I recently met a few awesome WordPress bloggers, web developers and other hosting experts in a recent a WordPress meetup event this month. It was an interesting event targeted at educating WordPress developers and website owners about various security threats and how to take care of those.
One thing that stuck me during the meeting was, the realization that so may people are not very deligent about taking backup of their websites. I was amazed to see the number of people who fell in that category not knowing how fatal mistake it may prove to be in case something goes wrong. Many people take backups here and there, but most aren't very systematic in this regard.
On the other hand, people who have had their website hacked or inadvertently changed something they shouldn’t have on their websites or the database, definitely understand the importance of backing up their live websites on a regular basis. They highly recommend being proactive about taking regular backups.
If you have a WordPress blog with one of the shared WordPress hosting packages, my goal is to get you serious about backing up your website properly and regularly.
It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen that your web host tells you that your website is no more. Due to one or the other issue with the server where your website was hosted, your website is 'gone'. To add to the pain, they may not even have a recent back-up of the data. There are several small business owners who have gone through this and suffered the losses. Therefore, it should alarm you if you do not have a local copy of your own website's full backup in your possession.
Derick Shaefer from Copyblogger says, "Go, take a full backup of your website today, burn a CD and put that under your mattress, load it into Dropbox…Do whatever, but get a local copy of your website backup in your hands."
Many WordPress bloggers have backups of their websites stored on the server itself where the website is hosted. That kind of backup is of no use when something happens to the server. In such cases, the backup and the websites are lost together. Isn't it very risky?
How To Take Regular Backup Of Your WordPress Websites
Your website has two different parts that you need to backup if you ever need to restore it:
- The MYSQL database (Most of the important data in a WordPress site is stored there)
- The site files (your theme, content, plugins, images, podcasts, videos etc.)
This interesting blog post titled, How to Back-Up Your WordPress Site Consistently and Automatically gives some good ideas about how you can backup both aspects of your WordPress website in very simple 2-steps process. It is a good article by Michael Pollock.
As a business owner who doesn't want to get into the details of the technology, I need a good wordpress plugin that can take care of these important needs:
- The plugin should backup the entire website/blog, not just the database or just the files.
- Run automatic scheduled backups, not just whenever I remember to take.
- The plugin should be stable and keep up with the updates in WordPress itself.
- The plugin should have a good support from the author in case I run into an issue tomorrow while trying a restore.
- It should be simple to use.
- Preferably it should allow the Backup to be stored automatically somewhere other than on the server so that if the server goes down, my backup isn’t down with it.
I could not find the perfect WordPress plugin that really meets all my needs so far. If you found one, I look forward to learning from you about it in the comments section. However, I found several FREE plugins that do a good job of taking the backup and fulfilling some of the needs I described. Here are my favorite three plugins for this job:
WP Backup Complete is a free plugin that takes the backup of the WordPress database as well as the file system for your website. I personally use it on some of my websites. It does the job well and very easy to operate. Once the backup is taken, it gives you the option to download the zip file to your local machine as well. Once you have a local copy of the backup, you can load it in your cloud storage such as DROPBOX.
This plugin offers a few features beyond backing up WordPress files. Being a Dropbox user is not required to use BackWPup, other services such as Amazon S3, SugarSync and RackSpaceCloud are also supported. This plugin gives you the opportunity to schedule automatic backups as well and they have an active development which I think is a good thing.
Exporting the WordPress XML file, Checking, repairing and optimizing the Database are not common features among WordPress backup plugins. But this plugin is equipped with those features. It also allows you to choose the backup file type (zip, tar, tar.gz, tar.bz2 format). It definitely is one my favorite though the backup jobs can go slow sometimes using this plugin because of the way it runs the backup.
This is by far the most awesome free backup plugin I have seen and used so far. It does what the description says, "Duplicate, clone, backup, move and transfer an entire site from one location to another."
This plugin takes a complete backup of your entire MySQL database, entire directory structure of your website – all files. You can't miss a file from the backup by the time the plugin is done taking the backup. The plugin comes with great documentation and step by step instructions to help you operate with ease.
It is a great plugin to use if your website is less than 200MB in size. For larger sites, you are better off using one of the premium services.
This is a premium plugin that backups everything off your site (database, contents, comments, files, images… everything). What's even more impressive is, it has a Test Restore option where it puts a working version of your site restored on their website to prove it all works! It really does a great job and since it is a premium service, there is an active support that keeps up with the WordPress updates as well.
This most certainly seems to be the winner especially because of its Test Restore option that makes the job of migrating a website instantaneous. If you need to migrate your website from one website hosting service to another, just take a FULL backup of your website and restore it to the new hosting location, and you are done!
However, it comes with a monthly subscription option and you may want to explore their website, read their blog to explore if it fits in your budget and if this is what you need to go for. Your needs should drive your decision, not how cool a particular solution is.
This is the backup service I use for my blog and all other websites. This is the best service I found and I rely on their ability to provide an excellent platform to manage not just backups but many mundane daily tasks for all my WordPress websites from one place.
Two Questions For You
- Do you back-up your WordPress site(s)? If so, how often and what method or plugins do you use?
- Most hosting companies I know, don't. But, does your host provide consistent, automatic and easily accessible back-ups? If so, what web host are you using?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section. I look forward to your responses.