Creating a website is a fun experience when things are going right. However, the the experience can quickly turn sour if a problem arises with your WordPress website. For example, you may fall victim to a malicious hacker, or succumb to corrupt data when installing a new theme or plugin. Encountering problems with your site can be frustrating, even more so when you have no idea on how to restore it.
In short, backups are the answer. They’re one of the best – and most reliable – defenses against any form of threat towards your site. With a regular backup schedule in place, all you have to do is restore your content and you’re up and running again.
In this article, we’ll first look at why backups are vital, then discuss how to create a backup schedule. We’ll then introduce four plugins to help you carry out regular backups, and touch on how you can use them to backup your site. Let’s get started!
Put simply, a backup is a copy of your website that’s uploaded elsewhere (such as on your server, or to a file hosting service like Dropbox). They’re vital for making sure you have a way to restore your site when things go wrong. For example, imagine an error affecting your e-commerce site. If you have no backup – and no way of recovering your lost data – it’s going to massively affect your entire business. While the outlook could be grim, having a backup strategy in place – even a simple one – will save your bacon.
On the whole, backing up your website can help you safeguard against a number of threats, including:
On the whole, backups are crucially important – but just as key is your overall schedule. Let’s take a look at how to go about it.
A backup schedule is simply the frequency at which you perform backups. This could be a weekly or monthly backup, although the frequency can vary based on your own unique requirements. However, regardless, we recommend carrying out regular backups.
Creating a backup schedule is a relatively straightforward process. While you could carry out a few simple calculations (including factoring in your traffic levels), the reality is that if you’re backing up regularly and often using your chosen solution’s built-in features, you should be good to go.
Having said that, you do not want to be storing copies of every single backup you make in the one place. Instead, you should follow the 3-2-1 rule – this is where you have least three copies of your data, two of which are stored on different type of media. One copy of your backup is then kept offsite in case of storage issues. Again, plugins can help you with this, and many offer a way to store backups externally.
While many people rely on their web hosts for backups, this solution isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, there are many backup plugins available that are not only competent, but easy to use too. Let’s take a look at four of the best available.
Our first choice, BackupBuddy, is one of the most popular WordPress backup plugins available. This premium offering enables you to schedule backups daily, weekly, or monthly, and comes packed with a multitude of features to help you backup your WordPress website. They include the BackupBuddy Stash cloud storage option (which includes 1GB of free storage), and integration with Amazon S3, Dropbox, and Rackspace Cloud Files. You can also use File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and even email the backup to yourself.
The biggest advantage of using BackupBuddy is its ease of use, and backing up your website will be a breeze for beginners and experts alike. You can even use BackupBuddy to duplicate, migrate and restore websites, saving you countless hours moving websites.
UpdraftPlus is another popular plugin with a very high rating on the WordPress.org Plugin directory, supporting both scheduled and on-demand backups. With this option, you’ll be able to make complete backups of your WordPress site quickly, and store them either on the cloud or download them straight to your computer.
Much like BackupBuddy, there are a plethora of storage choices and features at your disposal. The free version will be suitable for the majority of users, although the premium version offers a whole host of additional features, including access to priority support. Carrying out backups is once again simple, and there are plenty of tutorials on hand to help you through the process.
Our penultimate choice – WPBackItUp – is a solid contender for backing up your site, with a unique pricing structure. Backing up your site and restoring it manually is completely free. However, if you want to take advantage of one-click restore options (along with a number of other features), you’ll need to pay $79 for the premium version.
On the whole, WPBackItUp is a solid alternative to other solutions for backing up your WordPress website. Their support and documentation is excellent, which means you’ll arguably not need anything more than the free version to protect your site.
Our final option is Automattic’s own VaultPress. While it’s a separate product in it’s own right, it now comes as part of a Jetpack subscription. However, given that it’s developed by the creators of WordPress, you’ll be getting a product that’s arguably better integrated than the other choices on this list. You’ll also get a plethora of features – such as security scanning and monitoring – that other plugins don’t offer.
Much like the other choices in this list, using VaultPress is a cinch, and stands out as a quality all-in-one security and backup solution directly from the creators of WordPress.
Backups are vital. They help you to get back online quickly and easily after an issue, and more importantly, help minimize the downtime experienced by your visitors. Ultimately, it’s your income that will bear the brunt of any downtime, so it pays to have a solid solution in place to get backup and running.
In this piece, we looked at four backup plugins you should consider. Let’s recap them:
Do you have any questions about backing up your WordPress website? Ask us in the comments section below!