Backing up your WordPress site is something you should take very seriously. If your site gets hacked or you somehow get locked out, you will have no other option but to rely on your backups to get your site back up and running the way it was.
These backups can be managed and stored in various ways. You can do them manually or use an automatic service that does it for you. In turn these backups can be stored on your computer or on some other storage service such as Dropbox.
The following are some of the various ways you can backup your site; some more extensive, and expensive, than others.
By using your host’s control panel you can export your site’s database and files and back them up wherever you deem necessary. This isn’t the ideal solution to keeping your site backed up however. For starters you have to manually backup your site yourself, and secondly, you never know when something might happen. So not doing backups for a week at a time can lose you vital changes.
ManageWP is a a WordPress management console that can do many things for your WordPress site, one of which is handling your backups. They value your WordPress data as much as you do, which is why they offer premium-quality backup services. You have the option of assigning monthly, weekly and daily backup tasks as you deem necessary.
If you’re using a managed hosting service such as the one offered by WP Engine then you have nothing to worry about. These services offer backups as part of their package, backing up your site’s database and files constantly just in case something catastrophic happens.
Using a WordPress plugin
The final method is to use a WordPress plugin, and even if you use any of the other methods above successfully I still suggest adding a plugin to your backup options, just in case. Below is a list of some the best and most reliable backup plugins and services you can find.
VaultPress was founded by Matt Mullenweg (the co-founder of WordPress) at Automattic. It is subscription-based, meaning there are various pricing plans available, all with different services and costs. This is perhaps one of the only negative points on VaultPress; it is a recurring expense and can add up quite a bit if you’re running it on various sites.
Nevertheless their service is impeccable and the plugin’s functionality is great. It’s a very intuitive service, so much so that you can set up your backups or restore them in just a few clicks. You have the option between daily and real-time backups as well as daily security scans to ensure that any threats are taken care ofimmediately.
By installing this plugin from the WordPress plugin directory you are connecting your site to the VaultPress servers that work using WordPress hooks that are optimized for WordPress-powered websites. Through it’s dashboard you’re also able to browse your previous backups as well as a Stats tab that shows you all the data you might need.
Their pricing plans are as follows:
BackupBuddy is a backup and site-moving service offered by ithemes and is the most popular WordPress backup plugin out there. With BackupBuddy you’ll be able to backup your site, restore it whenever you need to, and even move it from one host to another.
When backing up your site you’re given a number of options as to where you want to safely store it, ranging from BackupBuddy Stash to Dropbox. You can even send it to your own email address. The ease with which this is set up is phenomenal. To better understand this, watch their video on how to setup BackupBuddy.
Restoring your site is just as easy. Once you upload the ImportBuddy file and the backup zip file you are walked through the process to restoring either your full site, or the bits and pieces you want back. You’re free to restore, or not restore, anything you want, from themes to widgets and everything else.
BackupBuddy also gives you a Migrate function. This works great for any developers out there who like to work locally then transfer their site to a live domain. Everything is handled through the plugin, making the process as easy and stress-free as possible.
Finally, you also get a few other minor features such as email notifications, server tools, malware and database scans and much more. Their pricing plans can be seen below.
blogVault is another great and simple backup and restore service. One of the unique features you find in blogVault is the ability to test restore. What this does is it will run a test restore of your site to be sure everything is working correctly before restoring to your domain.
This is just one of the easy to use features offered by blogVault. You can transfer your blog form one domain to another in a few minutes, and even use their single file restore to restore your whole site at one go. Whatever features you need, they’re all fully automated, giving you peace of mind that if something does go wrong, blogVault is there to get you back on your feet.
blogVault keeps a 30 day history of your backups, giving you the chance to restore your site to any stage you’d like in the past month should something go terribly wrong. These backups can also be stored on Dropbox or downloaded straight to your computer.
The only con is that you have to keep paying for this service just like VaultPress, and it could cost you quite a lot to maintain. The details of their packages can be seen here.
Backup Creator is another good option to keep your site stored safely in case of an emergency. Once again it’s an easy to use plugin that anyone can install and setup in just a few minutes. Storage options include storing on your own computer, sending a copy via email, storing via FTP or even on Amazon S3.
Once you’ve selected a backup schedule for Backup Creator to follow your work is done; it will take care of all your backups for you. Speaking of which, Backup Creator not only backs up your files, but your whole WordPress database, ensuring nothing is lost if something goes wrong.
Restoring your site as well as making a clone of it are both easy step by step procedures. From some reviews however it does seem to have a few issues with backing up very large websites; something that BackupBuddy is also said to suffer from every now and again.
Whatever the case, Backup Creator still does a great job at putting your mind at rest that your site is safe to use another day if catastrophe strikes.
Below are the pricing plans on offer from Backup Creator.
BackWPup (& BackWPup Pro)
BackWPup is one of the best free backup plugins available and currently has over 4.8 million downloads. It let’s you create a complete backup of your WordPress site for free and store it anywhere from Dropbox to Amazon S3 to your own computer; whatever you prefer.
It’s a very easy to use plugin that has a number of great features ranging from scheduled automatic backups to checking and repairing your database. With the use of a single .zip file you’re able to restore your site to its original installed state.
For more features you can always upgrade to the BackWPup PRO version. Here you have an extended list of features including backing up to Google Drive and Amazon Glacier, a wizard for system tests, another for scheduled backup jobs, premium support and many more.
Whichever version you choose you know you’re relying on one of the most trusted backup plugins there is. If you do opt for the PRO version you can find the prices below.
Updraft Plus (& Premium)
Updraft Plus is another free backup plugin for WordPress that let’s you create complete backups either manually or using a schedule. You’re free to backup to multiple services such as Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace and even through email among others.
Once again it’s another highly trusted plugin with over 1.3 million downloads and plenty of praise, besides also ranking in rankwp‘s top 50 WP plugins. It’s an easy to use plugin with some great features including quick restore, a site migrator, separate backup schedules for files and databases, and much more.
One of the only downfalls of this plugin is perhaps it’s cluttered user interface. I’ve found quite a few reviews mentioning this and it could in fact be a bit confusing for the beginners out there at first since they won’t be sure what to look for.
However, for even more features there’s the option of upgrading to the Premium version. With this version you even have the option of encrypting your database backups for extra security. For more features you can visit their site.
Below is the pricing table for the Premium version.
It can manage multiple schedules and even email you every backup file created. You also have the option to exclude certain files and folders from your backups or create separate backup schedules for each one.
For extra features such as backing up to FTP, Google Drive, Dropbox or many other storage services you must purchase a premium account. With a Developer Bundle you will get all backup destinations as well as unlimited sites and one year of updates for $99.
Snapshot is like a time machine for your WordPress site from the developers at WPMU DEV. It’s a relatively inexpensive solution to a quick and easy backup service for all your content. There is no need to fiddle around with the server and you’ll be able to back up everything; posts, pages, comments, taxonomies, and much more for every plugin and theme.
With Snapshot you can create as many time machine ‘snapshots’ of your entire database (or individual tables) as you want. You also get a comprehensive list of activity logs, the ability to schedule backups, the choice of saving backups to Dropbox, Amazon S3 or SFTP, and a lot more.
Besides all that, WPMU DEV are always adding new features based on the most requested ones from customer feedback. They also guarantee compatibility with the latest version of WordPress and multisite, no license restrictions, no subscriptions or ongoing memberships, and more.
WPMU DEV offer two ways of purchasing Snapshot. You can either purchase the plugin alone for $40 per year, or else use one of their payment options for all their plugins and themes as seen below.
Which WordPress backup plugin you choose depends entirely on what you’re looking for and how far your budget can stretch. The free plugins mentioned above all do a fine job at keeping your backups safe and ready to be restored, however they don’t offer the same features and services as the major players in the game, namely BackupBuddy and Vault Press.
The difference in services offered between free and premium plugins is clear to see, and if you do opt for a premium plugin then I suggest taking into consideration what type of website you will be running and what you’d want to get out of your backup service.
Using a good backup service can save you from heartache if your site fails for some reason or another. You might install a plugin that corrupts your whole site, you might be infected by some malware that destroys all your work, or you might simply hit the wrong button on some page and permanently modify the look and feel of your site.
Whatever the case, having a backup will solve all your problems and bring you back to normality in no time. Setting up and managing your backups should become a regular habit for any site you run. You never know when disaster can strike and you need to be ready for any eventuality.
If you’ve used any other backup plugins or services, whether really good or horribly bad, do share in the comments below. Your reviews might some day, some where, save someone’s hard work.
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to subscribe to WP Mayor’s RSS feed.