Creating Backups and Staging Environment for Your Website

For all website owners, one of the worst feelings is losing all your website data and files without any hope of recovery. It’s like losing all you have worked for or built for years or even decades. So, in order to avoid that, creating backups and a staging environment for your website is imperative.

Interestingly, all of these operations can be carried out especially if you are hosting your websites or apps on Cloudways. Cloudways is the ideal and fastest platform to experience managed cloud hosting for any online project.

However, before going deeper into all of these operations, it is important to discuss the security features for WordPress sites and how to set up backup on Cloudways.

Cloudways Security Features for WordPress Sites

In reality, Cloudways offer so many security features for all WordPress sites. But for the purpose of this discussion, I’ll highlight just five (5). The essence of this is to help you better understand how much value Cloudways places on security and safety so you can better trust the backup and staging feature.

Read Also: Ezoic Free WordPress Hosting

a. Comprehensive WordPress Vulnerability Scanning

Almost all hosting platforms claim to offer WordPress vulnerability scanning but it is important to let you know how and why Cloudways WordPress vulnerability scanning is unique.

Cloudways’ scanner continuously checks your WordPress installation for vulnerabilities, not just at scheduled intervals. Other hosting platforms have selected time to run this kind of check.

In addition, their system leverages Patchstack’s vulnerability database, known for its comprehensiveness and cannot be compared to most other hosting platforms that do just basic checks.

Also, unlike some scanners that look at general server vulnerabilities, Cloudways’ tool specifically targets WordPress core, themes, and plugins. Even hidden vulnerabilities can be easily detected on Cloudways.

b. 1 click SSLs

Granted, SSL is quite common with many hosting platforms. But the reality is that it can be very complicated to install for an average non-tech person. When I new started blogging, I had to contact my hosting company (let me be nice enough to keep their name secret) to help me install my SSL after buying it (for a ridiculous amount anyway).

For Cloudways, it is super simple to install, with just one click.

c. SafeUpdates: Ensuring WordPress and Plugins are Securely Updated

It may interest you to know that Cloudways secures WordPress updates through their SafeUpdates feature. How does the SafeUpdate feature work? SafeUpdates test updates in a staging environment first, thereby, minimising the risk of breaking your live site. This feature also lets you backup before updates are made, hence, allowing for easy rollback if needed.

Another cool stuff about SafeUpdates is that it lets you automate updates for a truly hands-off approach.

With the SafeUpdate feature, you can really have peace of Mind knowing you have a rollback option through backups, especially when updating complex websites with many plugins. This can be a major advantage over manual updates where a mistake can be difficult to rectify.

d. Leveraging Cloudflare Enterprise CDN Integration

One of the biggest pluses of choosing Cloudways hosting is the Cloudflare Enterprise CDN integration. How does this work? Cloudways integrates Cloudflare Enterprise directly within their platform, eliminating the need for separate setup and management between two different providers. Cloudways offers Cloudflare Enterprise as an add-on service, potentially at a lower cost than purchasing it directly from Cloudflare, especially for users on lower-tier Cloudways plans.

But you may wonder; how does this feature help my website? Well, with this feature, your website visitors experience quicker load times (about 66% faster load times), regardless of their location. In addition, Cloudflare Enterprise offers advanced security features like DDoS mitigation and a Web Application Firewall, helping to protect your website from malicious attacks.

e. Additional Security Measures and Best Practices on Cloudways

Beyond all the security measures explained already, there are still many other best practices on Cloudways. One such is implementing SafeUpdates in the Development Cycle. The benefit is that it integrates security into the development workflow, not as an afterthought. This means catching and preventing potential issues before they ever reach a live website. In addition, it minimises the risk of regressions or downtime during deployments. This allows for faster release cycles with greater confidence.

Another additional best practice on Cloudway that improves security is that it enforces strong password policies and enables 2FA for all Cloudways accounts and server access points for an extra layer of security.

Setting Up WordPress Backups on Cloudways

Having been well aware of key security features available on Cloudways for WordPress sites, it is now imperative to get to understand how to set WordPress backups on Cloudways. However, before going deeper, it is important that you know the types of backups available on Cloudways.

Types of Backups Available on Cloudways

At the moment, Cloudways offers two main types of backups to ensure your applications and data are protected:

  1. Server-level Backups: This comprehensive backup captures everything on your server, including all applications (their web files and databases) deployed on it. The good part is that server-level backups offer a complete restoration option if needed.
  2. Application-level Backups: focuses on a specific application you choose. It includes all content from the application’s public_html and private_html directories along with its database and is useful for restoring a single application if there’s an issue without affecting others.

Both these backups can be automated for regular creation and are stored off-site for added security. You can also perform on-demand backups anytime. But then how do you configure the automated backup for WordPress?

Automated Backup Configuration for WordPress

Cloudways provides a built-in functionality for automated backups of your WordPress applications. Here’s a simplified breakdown of configuring them:

  1. Access Server Management: Log in to your Cloudways platform and navigate to the server where your WordPress application resides. This can be found under the “Servers” tab.
  2. Locate Backups Section: Within the server management panel, find the “Backups” section. This might be labelled differently depending on the Cloudways interface version you’re using.
  3. Enable and Configure Automated Backups: Look for options related to scheduling automated backups. You can typically choose the frequency (e.g., daily, weekly) and potentially set a specific time for them to run.
  4. Local vs. Offsite Backups (Optional): Cloudways might offer a choice between local server backups and offsite backups (often to the cloud storage). Consider your redundancy needs and choose accordingly. Take note of why the local backup option is important.
  5. Save Changes: Once you’ve configured the desired schedule and options, save the changes to activate automated backups for your WordPress application.
Backup setting on CloudWays

Note that this process works for the old Cloudways interface. They have a newer interface that has a slightly different approach.

How to Manually Backup WordPress Sites on Cloudways

Cloudways offers a user-friendly interface for managing your applications, but you can also perform manual backups for your WordPress site if needed. Here’s a basic breakdown of how to go about it:

  • Access Server Management: Like automated backups, log in to Cloudways and navigate to your WordPress application’s server.
  • Locate Backups Section: Find the “Backups” section within the server management panel.
  • Initiate Manual Backup: Look for an option like “Take Backup Now” or “Manual Backup.” This will trigger the server to create a fresh backup of your entire application (WordPress files and database).
Take Backup now on CloudWays

Note that the screenshot above is for the server-level backup option. This option is useful because it backs up all applications (or WordPress sites) on the server. However, for app-level back, you’ll have to open the app on your Cloudways server to initiate backup or restore.

Choose the right server and app on CLoudWays

When you hit the “take backup now” button, the backup begins and then the screenshot below applies.

Restoring WordPress from Backups

Now that you understand how to backup manually and by automation on Cloudways, it’s also important to know how to restore WordPress sites from backups.

First and foremost, make sure you are on the actual app or website that you want to restore. To locate this, go to the correct server, and click the ‘www’ tab at the top right-hand corner.

Choose app on Server

This will show you all the apps (or WordPress sites) hosted on the server from which to choose from.

On the left-hand panel, locate ‘backup and restore’, then click ‘restore application now’.

From this point, you’ll have 3 options to restore backup; complete restore, web files, or database.

Restore Backup on CloudWays

Ideally, you should choose the ‘complete restore’ option to restore everything on site including web files and database. After clicking it, restoring will begin but take a few minutes to finish up.

Once it is complete, you should see something like this:

Backup restore on CloudWays

Benefits of Regular WordPress Backups

Although there are several benefits of regularly backing up your WordPress sites, but let’s highlight only 3.

1. Protecting Your Data from Loss or Corruption

Regular backups act as a safety net. Unexpected events like plugin conflicts, hosting issues, or even accidental deletions can damage your website. Backups ensure you have a clean copy to restore from, minimising data loss and downtime.

2. Easing Website Migration and Management

Backups are crucial when migrating your WordPress site to a new server or hosting provider. They allow you to quickly transfer your entire website (content, themes, settings) to the new environment, minimising disruption and ensuring a smooth migration process. Backups also come in handy for managing your website over time. You can easily restore a previous version if you make unwanted changes or experience compatibility issues with updates.

3. Compliance and Peace of Mind

Regular backups can be required to adhere to data protection regulations for businesses or websites handling sensitive data. Even if compliance isn’t mandatory, backups provide peace of mind. Knowing you have a recent backup readily available reduces stress and allows you to focus on running your website with confidence.

Using the Cloudways Staging Environment for WordPress Development

If you have ever been affected by a broken site during the ‘backup and restore’ of a WordPress site, you’ll probably appreciate using the Cloudways staging environment for WordPress development. This section puts you through the process involved.

1. Creating and Managing a Staging Site

Cloudways simplifies creating a staging environment for your WordPress site. This is essentially a clone of your live site where you can test changes, plugins, and themes without affecting your visitors. Cloudways’ interface allows you to easily create, manage, and access your staging site, providing a safe space for development and experimentation.

2. Syncing Changes Between Staging and Live Environments

Cloudways offers tools to synchronise changes between your staging and live environments. This lets you push tested and approved updates from the staging site to your live website seamlessly. You can typically choose which elements to transfer (code, database, etc.) ensuring a smooth and controlled update process.

3. Tools and Tips for Efficient Staging Management

Cloudways provides various tools to streamline your staging workflow. This might include features for managing multiple staging sites, scheduling automated backups, and easily restoring previous versions. Additionally, Cloudways resources and documentation offer valuable tips for best practices in using their staging environment for efficient WordPress development.

Creating and Managing a Staging Site

1. Create a Staging Site

Login to Cloudways and locate your WordPress application from the server section.

Locate the “Staging Management” section and initiate the creation process.

Choose a server for your staging site (same or different server works).

Cloudways will create a mirror of your live site, ready for development.

2. Sync Changes to Live Site

Once development on the staging site is complete, return to “Staging Management.”

Staging management on CloudWays

Use the “Push” function to transfer desired changes (code, database) to your live site.

Cloudways will prompt you to confirm the specific elements you want to push.

Approve the push, and Cloudways will update your live site with the tested changes.

Syncing Changes Between Staging and Live Environments

Tools and Tips for Efficient Staging Management

Benefits of Using a Staging Environment

Staging is very much important when it comes to backup and restore. But now let’s consider some of the key benefits.

Safe Testing of WordPress Updates and Plugins

A staging environment provides a safe sandbox to test WordPress updates, plugins, and themes before deploying them to your live site. This helps identify and address any potential conflicts or bugs without impacting your website visitors or functionality.

Streamlining Website Development and Deployment

Staging environments streamline development by allowing you to build and test changes on a separate site. This speeds up the development process and simplifies deployment as you can push tested and approved updates directly to your live site with minimal risk.

Enhancing Team Collaboration During Development

Staging environments facilitate collaboration by providing a shared workspace for development teams. Team members can work on different aspects of the website simultaneously without affecting the live version. This promotes efficient communication and faster development cycles.

Advanced Tips and Tricks

While Cloudways offers a user-friendly platform for managing WordPress sites, there are advanced techniques to unlock its full potential, different from what has been discussed so far. 

This section explains advanced strategies for automation, performance optimisation, and best practices to streamline your workflow and ensure a secure, high-performing WordPress experience on Cloudways.

a. Automating Backups and Staging with Cloudways API

For power users, Cloudways offers an API that allows automating tasks like backups and staging environment creation. This can be particularly useful for managing multiple websites or scheduling regular backups programmatically.

b. Optimizing WordPress for Speed and Security

Cloudways offers server-level caching options to improve website performance. You can also install performance optimisation plugins within your WordPress application to further enhance loading times. 

In addition, you can keep your WordPress core, themes, and plugins updated to address vulnerabilities. Cloudways offers managed security add-ons for additional protection. Consider implementing strong passwords and user access controls for your WordPress site.

c. Best Practices for Managing WordPress on Cloudways

  • Utilise Cloudways’ monitoring tools to track website performance and server health.
  • Leverage Cloudways’ resource optimisation features to allocate resources efficiently based on your website’s needs.
  • Regularly review and update your WordPress security measures to maintain a secure website environment.
  • Explore Cloudways documentation and tutorials to discover advanced functionalities and best practices for managing WordPress on their platform.


Cloudways offers a robust suite of features to simplify and secure your WordPress experience. Their automated backups ensure you have a safety net in case of unforeseen issues, while the staging environment allows for safe testing and development without impacting your live website. These features, combined with Cloudways’ server-level security measures, provide a strong foundation for a reliable and secure WordPress installation.

However, security and efficiency are ongoing processes. Beyond Cloudways’ built-in features, consider implementing strong passwords and user access controls for an extra layer of protection. Staying up-to-date on WordPress core, theme, and plugin updates is crucial for addressing vulnerabilities. Cloudways’ additional security add-ons can further enhance your website’s protection.

Ultimately, leverage Cloudways’ resources and explore their documentation to unlock the full potential of their platform. By combining Cloudways’ features with your own security best practices, you can create a high-performing and secure WordPress environment that empowers you to focus on delivering exceptional content and experiences for your visitors.

Leave a Comment