How To Auto Restore Your Crashed / Hacked WordPress Site

Blog Tools, WordPress

This post contains a video tutorial about how to restore a hacked (or crashed) WordPress site using BlogVault.

auto-restore-hacked-siteMany bloggers being their day like this:

  1. Wake up
  2. Get a cup of coffee
  3. Check on their blog

Kind of typical.

But sometimes things don't go as expected…

What If It Was All Gone?

On an otherwise typical morning, I recently had a huge shock.

As I checked on our sites, everything looked normal. That is, until the last one.

Our daughters blog had no content.

The site still had the theme and sidebar – but no posts. When I logged in to the WordPress dashboard, I saw that all of the posts, pages, photos, comments and menus were all gone.

We had been hacked!

This is what the site was supposed to look like – a great blog full of our Drew's posts about living in Ecuador and photography.

restored-CultureSponge

Instead of seeing the above site, this is what I saw:

hacked-culturesponge

As you can see, the logo, the theme and the sidebar were all still there. The 10 newest posts were supposed to be between the two ads. And there is supposed to be a menu and a few pages. But it was all gone.

blog-vault-wordpress-backupThanks to a subscription to BlogVault Drew's site was being regularly backed up. I had 30 daily backups archived on their server.

But how do I restore the site to the server? 

Having a zipped folder with all the site files is great, but how does this translate into a restored site – that all works correctly.

In this video, I'll show you how I restored Drew's site – quickly and automatically.

How To Auto Restore a Hacked WordPress Blog

Watch video on YouTube.

How I Auto Restored a Hacked Blog in Minutes

Here's the breakdown of what I did – in case you don't want to watch the video.

  1. Once I logged into BlogVault – which is a web app that connects to my sites via a plugin – I chose the “Restore” function for this site.
  2. I entered the server username and password and choose the folder that I wanted it to restore to.
  3. Then I let BlogVault do its thing.

After I set it up, it took about 28 minutes to completely restore the site. But I didn't have to do anything in this time. I just watched as it saved me weeks worth of work. Well, it saved me a day of redesign and my daughter weeks worth of recreating her 36 published posts (and 7 scheduled ones).

A few years ago I had a similar problem. But it was one of my main sites and I wasn't using BlogVault. Instead, all I had was a downloaded database from WordPress. While I had all of my content (technically) I had to manually recreate the site – including sidebars, SEO tweaks, ad placements and all theme customizations.

How To Use BlogVault

Using BlogVault is pretty straightforward.

  1. Sign up for BlogVault. They offer a free 7 day trial to see if you like it. You can choose from three plans. Basic ($9) for one site, Plus ($19) for 3 sites and Pro ($39) for 7 sites. We've been using the Pro plan for more than a year now and it has been a lifesaver – not just on this last hacked site. See below for other ways we use BlogVault.
  2. Install the plugin. You can either give BlogVault access to your blog by entering your site username/password – or by downloading a custom plugin from the site and installing it like a regular plugin on your blog.
  3. Forget about it. Really. The app will automatically create daily backups of your sites and store them on your server for future access. You can also set it to automatically save your backups to Dropbox.

With this archive of site backups you are all set if you ever get hacked or your site crashes. Just follow the instructions in the video and you'll be back up and running in minutes.

Other Uses of BlogVault

I've used BlogVault in a number of other ways. For example:

  • On demand backup: While the tool creates backups on a 24 hour schedule, you can override this to create backups when you need them. For example, I always create a new backup right before I make significant changes to the site. Things like installing a new plugin, updating WordPress or Thesis, and installing new ad code – all things that could potentially cripple/crash the site. If something goes wrong, I can easily restore the site by using the most recent backup.
  • Moving to a new host: Moving a large blog to a new host is not as easy as it sounds. When I moved our two main sites to Liquid Web last year, I used the site migration feature of BlogVault. It moved both sites quickly and painlessly. This app is worth the money for this feature alone. 

One final note: While it is easy to restore a hacked site with BlogVault – you must be using it before you get hacked. Without the backup files you are out of luck. You should signup today – try it out and stop worrying about your sites going down.

auto-restore-hacked-blog

Now it's your turn

What would you do if your site disappeared? How do you protect your blogs?

Please share your tips and experiences in the comments.

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Hi, I'm the Author!

Bryan Haines is a travel blogger, photographer and content marketer. He is co-founder of WiseGuides.ca (Nova Scotia travel blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for Canadian travel brands). Bryan is also an avid photographer. Check out ClickLikeThis, a GoPro tutorial blog he runs with his wife, Dena.

4 comments… add one
  • Ricardo Schillaci Jul 29, 2015, 3:15 am

    Hi Brian!
    Happened to me one week ago with a blog with 29 posts.
    The damage was not complete. All pics removed and the haker wrote a lot of posts with links to other sites + comments with links too.
    First think I did was to install this plugin: “Limit attempts by BestWebSoft” (can be customized). Next thing was to add the “Captcha” by the same developer. I can see now that the hacker tries no less than 20 times a day to login without success (forgot to say that I changed the password too). I then removed the fake posts and comments and I´m uploading the missing pics that I already have stored on my computer.
    Best wishes for all of you.

    • Bryan Haines Aug 2, 2015, 6:30 am

      It can be a nightmare to see that your site has been hacked. I can’t imagine not protecting our sites with BlogVault.

  • Karl Nov 1, 2014, 10:46 pm

    If you had to restore your content without relying on third-party services (like BlogVault), what would the procedure be like?

    Can’t you, for example, upload your own backups to a free cloud service like Google Drive or OneDrive and then copy them back to your server?

    Can’t you keep a .txt version of every post on your computer just in case your hosting service messes things up?

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

    • Bryan Haines Nov 3, 2014, 7:59 am

      Good question.

      As you mention, you could keep text versions of all your blogs. But there is much more to a site than just the text from the posts. There is post formatting, images, cross-links, and comments. And the biggest issue for me would be the WordPress theme customizations. These can take a lot of time and tweaking. It would be a huge time investment to have to start this from scratch.

      The other option you mention would work better, because you could restore the full site. Of course, this would take some technical skill and it would be dependent on when you created the last backup. With a tool like BlogVault, site backups run every 24 hours (or on demand) ensuring that you have the latest version of your site.

      While these methods will save the cost of a backup service, it’s important to consider how much a site crash would cost you. There would be the time of recreating the site (posts, links, customizations) and the lost earnings and readers while the site is being rebuilt.

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