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Most of us are quite lax when it comes to making regular backups of our database. It’s too much hassle, and “what are the chances it will happen to me?”

But what if your backup system happened automatically everyday, stored the backup securely on another server, and you never had to look near it?

1 – Register a New Gmail Account

Gmail offers 7GB of storage, and up to 20MB file attachments (The largest attachment size I was able to find for a free email account). It’s free and it’s completely distinct from your regular hosting, so if your host loses everything, you won’t have lost your backups.

Go to http://mail.google.com/ and hit the “Sign Up For Google Mail” button. The form only takes a minute to fill out and now you’ll have 7GB of free storage space.

2 – Install the Plugin

There are several different backup plugins out there, but we’re going to use WP-DB Manager, because it’s the one I know will work, and because you can count on it being updated with each WordPress release.

Download the plugin, upload it to your plugins folder, and activate it as usual.

You then have to browse to the wp-content/backup-db folder, and upload the .htaccess file from the plugin folder.

If the backup-db folder doesn’t exist, create it and CHMOD it to 777 (In most FTP clients, you can CHMOD a folder by right clicking it and choosing “CHMOD” or “File Attributes” etc).

3 – Configure The Settings

A “Database” link will be added to your admin panel’s main navigation. Click it, then click the “DB Options” tab.

In the Automatic Scheduling section, choose every day, Gzip Yes and enter your Gmail address. Now hit “Update Options” and you’re done.

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4 – Lycos Mail, for When Your Database Is Too Big

The drawback to the method above is that you’re limited to a maximum database size of 20MB.

WordPress tends to take up very little space, and Gzipping the file will help immensely, but if your blog does grow over the 20MB limit, you’ll have to find a better email account.

In that case, try Lycos Mail. They offer 3GB of free storage, but unlimited email attachment sizes.

However, with the free version, you must login every 30 days, or they will permanently delete all of your emails. You can avoid the Lycos deletions by purchasing Account Preservation, which costs $5.95 a year (Still extremely cheap!).

Losing all of the emails in the free account is too scary a thought for me, so I’m sticking with Gmail for as long as possible.

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