As of 2019, WooCommerce has the highest market share powering 22% of the leading 1 million e-commerce websites. With more and more WooCommerce sites being built every day, the demand for specialist WooCommerce hosting and reliable backups has increased exponentially.
If you are running a successful e-commerce business, your website is probably the most valuable asset for your business. A well-performing site will enable you to attract more shoppers, increase your conversions, and generate higher revenue. In short, your website is the life and blood of your business!
Now, imagine the horror if your e-commerce website stops functioning even for just a few hours! Depending on the severity of the malfunction, you could end up losing valuable e-commerce data like product listings, customer records, customer orders, shipping details, and a lot more. As your website will be down (at least for a day or two), you could also lose online customers along with customer trust. This could also end up in you having to pay more money trying to restore your website to normal.
So, what is the best way of ensuring that you don’t have to face such a situation? WooCommerce sites need a specialized backup that is different from backups for a regular site. This means you need to constantly build a backup of your website data and database records that can be quickly restored to your website in the event of any calamity.
This is where a real-time backup comes to your rescue. In the following sections, we will discuss why WooCommerce website needs real-time backups (and not just regular backups).
Choosing the Right Backup for a WooCommerce Website
Compared to other websites, an e-commerce website goes through a substantial number of changes daily. These changes could be in the form of customer orders, payment transactions, shipping details, product additions (or removals), and a lot of other operations. This results in the generation of volumes of real-time data practically every hour or even minute.
A regular backup strategy is designed for fixed backups that are scheduled at fixed intervals (for example, every week or day or hour). But when it comes to backup of real-time data generated by e-commerce websites, regular backups can miss out on the latest website changes. Here’s an example: A regular backup has been scheduled on an hourly basis, and the last backup was taken at 3:00 pm. An online shopper places an online order at 3:15 pm and the e-commerce website malfunctions at 3:30 pm. In this case, the last stored backup version would be restored to the website. But, it would be missing this customer order, and all the other transactions made between 3:00 pm- 3:30 pm.
This is where real-time backups are useful. An e-commerce site needs this kind of backup solution as it automatically triggers a backup every time there is a change made on the site.
This ensures you do not lose any vital information if and when you need to restore your site.
Now that you know about real-time backups, the question is, do website owners like you have the time and patience to take backups regularly? The answer is you don’t have to! A WooCommerce backup plugin can do the job for you.
Even better news? We have compared the major plugins available in the market, which will help you find the right WooCommerce backup plugin. But first, let’s see the features that a good backup plugin tool must possess.
Features of a Backup Plugin Tool
Here are some of the essential elements that every WordPress backup tool must possess:
- Comprehensive Backup: A backup tool must take a backup of all your website files/folders and also your database tables. A backup should include WordPress files, installed plugin/theme files, web pages, website settings, and even user comments.
- Incremental Backups: Website backups can be a very data-intensive process, as most websites have large volumes of data. Real-time backups can be even more data-intensive as they are executed each time there is any file change.Incremental backups reduce the backup load by only syncing modified files and folders in small manageable chunks. This ensures that the entire website data is not backed up every time but includes only those components that have been modified.
- Off-Site Backup Storage: Along with an efficient backup process, the backup data must be stored in a safe and independent location from where it can be readily retrieved and restored whenever required.Storing your e-commerce website data on your web server is not a good idea as it can reduce the available storage space of your server. Hence, an off-site cloud-based storage location is the ideal alternative.
- Multiple Backup Versions with Encrypted Data: WordPress backup tools create and store multiple backup versions each with a date and time stamp. During the restoration, you can select the backup version that you want to restore to your website. Additionally, the backup data is securely encrypted so that online hackers cannot access them.
- Real-time Backups: And last (but not the least), backup tools offer real-time backups where every file and database changes are tracked and synced (through incremental backups) to the main backup version.
Depending on the backup tool that you use, there are many more features and benefits that can make taking backups very easy and user-friendly. While some of these backup tools are paid tools, you can still find numerous free backup tools in the market. The next obvious question would be, which of these are better? Paid or Free. Let’s evaluate both of them.
Free or Paid Backup Plugins – Which is better?
While a free backup plugin is enticing, you only get what you pay for. Free ones give you only basic features that are insufficient. If you want access to premium features, you need to pay.
When evaluating free or paid plugins, check for the following parameters:
- Are they easy to install and use even for non-technical WordPress user?
- Do they offer automated backup facilities (else what’s the point of using a tool)?
- Do they provide a complete backup of both website files and database records?
- Is customer support included in the package or do you need to pay separately for that?
If you want a reliable solution, your best bet would be to use a paid solution – it’s a reasonable price to pay for the benefits they have to offer. Let’s evaluate the top 5 WordPress backup plugins in the market, along with the pros and cons of each tool.
5 Best WordPress Backup Plugins – A Comparison
Here’s a detailed comparison of the five best WordPress backup plugins and how they fare when it comes to performing real-time backups. While some of them do offer a free version, these plugins are mostly all paid plugins. So, let’s get started.
Trusted by over 400,000 WordPress websites (including WP Mayor), BlogVault is a comprehensive backup solution that offers on-demand, scheduled, and real-time backups. The tool is easy to install and use with its 1-click backup feature. Some of its real-time backup benefits include:
- Centralized dashboard for executing website backups and restores
- Trigger-based instant backups
- Access to 365 days of backup history
- The entire backup process is performed on dedicated BlogVault servers, thus ensuring that your web servers are not overloaded
- Hook-based listening that is effective in tracking any website changes
Pros of BlogVault:
- Incremental backups
- Offsite backup storage with data encryption
- Website migration and staging
- Efficient customer support
Cons of BlogVault:
- Does not offer any free version
Basic paid plan starting from $7.4 per month
VaultPress is a real-time backup and scanning tool designed and built by Automattic, a company that operates millions of WordPress websites on WordPress.com. Bundled with the popular JetPack plugin, the VaultPress tool can be used for both backup and malware protection. Some of its real-time backup benefits include:
- Calendar view that lets you monitor real-time activity on your website
- A centralized dashboard that enables you to perform backups and malware scanning
- Complete backup of all website data, including the posts, user comments, media files, and dashboard settings
Pros of VaultPress:
- Both backup and malware scanning feature
- Access to the 30-day backup archive
- Monitoring and notification of website downtime
- Easy website migration
Cons of VaultPress:
- Not available with the free version of JetPack plugin
- Slow website performance
Premium plans priced at $3.50 per month.
Get started with VaultPress
Offered by iThemes, BackupBuddy is the first WordPress backup plugin that was released in 2010. With backups of over half a million WordPress websites, BackupBuddy offers a complete package comprising of website backups, restores, and migration. Some of the tool features include:
The option of scheduled and real-time website backups
- Complete backup of all website files, including web pages, posts, user comments, dashboard widgets, images, plugins, themes, and more
- Active tracking of real-time website changes
- Takes a Snapshot of your entire website
- Safe and secure off-site backup storage
- Quick and easy backup restores
Pros of BackupBuddy:
- Backup of website and database files
- Allows creation and downloading of a backup zip file
- Website management of 10 WordPress websites available with a premium subscription
Cons of BackupBuddy:
- Most expensive among WordPress backup plugins
- Slower website speeds
One-year subscription plans priced at $52 (for one website) and $129 (for unlimited websites)
BlogVault, VaultPress, and BackupBuddy are premium tools that offer real-time backups for WooCommerce stores. But if you’d rather go for free tools, read on about UpdraftPlus & BackWPup who offer regular backups.
With more than 2 million website installations, UpdraftPlus is among the most trusted backup solutions across the globe. Along with a user-friendly interface, it directly uploads your backup data on cloud-based platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Amazon S3. Some of its backup features include:
- Supports more cloud-based storage platforms than other backup tools
- Supports both automated and real-time backups
- Faster and utilized lesser server resources
Pros of UpdraftPlus:
- Cloning and migration
- Allows you to select the WordPress files to be backed up
- Has a free and paid version
Cons of UpdraftPlus:
- Priority customer support available only for premium customers
Premium plans starting from $70
With over 8 million downloads, BackWPup is a popular WordPress backup plugin that can create a backup of your entire WordPress installation. Like UpdraftPlus, BackWPup stores your backup data on external platforms like Dropbox and Amazon S3. Some of its backup features include:
- Complete backup of WordPress files and database
- User-friendly dashboard for novice WordPress users
- Offers both free and paid versions
- Available with multisite support
Pros of BackWPup:
- Complete file and database backup and restore
- Easy administration of backup archives
- Encrypted backup archives
Cons of BackWPup:
- High price of the premium version
Premium plan starting from $69
More and more WooCommerce websites are being built every day but not many backup services offer a WooCommerce-specific backup solution. Although you have a limited number of solutions to choose from, they offer a pretty comprehensive feature list and you can rely on them to backup your store well.