WordPress has a built-in backup function that allows you to download your website’s text content including posts, pages, categories, tags and comments. Although this isn’t a replacement for a full backup of your Web hosting account, it does provide an extra level of security against your content being lost when you perform basic maintenance operations such as updating WordPress. In addition, backing up your WordPress database allows you to perform other functions such as migrating content from one website to another. The Tools menu in WordPress allows you to quickly back up your database as a small file and download it to your computer.
The WordPress database backup is an XML file that you can read in a Web browser or text editor, but the file won’t be of much use when you view it that way. The primary purpose of the file is for importing back into the same website or another WordPress installation using the Import tool, also available under the Tools menu.
Backing up your WordPress database is really something that needs to be done often for maximum security. If you’re not able to back your content up consistently, consider hiring someone to perform daily automatic backups for you. Code Garage has an automatic WordPress backup service that starts at $10 per month, and the subscription also includes automatic monitors for hacking, malware and website availability.