Sorting out a backup plan for your WordPress site should be one of the first things you do once you’ve installed WordPress, if not before. However, most people leave it until they’ve had their first major problem before deciding to put regular backups in place.
While it might seem like a lengthy process, and something that will require constant attention, this could not be further from the truth. Many plugins and services are very much hands off solutions, after the often brief initial setup, and they can be as easy to implement as any other WordPress plugin.
If you haven’t got time to weigh up all the options, but are convinced of the importance of regularly backing up your WordPress site, jump to the end for the conclusion and recommendations.
About Backup Plugins and Services
There are a range of options available, from free plugins to offsite premium online services, which take care of everything for you. In most cases your budget, and whether you want to keep total control over your backups, and be responsible for them or not, will dictate which service you decide to use.
Both approaches have their ups and downs, but at the end of the day, it is hard to argue against going with a managed service and letting them take care of the backups of your site, budget permitting.
Part of the Automattic team, VaultPress is one of the most popular premium backup solutions for WordPress. With prices starting from just $5 per month or $55 a year, it’s easy to see why it has become such a popular option amongst WordPress site managers and regular bloggers alike.
The service backs up everything including the WordPress database, comments, posts, images and your site’s settings, making a restoration as painless as possible. A nice feature of this tool is that is adds a live status bar ticker to the admin dashboard of your site. This status bar displays messages of which files are being backed up and what the service is up to. This might seem like a bit of a gimmick but it can be reassuring to know that VaultPress is working away in the background, safely storing the contents of your site.
VaultPress is a popular backup solution and thanks to its low cost, should be affordable to almost all WordPress users.
This is a plugin for backing up WordPress sites that is available in a free or a pro version. The service will back up your entire site and push the backup files to an online cloud storage service such as Dropbox and S3, or send it via FTP to a server of your choice. Backups can also be sent to an email address. BackWPup also supports a range of file types including zip and tar which you can select when setting up the service.
The free version is still packed with features making this a great choice for someone who wants to manage their own backups, while still having the ability to store them in the cloud or elsewhere.
The simply named Backup is a free plugin that aims to take care of the backup of your WordPress site. It has a number of impressive features such as the ability to resume interrupted backups, ensuring your files are all copied even if something temporally halts the process.
Backups are stored in zip files when can then be downloaded by the user for local storage or sent to a folder on your Google Drive. Schedules can be created for automatic backup creation, and you can opt to receive email notifications if something goes wrong.
During setup you can specify exactly what to backup such as the database, specific files and directories, giving you lots of control over what the plugin is doing.
While backups can be pushed to Google Drive, there is no support for Dropbox or Amazon S3. However the plugin is easy to setup thanks in part to the interface that closely resembles the standard WordPress dashboard.
WP-DB Manager allows you to optimise and repair your WordPress database should something go wrong. This free plugin also allows you to backup and restore the database as well as drop tables and run selected SQL queries against your WordPress database.
It can also be used to schedule automatic creation of backups of the database, as well as running the optimisation tools on a scheduled basis.
The plugin has received 188 five star reviews, but also 66 one star reviews, making it hard to determine if it is a quality solution or not. The fact that it only services the database, rather than the whole WordPress site will probably put some users off.
This is a premium service but you can give it a risk-free try with the seven day trial. During the trial period they will refund your payment should you be dissatisfied with the service.
The cheapest package starts at $9 per month or $89 per year, making it more costly than VaultPress. This basic package allows you to backup just one site and gives you access to 30 days of history for your files. BlogVault also enables easy migration from one site to another using their backups. There is also a single file restore and backups can be saved to Dropbox.
This is a web based service, rather than one which is managed by the user. However, those who are concerned about putting their backups in the hands of a third party might be slightly appeased by the ability to store the backups on their local machines since they can be saved to Dropbox and elsewhere.
This service also allows you to do a test restore, to check that everything is working as stated. This is a nice feature to have as it can provide peace of mind knowing it is actually possible to restore the backups that are being created. There are a lot of other great features, including email support and incremental backups, which make this WordPress backup option worthy of a closer look
Backup Buddy from iThemes allows you to back up your entire WordPress site. This includes the content, all plugins and themes as well as the design and the database. You get a number of options for storage of the backups with the premium service, such as having the files transferred to cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Amazon S3. Alternatively they can be sent to an FTP server or direct to your inbox via email. It is also possible to download them to your computer for self-storage.
When it comes to restoring your backups, you can do so without even having to install WordPress. Your site can be totally restored from scratch making this a great choice for rebuilding your site on a totally blank canvas or moving it to another domain.
However, a full restore is not the only option as individual files can be rolled back to previous versions, which is great for those occasions when you accidently press the delete key and live to regret it.
The Backup Buddy service isn’t cheap. but it is certainly feature packed. Prices start from $80 for two licenses; however it is also available as a bundle with developer licenses for all of the other 20 iThemes plugins. This makes it a good deal for those who are interested in the other offerings from iThemes.
This looks like a great solution for those who want full backup solution with the ability to restore their entire site or roll back individual files.
Better WP Security
This is a free WordPress plugin that is primarily concerned with improving the security of your site. This makes it worthy of a closer look for that reason alone. However, it also does regular backups of your WordPress database and then automatically emails those backup files to your inbox.
If you want to protect your WordPress site from malicious attacks then this plugin should be on your list of potential candidates. However, if you need more from your backup service than just database recoveries then you might need to use a more rounded offering.
This backup and restore application is free, unless you require premium support, then you will have to subscribe to the Premium Support Area. If you decide not to opt in to the premium package, there are still free user support channels available such as the forums and the online documentation.
XCloner can be used to back up a number of services, but when it comes to working with WordPress the process can be simplified using a native plugin. XCloner has a good selection of useful features such as being able to carry out full or partial backups of your sites and its content. Backups can be restored on a different server allowing you to quickly clone a site on a new domain.
This is looks like a really comprehensive backup solution for WordPress and other sites, and considering it’s free, you should definitely consider it if you are looking for a more hands on option.
This is a full service backup solution which can be used for WordPress. It’s not free but prices start at $20 a year for 10GB of space. There is also a 30 day free trial so you can road test this service.
Backups can be scheduled or created on demand and it is possible to backup multiple sites on one account. This makes Dropmysite a great choice for those with more than one site that needs looking after. Web designers managing client sites should appreciate this feature.
You can also get email and SMS notification should your websites become unavailable allowing you to quickly get on the case.
Conclusion & Recommendations
While you can take care of your backups yourself with a free plugin, such as Backup, if you want a hands-off service that you (hopefully) don’t have to worry about, then a premium service such as VaultPress might be a better option. With prices starting from just $5 a month, it’s hard not to justify the cost for anyone running a site that they either devote a lot of time to, or use as part of the promotion of their business or services.
If you don’t want to invest time in trying out the free services and want someone else to take care of your backups, it’s hard to argue against a reliable premium service. Even if you work with multiple sites, a service such as Dropmysite allows you to work with many sites using just one account.
However, at the end of the day, whatever option you choose, just make sure you do choose something and start making backups of your site today.