Full Stack Web Developer

Advice for WordPress

This article provides a few tips involving WordPress.

Layperson's Guide to Rapid Back-up of WordPress Site

The Situation: you need to backup up a WordPress site, ASAP. You know someone else will help you rebuilt the site... but for the moment, you need to get all of those pieces.

  • Download everything in ~/wp-content/.
    • This folder contains all necessary themes, plugins, and uploaded files unique to your website.
  • Download the MySQL database used by this site.
    • Check ~/wp-config.php to get the name of the database to download.
    • This file will contain all user-generated pages and WordPress settings.

Once you get ahold of these two items, you can ask someone familiar with WordPress to bring your site back online somewhere else.


On rare occasions, typically after setting up a new WordPress site, certain pages will give a 404 Not Found error, even though you're confident the page exists.

As a quick solution, you can refersh "Permalinks" to rule out an infrequent issue with URLs mapping. (i.e. from "http://example.com/2017/04/blog-post/" to "post #515").

To refresh permalinks, go to SettingsPermalinks, and (without changing any of the settings) press Save Changes. This causes WordPress to refresh its list of permalinks.

Quick Log-in

If you frequently need to access the log-in page of multiple WordPress websites, and don't want to keep an array of bookmarks in your Bookmarks bar, try out my WordPress Log-In Bookmarklet.

Customize a Theme via Child Themes

The proper way to make extensive changes to a premium (i.e. purchased) WordPress theme is to create a child theme.

For minor changes, themes will typically provide a way to add custom CSS. (Check the left rail for something like Appearance » Theme Options.)

You should never use Appearance » Theme Editor to edit a non-child theme. (Well, unless the site's theme was written from the ground up.)