Wherever you host your websites, you should have automatic regular backups made at the server level (in addition to other methods). GoDaddy offers an automatic backup service called “Essential Website Backup” which backs up your site to a separate cloud server; you could even use it to back up a site not hosted on GoDaddy.
But, I’ve seen so many clients with this service purchased on their GoDaddy accounts but not set up! So they’re just throwing away the monthly fee, and worse, their sites are not getting backed up!
There’s not much documentation on how to set up GoDaddy’s Essential Website Backup, so I wrote this article. Note, I’m assuming you have FTP credentials already set up and you know how to use them to see your server files. If not, GoDaddy has documentation on how to do this. I recommend downloading Filezilla, which is a free FTP program for Mac and PC.
Here’s how to set up the backup service:
1. Click “Manage” next to Essential Website Backup
2. Click “Details” under “Backups”
You may need to wait a while for this page to fully load. If your backups are set up, you’ll see a green check mark under “Backups”. If not, keep going; you need to set it up.
3. Click the three dots, then “Settings”
Note, your page won’t show the site screenshot since it is not set up yet.
4. Enter your FTP info
Next, click the SFT / FTP tab and enter your FTP info, exactly how you entered it in Filezilla (or whatever FTP client you use). It’s a good idea to make sure your credentials work in a client first before entering them here.
Click “Save” when done.
5. Enter your database info
This is where it gets a bit confusing. I was baffled about what to enter for “Database Address”. It turns out you just enter your site’s full URL, i.e., “https://www.mysite.com”. The field should have been called “Site URL”. It’s very misleading as is.
If you’re using WordPress, you can get the rest of the database information from the wp-config.php file in the root of your site (accessible using your FTP client or GoDaddy’s file browser).
Click “Save” when done. Note that if you revisit this tab, all of your settings will be gone, even though they’re stored internally.
6. Set your backup schedule
Next, click the “Schedule” tab and set the frequency of your backups. This part is pretty self-explanatory. Save when done.
7. Verify that backups are working
Go back up one level to the page with the calendar and you may see a screenshot of your site if backups are working. This may take a while. In any case, click “Back up Now” to make sure it’s working. If you see a bar graph starting to grow, then you’re off to a good start.
I’m writing this guide from memory, so please let me know if I skipped a step or if anything needs clarification in the comments below. – Brian
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