As a content management system (CMS), it is important to realise that when you create a post or page in WordPress that actual HTML pages are not created and saved into a folder on your website hosting server.
In fact the content that you type into the post or page editor is written to the database, and when a person comes to your website, that content is retrieved from the database and used, in conjunction with your theme files and plugins, to render the post or page in the visitors browser.
So, if the content of your database is lost or corrupted, the posts or pages will not be shown to your visitor, and most likely they will see an error in their browser window. That’s how important the database is to your CMS!
If any of the files within the core system, your theme, the media library or the plugins that your website use, become corrupted or are lost, it is a relatively easy process to restore them as the files can be found somewhere on the Internet.
However, if the same happens to your database and you don’t have a recent backup file to restore it from, basically, you’ll lose all your content, plain and simple! That’s why it is very important to take regular backups of your WordPress database and download the backup file to a safe place on your computer or on a cloud storage server.
The easiest way to backup your database is to install a plugin on your website. My favorite (at the moment) is called UpdraftPlus because you can use it to backup your theme files and uploaded media files as well as your database. With UpdraftPlus you can also set it to schedule automatic backups. In this mode, backup files are saved to your websites hosting server. It can also be set to save the backup files to a different service such as Dropbox, Google drive or Amazon S3.
Whether you save the files to your server or one of the external servers mentioned above, it is always a good idea to download the files to your computer at least once a week. UpdraftPlus allows you to do this with a couple of clicks of your mouse.
Below is an infographic that I created to make it easier to understand why the WordPress database is so important. Please feel free to share it.
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