If you have real-time backup setup on your site, then let me first begin by congratulating you. Clearly, you understand how important it is to backup your data. With a new vulnerability exploited almost every day, performing regular backup of your WordPress site is more crucial than ever.
So why won’t the standard daily, automatic backup suffice? Regular backups are scheduled once every 24 hours. So if your site goes down in the middle of the day, there is still a risk of losing data. It is especially true in the case of those high activity sites that undergo multiple updates in a day. That is where real-time backups come into picture.
Real-time backup is the best way to backup your WordPress site. Every change is backed up instantly, without having to wait for a scheduled backup to kick in. Even if your site goes down, you can be sure that no data is lost. However, this is not the end of the story.
Despite having real-time backups, there may be parts of your site which are still left exposed. Most people are unaware that their real-time backup solution isn’t actually backing up everything. But worry not, because that’s what this article is all about, to uncover the cases where real-time backup may not work.
How does Real-time Backup work?
Before we delve deeper into the exceptions where real-time backups fail, let us understand how they work. Whenever you make a change to your site, like adding a new post, WordPress stores this data in its database. WordPress uses fixed APIs to modify the standard tables that make up the database.
Whenever such a table (e.g. wp_posts) gets updated, it triggers an event. Any added functionality that needs to be done post the update must be hooked to this event. That is precisely what backup plugins do. Backup plugins that support real-time backup hook onto the update events and start a backup as soon as they are triggered.
Does Real-time Backup cover everything?
Why are certain parts of your WordPress site not covered by real-time backup? Some WordPress plugins create custom tables in the database to store additional data. WooCommerce is one such popular plugin that is used to build eCommerce sites. It creates tables like wp_woocommerce_order_items, wp_woocommerce_tax_rates, and woocommerce_downloadable_product_permissions to store information related to orders, tax rates, and user permissions respectively.
Easy Digital Downloads is another plugin that helps you sell digital downloads through your WordPress site. It also creates a custom table, wp_edd_customers, to store customer related information. Any updates to these custom tables don’t involve the use of standard APIs. The events that the backup plugins rely on to be notified about changes to your site aren’t triggered. Hence these updates to custom tables aren’t included as part of real-time backups.
WordPress is an open platform for which innumerous plugins are developed by people across the world. All these developers may not have followed the recommended guidelines while coding. Owing to this, some plugins will not use standard APIs while updating the database, even if it is a standard WordPress table.
This in turn will result in the expected events not being triggered. So updates by such plugins will not be backed up by real-time backups. While it isn’t easy to spot such deviations, it is always a good practice to test your backups frequently to ensure that everything is in order. That way you can contact the developers if you find anything amiss.
The Way Forward
As we can see, the buck doesn’t stop with real-time backups. We need special handling for some plugins to ensure that the complete site is backed up. In the absence of this kind of support, you need to rely on regular backups and that means a possibility of losing data.
This is why it is vital that every site owner has a complete understanding of his backup needs before zeroing in on a particular solution. It is equally important to know the capabilities and limitations of your backup solution to avoid unpleasant surprises later on.
blogVault is a complete backup service that includes real-time backups. It offers special support for WooCommerce sites so that no order is ever lost – 100% real-time backup.
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