Version Control for WordPress

Ultimately, even if you have great passwords and two-factor authentication, you still want to make sure that the actual code and content of your site are safe — and, more importantly, recoverable if something goes wrong.

In this topic, version control, we are focusing on the code portion of site safety. This includes the basic (or core) WordPress code, your plugins and their settings, the theme you are using, and any additional configuration or customisation (like custom CSS) that your site uses.

Version control is a simple way of keeping both a backup and a revision history of your site so that, in the event of your site being hacked, damaged, or accidentally deleted, you can easily recover it — or, put more simply, undo the change.

The easiest and simplest way for a non-technical person to have some kind of version control is to keep a copy of the site files in a Dropbox folder. Dropbox automatically provides a simple version control mechanism allowing you to recover previous versions of files even if they’ve been deleted.

A better way is to use a service like Github.com by which you can create what is called a repository for your site files. When you (or your developer or designer) make changes to the site code, the changes need to be committed to the repository and, should it turn out that you need to undo the changes, it is always possible to revert to an older version.

If you’re not a Github fan or you don’t want to use a third-party service for your version control there are other options, including running Git (which is what Github is based on) locally on your computer or laptop but the details of how that gets set up are beyond the scope of this site.