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Safety is not something best left to chance – whether it’s your own or that of your data. Just like airbags and seatbelts in cars, backups are nothing more than a precaution in the best-case scenario. Only when disaster strikes do they kick into action. So if you’re operating a complex WordPress project and you’ve put a lot of hours into it, you’ll already be aware of just how damaging a loss of data could be. Read on to learn about the best WordPress backups for your project.
Backup plugins: recommended for WordPress
WordPress offers little in the way of built-in solutions for data protection. The internal exporter only saves part of the database and neglects important files such as themes, plugins, or the WordPress framework. For this reason, most hosting providers offer a backup service, but these often encounter problems for users running multiple sites under one account (like the files and database of all projects being restored, rather than just the project affected). In addition, these backup services don’t give you control over the recovered data.
Instead, by creating your own WordPress backup, you can be prepared for any emergency - without having to rely on your web host. For manual backups, you’ll need FTP access as well as a database management system like phpMyAdmin. Unfortunately, this process requires prior knowledge, and the costs are very high for sites with dynamic content. As a result, WordPress plugins have been developed to create automatic backups and offer other features.
The best WordPress plugins for data protection
There’s a huge range of WordPress extensions to choose from that are responsible for securing data. The different plugins vary in complexity, user-friendliness, and backup options.
The plugin VaultPress links your WordPress installation with the same name cloud data backup service of the web development company Automattic. VaultPress presents all automatically-generated backups in a clear web dashboard, making it easy to glance over. Recovery can be carried out with a simple click of a button, and you can choose which content should be taken into account (database, themes, plugins, uploads). Additional features include statistics about your website, downloadable backups, optional safety scans, and a spam filter. To use this service, you’ll need an individual paid license key per project. Two packages are available:
Access to all backups made in the last 30 days
Access to all backups
In short: VaultPress is a useful WordPress plugin that makes backing up seem like child’s play. But purchased licenses only serve for one website, meaning that the costs rack up significantly for operators of multi-site projects.
The free WordPress plugin BackWPup adds another menu item to your WordPress back end, in which you can define and view custom backup jobs. It’s also possible to set up scheduled backups for web project files and databases, on completion of which, users receive a log report via e-mail. Backups can be compressed upon request, and in addition to storing backups in a defined directory on the server, BackWPup also supports the following locations:
- FTP server (FTP required)
- Dropbox (cURL required)
- S3 services like Amazon (min. PHP 5.3.3 and cURL required)
- Microsoft Azure (min. PHP 5.3.2 and cURL required)
- RackSpaceCloud (min. PHP 5.3.2 and cURL required)
- SugarSync (cURL required)
Alongside the free lite version, it’s possible to pay for a BackWPup Pro license. In addition to automatic updates and access to the premium support system, BackWPup Pro users have the option to store backups on Google Drive or Amazon Glacier, and enjoy incremental backups (changed content only).
In short: BackWPup is simple to install and easy to use, with a range of export options for backups. The lite version is free of charge, though a pro license can be purchased for extra features. Unfortunately, neither version offers a feature for restoring the backed-up data – for this, you need additional software or another plugin.
UpdraftPlus is the best-known WordPress plugin for backups available on wordpress.org. The user satisfaction here is no coincidence: UpdraftPlus extends your WordPress installation with a first-class backup and restoration function. Backups can be made either manually or automatically, every four, eight, or 12 hours, daily, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly. There’s also an automatic back up process that takes place when you run updates for plugins, dashboard themes, or WordPress itself. When backing up or restoring, users can choose which components – like plugins, themes, or content - should be taken into account. This WordPress plugin has the following additional features:
- Large backups can be split into different archives
- 1 click restoration
- Supports various storage spaces like Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud Files, FTP, or the UpdraftVault
There’s also a paid version of the plugin, known as UpdraftPlus Premium. The premium package not only supports additional storage spaces like Microsoft OneDrive and WebDAV, but also makes it possible to encrypt database backups.
In short: Even the free version of UpdraftPlus provides the vast majority of tools necessary to make WordPress projects of all kinds safe. This takes place either locally or in the Cloud. Should a backup be needed, it takes just one click to restore. The premium version also makes it possible for rapid migration of a site onto another webspace. But due to the complexity and the rather complicated interface configuration, getting to grips with UpdraftPlus can be quite a job for inexperienced users.