For any blogger or website owner, it’s important to have some security protocols in place to prevent anything bad happening to your website. Yet even with the best security, there’s always a risk. Accidents happen. You might end up with a site that’s corrupted or hacked.
If you want to avoid losing your WordPress blog and all your precious work, then you should always (and I mean ALWAYS), perform regular backups for your website. That way, even if you suffer some downtime, you can always bring your website back to life.
Now, there are several ways that you can go about backing up your WordPress blog. In this article, we’re going to focus on one of the easiest ways, which is to use a plugin that will automatically backup your blog for you.
The great thing about these plugins is that you can even use them to perform site migrations as well. Which is great when you want to move to a better web host with better features and server performances.
There are a ton of backup plugins available at WordPress, but, it’s important to remember that not all backup/migration plugins are created equal. Some come with different features or focus on certain areas more than others.
So, before you decide on a plugin, here are a few things that you might want to consider:
With so many plugins and backup/migration solutions available online, it’s hard to choose the perfect one. While the 4 listed below might not be perfect solutions, from our investigations they are definitely the best plugins to use, by far.
Best for: All-round simple and dependable backups.
Backup Guard is widely known for being a dependable plugin for creating WordPress backups. One of its key advantages is that their interface integrates dynamically with your WordPress dashboard. To date, the plugin has more than 70,000 active installs.
When you’ve installed the plugin, you can start the backup process by clicking on the “Backup” button that’s located in the plugin’s main page. Once you’ve clicked on it, you will have the option to perform a “Full backup” or a “Custom backup”, where you can choose which parts you want to save.
Once you’ve successfully made your backup, it should appear on the Backup Guard list, which you can restore, delete, or download your backup by clicking on it.
You can also upload a backup file into Backup Guard as well by using the “Import” button. Just remember that there’s a limit of 128MB. Anything more than that and you’ll have to upload it manually via FTP.
The free version of Backup Guard lets you do the basic backups and migration, but, if you want automatic backups, a 24/7 support, email notifications, and even full-on site migrations, you can opt for their paid pro version.
What stands out
Best for: Simple step-by-step backup on a polished interface.
Created by WordPress.com and part of the Jetpack plugin, VaultPress offers tons of features such as real-time backups, one-click restore, 30-days cloud storage, and even the ability to migrate your website.
The plugin was also designed to be simple and easy to use, you can basically just set it and forget it. All you have to do is configure it once and then VaultPress will do all the work, including keeping your site backed up in their cloud storage. And if you want to restore your site, it’s as simple as a single click.
Unfortunately, they don’t have any free versions so if you want to use VaultPress, you’ll need to fork out at least $57.24 per year for their basic plan. If you want all the fancy features such as automatic file repairs, real-time backups and more, you’re going to have to opt for their higher plans.
What stands out
Best for: Making customized backups.
A WordPress backup and migration list would definitely not be complete without All-In-One WP Migration on it. A highly rated plugin on WordPress, All-In-One WP lets you create copies of your WordPress site data, which you can then save as backup or for migration purposes.
Using it is quite easy enough. Install the plugin and head to the “All-In-One WP Migration” tab in WordPress and click on “Export” to get started.
The cool thing about the plugin is that you can customize the type of data that you want to be exported by going into the “Advanced Settings” and just uncheck the ones you don’t want. You can exclude data such as spam comments, theme files, plugins, post revisions, and more.
It’s important to note that the free version of All-In-One WP Migration only allow you to export your site’s backup into a local file. If you want to export to other places, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, you’ll need to purchase an extension.
Once your site’s data has been exported, you can download your backup directly or have it saved in your webserver. Of course, it’s always recommended that you keep your backup at a location that’s different from your website’s server to avoid any cyber-attacks or server problems.
What stands out
Best for: Beginners, and anyone wanting fully-automated backups.
A lot of the plugins that’s listed here can be used to create quick backups for your WordPress website, however, not all of them lets you schedule automated backups without having to fork out extra cash for their paid versions.
UpdraftPlus stands out among the rest by giving you fully automated backups, for free! And, it doesn’t hurt that they’ve designed it to be easy-to-use for newbies and beginners.
After installing the plugin, you can activate it by going through your “Settings” tab in WordPress and clicking on “UpdraftPlus Backups”. There, you can perform tasks such as site backups, site restorations, and even site migrations.
When you use UpdraftPlus, remember to set a remote storage location first for your backup at the “Settings” menu and choosing any of the icons that you want your storage location to be.
Under the same “Settings” page, you can also set the backup schedule for both your site’s files and the database itself. Just click on the drop-down menus of the “Files backup schedule” and “Database backup schedule” to set your timing.
After that, scroll down to specify the WordPress site data that you want to have included in the backup. Under the “Include in files backup”, tick on the checkboxes to include data such as plugins, themes, and media files.
Once you’re done, just click save and your backups should be fully automated. If you want more features such as FTP encryption, smart backups, and database encryption, you can opt for their premium version which gives all of the above and more.
What stands out
Now that we’ve gone through the list of plugins for WordPress backups, let’s quickly talk about when you should be backing up your website, and how often. Right off the bat, it’s always recommended that you perform your backups regularly as this will minimize your loss as your backups will be fairly recent.
The thing you need to consider is how you would want to schedule your backups. Now, different websites will have different scheduling needs.
If your blog publishes multiple new contents each week and receives new comments daily, then it’s probably a good idea to have a shorter interval between your backups. The same goes if you have an online store attached to your blog which has transactions to keep track of and customer’s details.
On the opposite spectrum, if the website or blog is mostly static and is updated with new content on a quarterly basis, then you might be able to get away with a weekly backup instead.
Bottom line, there’s no perfect timeline for scheduling backups and it ultimately falls on you to come up with the best timetable that will give you the least amount of loss should things go wrong. Also, a good rule of thumb is to always perform a backup before you do any massive changes to your WordPress blog.
When you have a WordPress website, it’s not enough to just have the latest security plugins or SSL certificates to keep your business safe. A backup is your last line of defence, and more often than not, can save you from a world of headaches should anything go wrong.
With the plugins we’ve listed above, you definitely won’t have to worry the next time your site crashes or gets attacked by hackers or viruses as you’ll have backup at the ready!
Jason is a fan of WordPress and technology. He is also a marketer - Jason likes to read news related to startups and internet marketing. You can connect with him via Twitter.