Let’s face it many of us forget the little things, and a WordPress backup system is one of those little things that people tend to forget but it is so vitally important when you have a business site (or even a personal site). Imagine you have spent months getting your website just how you want it, you have worked hard and you are getting a good amount of sales/leads and a steady flow of visitors. Then all of a sudden a technical issue or even worse you end up with a hacked website and everything you have worked hard for just goes up in a puff of smoke.
Much like the day my motorbike was stolen, you will look at your website in disbelief like I looked at my empty garage that morning.
Just the other day one of my Xbox friends was after my help (which is what prompted this post) his WordPress website had been hacked and he wanted me to do the favor of cleaning it for him. I’m not a fan of favors.. especially at the weekend when I’m trying to relax, and I wasn’t in the best of moods after spending the whole day house hunting. So I asked him one simple question:
Do you have a backup?
He didn’t, so I advised I couldn’t help him and gave him a few links to companies that specialize in cleaning hacked websites. I classed this as an important and possibly harsh lesson on website ownership. Slightly mean of me I know but would you want to spend a weekend trawling through someone else’s website cleaning out malware..
A Nightly WordPress Backup
My WordPress Maintenance Service includes a nightly WordPress Backup, along with a whole host of extra features, so if you truly do not want the stress of looking after all the little things you might forget why not consider hiring me to look after everything so you can have the peace of mind without having to do everything yourself.
If you are very much the DIYer and don’t want someone else to take the pressure off you, there are a number of great plugin’s both free and premium that will do everything you need so here are some tips for choosing a WordPress Backup plugin and a rundown of some of the best ones.
What to Look For in a WordPress Backup Plugin
While the backup plugin that you eventually choose will depend on your personal preferences, there are a few key features you should at least consider when making your choice:
- Does the plugin offer automation? Automated backups let you “set it and forget it.” In other words, it keeps you from having to remember to do it manually every week/month/whatever time frame.
- Does the plugin take full or partial backups? All the plugins on this list offer full site backups. But if you search elsewhere, you will find some plugins that will only back up specific parts of your websites, like just your database or theme.
- How does the plugin handle restoring from backups? Some plugins give you built-in tools, while others require you to manually upload the files and import your database.
- Does the plugin work with remote storage? If the plugin doesn’t let you back up to remote storage, you’ll be entirely responsible for keeping your backup files safe. Some plugins will store your backups on your server, which can still be useful but won’t help you if your server gets wiped clean.
- Does the plugin offer site migrations? This is the least important question. But if you think you’ll move your site often — like from a local staging site (that you use for tests) to your live site — this feature comes in handy.
By the numbers, UpdraftPlus is the most popular backup plugin at WordPress.org. So, why do so many people like UpdraftPlus? Probably because it gives you nearly all of the points I discussed above without charging a penny (though there is a premium version with more features).
Here’s what you get with UpdraftPlus:
- Manual or automatic backups (based on a schedule that you define)
- Full-site backups or backups of specific parts of your site (like your database)
- Easy restore from backup via a dedicated tool
- Off-site backup to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and more
- UpdraftVault dedicated backup storage, which is basically a dedicated cloud storage service for UpdraftPlus (storage costs extra, though)
BackWPup is another popular WordPress backup plugin with over 600,000 active installs.
Here’s what you get with this plugin:
- Full or partial site backups
- Automated backups via a few different methods
- Off-site backup to Dropbox, email, S3 services, and others (Google Drive is not available in the free version, though)
You may notice one feature missing from this list, though — BackWPup does not offer a tool to restore from backup. You’ll have to do that manually.
VaultPress is part of the Jetpack plugin from Automattic, the same company behind WordPress.com. It’s designed to make things as easy as possible for you to both back up and restore your site (if needed). Essentially, it puts your backups on autopilot.
- Automatic daily and real-time backups. Yes — real-time means that any time you make a change on your site, that change gets synched right away.
- 30 days of backup storage in the VaultPress cloud
- One-click restores from the VaultPress interface
- Easy migrations — restore to different sites with the click of a button
And beyond backups, on the higher tier plans, VaultPress also scans your site for vulnerabilities and helps you fix any problems that it discovers.
Sounds pretty slick, right? So what’s the catch? Well, unlike all of the other plugins on this list, there’s no free version.
If you want to use VaultPress, you have to pay their yearly fee depending on your site and the features you want the fees are between $39 and $299 per year.
Duplicator is a popular and well-rated WordPress migration plugin. Because there’s a good deal of overlap between what happens when you migrate a site and what happens when you backup/restore a site, Duplicator functions great as a backup tool as well.
That said, many of the backup features that come for free in the other plugins are only available in the paid Duplicator Pro plugin.
Here’s what you can do in the free version of the plugin:
- Download a full site backup
- Fairly easy restore from backup (though it’s not a one-click restore)
- Easy site migrations
And if you upgrade to Duplicator Pro, here’s what you’ll get:
- Scheduled backups
- Off-site storage at Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3
- Special support for extra-large websites
Like Duplicator, All-in-One WP Migration is a migration plugin that serves double duty as a backup plugin. One thing that’s nice about All-in-One WP Migration, though, is that it offers a simpler restore process than Duplicator.
The plugin gives you:
- Full or partial backups
- Easy restore from backup
- Functionalities that make migrating your site a breeze
You can also purchase individual premium extensions for off-site backups at cloud storage providers like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and more.
There’s no way to put your backups on an automatic schedule, though.