Why using a WordPress backup solution is a good thing
Can a reliable WordPress backup plugin save you massive amounts of time? Well, if you’ve been online for a while (and I don’t mean just Facebook), I’m pretty sure you’ve encountered a problem or two with your website(s). Whether these are your own or belong to your clients does not really matter. Disasters happen, being it for technical problems or cyber attacks. And WordPress, no matter how robust it might be, is a great candidate for a potentially disastrous event, simply because it’s so open. And, it powers over a third of world’s websites, so there are lots of people with interests to break a website once in a while. Having a WordPress backup plugin installed is just a must.
Leaving the vicious-man-factor out of the equation, there are still many things that can go wrong with a WordPress website. For one, think of all the plugins you install to get the wanted functionality on the site. Are you absolutely sure they’re all 100% safe and don’t include bugs? If you find a new plugin that fits your needs perfectly, you’ll try it. And in doing so you might easily break your website.
Of course, technical problems you have no control over are also possible, like server crashes (at your ISP) or simply your internet going down while updating something in the admin dashboard, resulting in a broken database.
No matter what happens, you’ll likely lose access to your site, and lots of hours of work. And believe me, it’s not a matter of IF, it’s just a matter of WHEN something like this will happen to you.
Having a good WordPress backup plugin installed can save you in such events, giving you the possibility to be back online within a very short time.
Other cases you might want to have a WordPress backup ready
Every good WordPress backup plugin will enable you to migrate your websites around, like maybe when you want to switch your hosting or something similar. The procedure can always be done by hand, of course, but it can take lots of time on a decently big website. You can do it all via your cPanel dashboard. The basic steps needed are:
- zip and download all the files (do you even have enought room in your hosting to create a zip file so big…?)
- export your database
- upload your files to your new hosting and extract the files
- import your database via PhpMyAdmin
- change all the paths in your database to reflect the new domain if needed
- update WordPress configuration file
- hope you’ve done it all correctly…
All this can be avoided by using a WordPress backup plugin that includes the transfer options, saving you time and headache. Actually, I personally believe this can be reason enough to invest a little something.
Why not simply use the ISP backup solution?
Many (if not all) service providers have their backup solution included in their hosting packages. While this is very much appreciated, serious users should never rely solely on them. There are certain reasons that support this claim, one of them being lack of control. Usually you can define that you want the backups done, but very rarely does the ISP let you define any parameters for your backups, mayb not even the timing and the interval (daily, weekly, …). So you’re entirely dependant on the standard scenario, and this just might not fit your needs completely.
Just to make it clear, by “serious users” I mean people that do WordPress for business or serious hobby, maybe even for a living. If you plan to create a blog about your cat and post a photo here and there, you’re probably covered by the standard backup solution that your ISP offers. But if you’re maintaing a number of WordPress sites, maybe even hundreds, and you’re depending on the income they bring…. well, that’s another story.
There are many WordPress backup plugins around, and surely they’re not all the same. Over the years, some have proved to be better than others for some reason. And while additional features (like the mentioned transfer of the sites, etc) are much appreciated, the basic function of backing up your precious data remains in the center of interest. And this is how it should be.
In this post, I’ll take a quick look at some of the plugins that are available today. Most of them are fairly easy to use, some are free, some are not, and some have both a free and a premium version available. And I’ll start with the one I like the most (surprise, huh?). These are just some I managed to test in the previous years, so don’t be dissapointed if you cannot find the one you heard about.
Let me repeat it: if you are not already backing up your WordPress website(s), then you should really pick one of these 7 best WordPress backup plugins and start using it right away, today latest. Because by not doing so you’re literally playing with your time and money.
UpdraftPlus is by far the most popular free WordPress backup plugin available on the internet today. It is presently used by more than 2 million websites.
UpdraftPlus allows you to create a complete backup of your WordPress site and store it in the cloud or simply download it to your computer.
The plugin supports scheduled backups as well as on-demand backups by clicking the button. It also gives you the option to choose which files you want to backup.
The UpdraftPlus plugin can automatically upload your backups to a cloud storage like Dropbox, Google Drive, S3, Rackspace, FTP, SFTP, email, and several other cloud storage services. Besides backing up each WordPress website, UpdraftPlus also allows you to easily restore backups directly from your WordPress admin panel should you want to do so.
UpdraftPlus plugin has a premium version also with popular add-ons to migrate or clone websites, database search and replace, multisite support, and several other features. The premium version also gets you access to priority support from the vendor.
While the free version is fully-packed with all the essential features, you can easily enhance the core functionalities with the premium version.
UpdraftPlus plugin can be freely downloaded from the vendor’s website. It is available in a free version, as well as in Premium version that adds some core functionalities you might need. You’ll have to decide on them. The Premium version is priced at $70 (€55) and allows you to be used on up to 2 websites. This price is recurring, which means you’ll be charged every year. Should you stop paying, the plugin will continue to function, but you will lose the ability to update it. Because this might lead to problems when upgrading WordPress or other plugins (incompatibilities, security problems), it’s not really what you want.
Should you decide to buy the UpdraftPlus Premium, be sure to use their Subscription method, as it will decrease your costs. It’s all very nicely presented on the UpdraftPlus website.
UpdraftPlus is the most loved WordPress backup plugin in the market. It has over 2 million active installs and 4.9 out of 5 star rating average. It’s probably not needed to mention we’re using it also on our websites (currently 43 and counting).
While the free version has a lot of features, we definitely recommend upgrading to UpdraftPlus Premium to unlock all the powerful backup features included in the package.
2. VaultPress (Jetpack Backup)
VaultPress is a powerful backup and security plugin for WordPress by Automattic, the team behind WordPress.com.
With VaultPress, you can keep an up-to-date backup of your site with daily or real-time syncing. It also conducts security scans on a regular basis, so you can easily identify potential threats and fix them. If malware or viruses are detected you can banish them with just a single click.
VaultPress started as an independent plugin, but it is now a part of Automattic’s product called JetPack. You will need a JetPack subscription plan to use VaultPress. There are multiple pricing plans with different set of features and you can easily select the best for your needs.
VaultPress offers automated real-time cloud backup solution starting at just $3.50 per month. You can very easily setup VaultPress backups and restore from backups with just a few clicks.
The higher plans of Jetpack also offer various security scans and several other powerful features.
What’s not so good about VaultPress
Well, it is a recurring expense starting at $3.50 per month. It’s not much, considering that you get a solid backup solution. But it can add up quickly if you have multiple WordPress sites, because you pay this per site.
In order to use VaultPress in the first place, you will have to subscribe to JetPack. Then, get a WordPress.com account, and install the Jetpack plugin on your site. While JetPack is a powerful solution that covers many needs, it might just be an overkill for many.
Lastly, backups are only stored for 30-days on the lower plans. Should you want an unlimited backup archive, you’d need a more expensive plan. There, you would have to pay the $29 per month per website. This is already is significantly more expensive for beginners when compared to other solutions listed here.
If you were lucky enough to get in when it was first published, you were probably grandfathered in at their old pricing which was a lot more favorable.
Even at the higher price tags, VaultPress is actually completely worth it due to the stellar reputation of Automattic.
VaultPress prcing starts from $39 per year for JetPack Personal plan.
VaultPress, being part of the popular JetPack plugin from Automattic (the team behind WordPress.com), gives you good value for your money. If you’re already using JetPack for other features like JetPack CDN for photos, social media promotion, etc, then it’s an easy pick for you.
BackupBuddy has been around since early 2010, protecting over a half a million WordPress websites. It allows you to easily schedule daily, weekly, and monthly backups.
With just a few clicks, it enables you to backup your entire website from right inside your WordPress dashboard. You can schedule automatic backups, send your backup files to a remote secure location, and restore your files quickly.
BackupBuddy can automatically store your backups in cloud storage services like Dropbox, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, Stash (their own cloud service), and even email it to yourself if you want.
If you use their own Stash service, you also have the ability to do real-time backups.
The biggest advantage of using BackupBuddy is that it is not a subscription-based service, so there is no monthly fee. You can use the plugin on the number of websites mentioned in your plan.
With BackupBuddy, you also get direct access to premium support forums, regular updates, and 1GB of BackupBuddy Stash storage to store your backups. Additionally, their iThemes Sync feature lets you manage up to 10 WordPress sites from a single dashboard.
You can use BackupBuddy to duplicate, migrate and restore websites.
$80 for Blogger Plan (1 Site License).
BackupBuddy is a relatively cost-effective premium WordPress backup solution for anyone. It supports a full set of features you’ll ever need to backup, restore and even move a WordPress site. In a nutshell, it’s a powerful UpdraftPlus and VaultPress alternative that you can use.
4. WP Time Capsule
WP Time Capsule is a perfect solution for you if you just want to back up your recent files, and not your entire WordPress site. With WP Time Capsule, you can back up your website to your favorite cloud storage sites like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Amazon S3.
WP Time Capsule does not compress your files (zip), which takes a bit more resources to transfer them, but considerably fewer server resources. Which is of course good for your server and website.
In order to use WP Time Capsule on your site, you’ll have to register for an account on WP Time Capsule, install the free plugin and then connect the cloud app with your plugin. This way, you can send your WordPress backup files to your preferred location. After completing a full backup, you can schedule a time for backing up your recently-changed files.
WP Time Capsule Pricing
The WP Time Capsule plugin is free to install and use, but charges may apply for additional services.
WP Time Capsule Review
If you only need to backup your recent files instead of a whole website, WP Time Capsule is a great solution. As a free plugin it’s not really a competition to premium plugins like UpdraftPlus or VaultPress, but can still save your day in the event of a crash.
5. BoldGrid Total Upkeep
BoldGrid Total Upkeep is an automated WordPress backup solution produced by BoldGrid, a website builder powered by WordPress.
BoldGrid Total Upkeep backup plugin allows you to easily create your entire website backups, restore your site after a crash, and you can use it to move your site when switching hosts, for example. You can easily set up either automated backups or manually create backups with a single click backup.
The plugin comes with an automated fault protection feature. What this does is it automatically creates a backup of your site before it updates. If an update fails, it automatically rolls back your WordPress site to the last backup. It’s a great feature which protects you against update errors and could easily save hours of work per month.
With BoldGrid Backup, you can store up to 10 backup archives on your dashboard and more in a remote storage locations like Amazon S3, FTP or SFTP.
BoldGrid Total Upkeep Pricing
Free (limited) or from $30 per year.
BoldGrid Total Upkeep is a simple, yet powerful WordPress backup plugin that you can use to create your website backups either manually or on schedule. The advantage of using this plugin is the bundle of other powerful tools you’ll get when you purchase the BoldGrid Total Upkeep plugin.
BackWPUp is yet another backup plugin that backs up your complete WordPress installation and saves it to a remote location of your preference, such as Dropbox or Amazon S3.
BackWPUp allows you to create complete WordPress backups for free and store it on the cloud (Dropbox, Amazon S3, Rackspace, etc), FTP, email, or on your computer.
This plugin is extremely easy to use and allows you to easily schedule automatic backups according to your site’s update frequency.
Restoring a WordPress site from a backup is also very simple. The BackWPUp Pro version comes with priority support, ability to store backups on Google Drive and Amazon Glacier, and some other cool features.
Free (Premium plan is also available).
Presently being used by over 600,000 websites, BackWPUp is a great alternative to other backup plugins in this list. The premium version of the plugin adds even more powerful features, including easy and quick website restoration from the backend with a standalone app.
As the name suggests, Duplicator is a popular WordPress plugin that’s being used to migrate WordPress sites to wherever you want. However it also includes powerful backup features. Duplicator makes it easy to back up all your WordPress files in zip format, so you can download them offline, migrating across the same or different servers.
It does not allow you to create automated scheduled backups which makes it less than ideal primary WordPress backup solution for a regularly maintained site.
One of the unique advantages of using Duplicator is its ability to clone your pre-configured sites. So rather than manually configuring your favorite themes or plugins, Duplicator lets you configure a single site and bundle it up. This way you can migrate your pre-configured WordPress sites to different locations, eliminating the need for reworking every time.
Duplicator lets you create manual backups of your WordPress site easily. If your web host creates regular backups, you can use this plugin to easily create backups to use on staging environment. It’s also a great site migration plugin with a site cloning functionality.
Each WordPress backup plugin listed here, as well as many other we did not include, has their pros and cons, but all of them offer complete WordPress file backup as well as full database backup features.
If you are running a small to medium size website (or more of them, like we do) and hate paying monthly fees, then we recommend the hugely popular UpdraftPlus plugin. It comes with all the powerful features like backup encryption, encrypted backup transport, incremental backups and many cloud storage options.
Why I like to mention incremental backups: this means is that instead of backing up all of your files every day or every hour, the backup plugin only creates a backup of what has been updated literally within minutes of the update. This is ideal for larger websites or website with high traffic, because it allows you to use your server resources efficiently.
Both UpdraftPlus and VaultPress WordPress backup plugins allow you to do that, along with many other features. The only difference here, which I personally don’t like, is that VaultPress is a part of a larger plugin. Because of that, if you don’t need JetPack features, you’ll end up installing a relativelly bigger plugin than actually needed.
Which backup plugin is the best for you?
As with anything digital, it really comes up to what your needs are. Like already said, UpdraftPlus and VaultPress have it all (literally…), but cost money. If you run a smaller website and don’t really need all those fancy features, one of the free plugins could just as easily make you safer.
Whichever WordPress backup plugin you end up choosing, don’t ever store your backups on the same server as your website.
By doing that, you are putting all of your eggs in one basket. If your server’s hardware fails or, even worst, you get hacked, then you won’t have a backup, which defeats the purpose of setting up regular backups.
This is why I always highly recommend storing your backups on a third-party storage service like Dropbox, Amazon S3, Google Drive, Amazon or anything else you have access to.
That’s all for today. I hope that this list helped you pick the best WordPress backup plugin for your site(s). Good luck, may you never get hacked.
We are in affiliate business with many of the vendors who's products we mention here and write reviews about, which means we could get a certain commission from them should you buy their product via our links. We are however not connected to them in any other way, nor we receive any special commissions for making good reviews. We try to hold our opinion fair and honest, giving you both the ups and downs where we see them. Everything written here is our own opinion and assessment of the possibilities that software provides.