

Updraftplus restore wordpress from backup screen's final restore prompt

Once complete the window will close and a results log will show. If you scroll to the bottom it should show a message Restore successful! The time it takes to process will depend on your website’s overall size – for me, it takes about 5mins.

Updraftplus restore wordpress from backup confirmation of restore successful

If for any reason you don’t get a Restore successful message. Then you may wish to use the link at the top of the results screen to download a log of the restoration. You can then send this in a support request to UpdraftPlus. Sadly this is only for paid customers.

Updraftplus restore wordpress from backup full log download details

Final Checks & Deleting Old Files

Load up your website to check that any changes you restored are there. You want to carefully ensure everything is working as expected.

If everything checks out, navigate back to Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups. At the top of the screen, there will be another message about old directories.

Updraftplus restore wordpress from backup notice to delete old directories

Click on Delete Old Directories this will start the process and once complete will give you a summary like this:

Updraftplus restore wordpress from backup removal of old directories completion summary

Options To Restore WordPress From Backup When You Find Yourself Locked Out Of Dashboard

The WordPress dashboard and UpdraftPlus make restoring from a backup simple.

But you may be thinking – What happens if you cannot restore WordPress from backup using the WordPress dashboard?

This can definitely happen. The WordPress dashboard is much easier to break than you might think! Especially if you like to edit your blog’s code.

Just messing something up in places like your core theme files, trying to switch from HTTP to HTTPS. Or editing your functions.php and sometimes just applying updates, can break WordPress.

Because UpdraftPlus creates segmented backups. You can’t just download your backup, extract it back to your server. And hope everything is fine.

All the different folders are zipped into dozens of files, within files. Even if you have an excellent understanding of the folders that make up WordPress. And are quite savvy with the FTPs. Chances are something will go wrong.

If You Cannot Access WordPress Then Restore Options Become Complex

What your options are will depend on the files you edited, before WordPress broke. So try to always keep this in mind.

Below are 2 examples, I’ve had to resort to myself. When I’ve accidentally had that uh-oh moment.

Editing these files happens frequently, in my experience. This is quite technical and if you don’t edit these files you can probably ignore this section.

But it is useful if you often find yourself editing files like .htaccess or functions.php. As you might be able to fix the problems yourself. Which, will save you a wait for technical support.

If you are not sure – ask your host provider’s technical support to help you out. Worst case they can always reinstall WordPress for you. So you can get UpdraftPlus set back up and restore from there.

Note: To replace the files on your server you will need to access your site through an FTP login using software like FileZilla.

Photo of man holding tablet over his face and in the air, with laptop next to him all showing photos of the landscape directly behind them


Editing this file often changes core settings like HTTPS, logins and cache headers. If you tried to implement HTTPS, perhaps before your SSL certificate activated for your domain. You might find yourself unable to get into the WordPress admin.

A version of this file will be in the backup zip that has others at the end of the filename, like this:

From the external storage setup with UpdraftPlus (like Dropbox), download this zip locally.

Unzip the file. Inside the extracted folder should be another folder called Dropbox_Backup or something similar if you used a different service.

Then, within this there should be a folder similar to this:


Keep going! This folder will contain many zip files inside it, the one you want to unzip will end with 1.tar.gz. The other zips in this folder seem to contain files for each of the folders under public_html.

Extract this folder and inside should be your .htaccess file!

Get this: You may have noticed files called .htaccess in the previous folders but these aren’t the ones you need. They are missing significant amounts of code.

You’ll want to copy this .htaccess into your FTP client. Put it into the folder on your server called public_html

Phew! Sorry, that was quite the folder dive!

But you can see what I mean about the backup files that UpdraftPlus creates not being very user-friendly for manually restoring your WordPress site. In case you ever can’t access the WordPress dashboard or the UpdraftPlus plugin.

This is one of the biggest limitations of using such a backup method. It works great if you have access to your dashboard. But it also leaves you very exposed if you lose access to WordPress.


Another file that frequently gets edited that can break your site is the functions.php file. If you know that editing this is the reason you can’t access your WordPress admin dashboard anymore. Then this option might be a quick fix for you.

This time the files we are looking for are inside this zip file named like this:

The simplest option is to extract this zip and copy the themes folder inside it. You can then use it to replace the themes folder on your FTP under /public_html/wp-content/

Or you can copy the file functions.php which will be in a subfolder inside themes. This is usually the name of your child theme. For example, for me, it’s inside themes/restored316-market

Consider Asking For Help If You Get Stuck

Hopefully, if you end up locked out of WordPress one of the above tips will help you out.

If they do and you manage to get back into WordPress then great! You can always use UpdraftPlus to do a restore like mentioned in the first half of this article. To ensure everything is fixed correctly.

But, when it comes to technical issues – Fixes don’t always go to plan.

If any of the above files don’t help. Then you might have to send a ticket to your web host’s technical support as mentioned earlier.

It is possible to delete everything. Reinstall WordPress and add the UpdraftPlus plugin again. Everything deleted UpdraftPlus could then restore. But this is risky and should only ever be used as a last resort.

This might be your only option. If your reason for restoring is because you got hacked. It’s considered best to delete your entire install and create a fresh install of WordPress. In order to ensure any infected files are gone.

Listen: Only use your previous backups, if you are sure they are safe! You should always use your host’s technical support if you are unsure about this.

Photo of different shades of blue colored pencils with blue and green shavings against a white background

Useful Tips For Using UpdraftPlus Backups

So, by now you know how to backup and restore WordPress using UpdraftPlus. Well, here’s a few more tips that will help make your life easier.

Whenever you decide to do extensive changes to your blog like boost your website speed or edit your WordPress header. Then you should get into the habit to always do a manual backup first.

Manual backups can be done in Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups. And clicking the button Back Up Now.

Once this completes you’ll know you have an exact copy of your blog or website just before your changes. Perfect for UpdraftPlus to restore WordPress from backup and reset everything back to the way it was.

Whilst UpdraftPlus technical support is for paying customers only. You can find help and support through their FAQ’s, forums and YouTube.

Knowing How To Restore WordPress From Backup Will Save You Time & Stress When You Do Need It

UpdraftPlus is a free and easy way to help backup and protect your hard work from disasters. And those awkward moments when you edit something. That somehow ends up breaking a part of your blog or website. Despite you double checking it a hundred times before hitting save!

With this post, you have a reliable plugin which you know how to use when you need to restore WordPress from backup. This WordPress plugin is essential for both new and old blogs alike.

Plus you have some options if the worst comes to the worst. Where WordPress decides to die on you and you end up locked out of the admin dashboard because something vital broke.

Having a backup in place is something you should have from day one. But is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of any website. So if you still don’t have at least a daily backup it’s time to get to it and sort it out today!

Check out this useful guide with tips for restoring your #WordPress #blog using @UpdraftPlus so you know what to do when things go wrong and you need a backup. Click To Tweet

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