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How to Restore WordPress Website and Database

Fully Restore WordPress in Four (4) Easy Steps

This article will step you through how to perform restore WordPress, including your database and program files.

Software and Other Things Needed to Restore WordPress:

  • An FTP – File Transfer Protocol program. In this video, I actually use the browser addon FireFTP.
  • A “Zip” program such as WinZip, 7Zip or a built in version thats comes with your operating system (Mac or Windows).
  • Administrative access to your website directories. This video shows a setup with cPanel access.
  • Administrative rights to your WordPress Installation

Restore WordPress Files & Database using these Steps:

Step 1. Download a Copy of Your Backup Files

There are two ways to this:

  • Using the “download” feature in the actions column on the manage backups page. You can get there from within WordPress by going to: Tools Menu, then selecting backups.
  • Using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) programs you can navigate to the “wp-content” folder and inside there, you will find a folder called “backupwordpress-(sum codes)-backups”, which will contain the zip file, along with two other files.  You will need to transfer (download) this zip file to your hard drive.

Note: As you can see, by far, the easiest way is within the backup interface itself.

Step 2. Unzip the compressed (zipped) File

You will need to use a unzipping program such as WinZip or 7Zip to extract the files. Depending on the size of your backup, this can take some time. My file took about 3 minutes to unzip.  When the file has been unzipped, you should see the following:

  • Your database file (ending .sql)
  • Your blog or websites files, usually consisting of wp-admin, wp-content and wp-includes folders along with a host of files ending in .php
  • A “.htaccess” file, which serves as a directory-level configuration file.

Note: After I unzipped the files I moved them to a special folder (FTP-Transfers) on my hard drive, which made it easier for me to find those files during the upload. This is optional, I just do it because it’s habit for me.  As long as you know where those file are on your computer, you can skip this.

Step 3. Restore your files via FTP Upload

Using an FTP program, upload (making sure to overwrite) the files listed above.  For this video I am using a FireFox (browser) add-on called “FireFTP”.

Note: I will  be uploading the files into our “public_html” folder, your setup may be different and you may want to confirm with your hosting company where your WordPress installation is located.

Step 4. Restore your database with phpMyAdmin

In order to complete the restoration process, you now need to import your backed up database (filename.sql).  There are a few ways that you can do this. In this video I do it Using a tool called phpMyAdmin, which is a utility that’s available within my cPanel in my website install from my hosting service.

Note: There are similar tools like phpMyAdmin, as well as stand alone desktop tools but you are still going to need to know your ID’s and passwords to access the folder where your database is stored.  Here is an article that can help explain what’s available for restoring MYSQL databases.

To use the phpMyAdmin application this is what you need to do next:

  • In the cPanel locate phpMyAdmin application and double click the icon
  • Login to phpMyAdmin (ID and Password will be needed)
  • Click databases tab and select the database that you want to restore. Note: for references purposes, you will see a series of tables below, this let’s you know you’re in the right place.
  • Click the Import tab and locate the “Files to import” section
  • Click the “Browse” button (You will get a pop up screen)
  • Now navigate to the directory on your computer or the location you have stored the backup database.  Find the location of of your File (FileName.sql)
  • Select the database file (FileName.sql) and then click “Open”
  • Go down to the “Format section, and make sure you have selected the SQL format. Now you can click the ‘Go” button and your import will start.

After the import has completed, you will see the following message: “Import has been successfully finished, xxx queries executed. (FileName.sql)”

Congrats You Have Restored WordPress!

You are finished, Good Job! Don’t forget to test your work. You can do that by successfully logging into your WordPress app and checking things out.  If your restore should fail, try looking at some these links to troubleshoot your WordPress restore.

Other Resources:

How to Perform a Full Backup of Your Entire WordPress Blog – YouTube Video

Backing Up Your Database

Using FTP Clients

How to use phpMyAdmin

Restoring Your Database From Backup

What is the cPanel?

What is “Zip” or File Compression software?

Data Security

WordPress Security: Changing WordPress Security Keys

Better WordPress Security

The above video is about WordPress Security keys and how to better secure your website by changing the standard default keys.  There are 8 security keys that are placed in your wp-config.php file during the installation and creation of your WordPress site. The video is a little long, but it is thorough. Take what you can from it and ignore the rest.

DIY WordPress Security Fix

I am part of the “Chicago WordPress MeetUp Group“. During one of our meetings, we discussed 3 ways to improve your WP website security. When done right after your WordPress installation, they help prevent your WordPress website/blog from being compromised by a would be hacker.

The three suggestions are shown below in the order he mentioned:

1. Change your WP Security Keys

2. Change Your Table Prefix in WordPress

3. Changing the Default WP Username “Admin” and creating strong passwords

This article shows you how to do suggestion #1 – How to change your WP security keys.

Note: This is not for the faint of heart. If you are not comfortable doing this, then don’t. Get someone else to do this for you. Also don’t ever make changes to your WordPress site without first creating a back up.

Changing WordPress Security keys – Step 1

This is referring to the 8 WordPress security keys that are placed in your wp-config.php file during the installation (see below). The wp-config.php file contains the configuration information for access to your database and also various log-in information. it is located in the root directory of your WordPress installation. this is the file you will need to edit to better secure your site.

There are 8 WordPress security keys, you will need to change (see below).


There is a Random Security Code generator at the following url: http://codex.wordpress.org/Editing_wp-config.php. It will be in the “Security Keys” section near the bottom of the page.

There will be a blue link titled “the online generator” (see below).

WordPress Online Generator Link

By clicking on this link, a random set of WordPress security keys will be generated. You will want to copy all of those records substitute those 8 keys with the original ones that were created during installation.

Changing WordPress Security keys – Step 2

To complete this step, you will need to have access to the server and eventually the directory folders where your installation of WordPress is stored.  This will require you to know your username/domain-name and the password.  Type the website address URL of the website you need to access. Now type in your log in credentials.  You should now be at your admin panel or cPanel.

Note: Depending on the hosting service, the screen will vary. For this example we are using a cPanel access of a website that is being hosted by BlueHost.com.  BlueHost is one of the best hosting companies in the world. Well that’s my opinion and thousands of others.

You need to navigate down to the files section and select the “File Manger” icon.  Select the website where WordPress is installed and click OK.  locate and open the the wp-config.php file by highlighting it and selecting edit in the cPanel. Depending on the type of installation you have performed the file may be in your root (main) folder of might be part of a sub-folder installation.

Changing WordPress Security keys – Step 3

Scroll down to the security section and replace the security codes in the file with the ones you copied to notepad.  save your file and verify that you can still see your website  and whether or not you can log into the admin panel.  If you have done everything correctly then you should have no problems.


My advice to you is to restore the wp-config.php file with the one you backed up and try again.  GOOD LUCK!

Learn More About WordPress!

Check out our WordPress Tutorials & WordPress Admin Guide

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