How do I save my settings after upgrading?

I’m new to OpenWrt. I’ve been searching through the OpenWrt wiki and I see warnings about preserving settings. How do I save all my settings and packages after upgrade without any risks? I don’t want to redo every setting after every upgrade.

You can save settings (that's actually the default, without doing anything).
You can't backup/restore addon packages (imagebuilder or attended sysupgrade can fill that gap).

Please explain imagebuilder and attended sysupgrade and how to use those. Sorry if I’m asking too much, the wiki is very technical and I’m very new to openwrt.

You can save settings within Luci, and restore them afterward if you want (menu, system, backup). While sysupgrading, settings are kept by default. Assuming you are upgrading a subversion (example 21.02.1 to 21.02.2) there is no risk.
From an earlier version (example 19.07 to 21.02) you must first gather info and check if it is possible. Some targets have deep changes (DSA for example) and keeping settings leads to issues. It is safer to upgrade without keeping settings.

Imagebuilder is a program that let you customize and build your own image, including all packages you need. If you sysupgrade this image and keep settings, your router will be ready and upgraded at reboot.

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