There are two camps when it comes to backing up WordPress websites. The ones that do it and the ones that wish they did it.
Let’s go more in-depth. Ever wonder why WordPress is constantly pushing out new updates (currently 3.9.2)? Sure there are a fair number of bug fixes and enhancements, but there are always new security improvements specifically tailored to counter the steady stream of hacks and malicious intent exploits that come with operating a WordPress site.
I’m no stranger to WordPress or backing up websites. It’s something I do for myself as well as my clients. Nobody wants to wake up to the WordPress white screen of death. If you’re forgetful or negligent in remembering to make backups there are numerous plugins that can automate the process for you.
You can set intervals to backup your site every 4 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, daily, weekly or monthly. Depending on your site and the amount of content that changes in a typical week you can best determine the schedule. Basically — how much content are you okay with losing and possibly never getting back?
Backing up sites is boring and one of the few things I do that feels like a chore. That being said, backing up your WordPress site is both critical and mandatory if you want to protect yourself in the event of a database error, brute force attack or malfunctioning plugin. All three are capable of occurring without warning. Each of those three reasons are enough to warrant a backup solution.
My Backup Utility Plugin
I use UpdraftPlus as my backup utility of choice. It’s reliable, easy to use and free. That’s 3-for-3 in my book. There’s one feature in particular that I absolutely love: the ability to backup to the cloud storage option of your choice.
The big three are Dropbox, Amazon S3 and Google Drive, but there are also other alternatives UpdraftPlus uses such as Rackspace Cloud, Bitcasa, OpenStack, FTP, SFTP, or WebDAV account. You can also set UpdraftPlus to email you backups if that’s your preference.
For my purposes I’ve got UpdraftPlus configured to backup to a folder on my Dropbox account. It then makes a folder called Apps in Dropbox and then places an UpdraftPlus folder within that. That’s where my backups are contained and stored.
You can choose to backup databases, themes, uploads and/or plugins with the utility. You can keep the backups locally, but I prefer the cloud storage just to keep everything protected, yet also accessible in a pinch.
Learning the Hard Way
Why is this so important? Let me explain what recently took place in my business…
In my typical workflow, I handle everything myself. On one of my recent projects, however, I was inheriting a site from a retiree who was turning the reigns of a site over to me. His version of the site was based on Dreamweaver and .html. I had installed WordPress in its own folder and recreated the site with a modern template and improved functionality.
I had yet to make a backup, foolishly assuming that the other admin would only make updates to his files and therefore leave my folder untouched. As you can probably guess, things went wrong. Quickly. A week after my last login and my link to the WordPress admin page didn’t come up. I feared the worst and quickly logged in to Filezilla to confirm my suspicions. Sure enough…POOF! Gone in a heartbeat.
Fortunately our hosting provider worked to restore the last backup of the site that contained my WordPress folder and all my hard work was able to be retrieved. I got very, very lucky!
Categorize this under: LESSON LEARNED
Popular WordPress Backup Utilities
There are tons of backup utilities to choose from if you use WordPress. A few of the more popular options include:
- Backup Buddy (paid)
- BlogVault (paid)
- VaultPress (paid)
- WP Time Machine
- Press Backup (paid)
- SME Storage
Backup your WordPress site today. If you’re intimidated with plugins then pass the task to your web developer or a local WordPress guru. If setting automated backups of your site costs a one-time fee of $25-40 isn’t that worth the piece of mind that comes with knowing your site won’t be lost for good if something major breaks down?
What do you use for your backup utility? I’m always up for trying new plugins, but I would be hesitant to switch from UpdraftPlus based on how well it does the job.