Don’t make the same backup goof I did. Seriously.
WP blogs are designed to make a job like backing up oh-so-easy.
Sure you can do it manually, but with WP there is a plugin for everything, so you can even just set and forget it and have it all done automatically. Just one more reason to love WordPress.
I might not back up everything else, but with my plugin I thought at least my blog was safe … EXCEPT … recently I got a shock.
All my effort was going to waste!
I was backing up the WORDS on this blog, but NOTHING ELSE!
What I didn’t know is that WordPress has two different parts it needs to restore a blog. First, there is the database – that’s what my WP-DB-Backup plugin was doing for me – BUT there are a whole array of other non-database parts of a blog too. Who knew? Well, not me, that’s for sure.
If my site had gone down all a restore would have given me was my posts, just sitting on a plain vanilla blog that I would have had to rebuild and retweak from scratch.
Hours upon hours of work to do.
Scary, scary stuff.
So of course I figured I had just got the wrong plugin. There must be an perfect alternative WordPress backup solution? Surely?
I went hunting, and horribly enough, no! No plugin is perfect!
There is no complete winner.
However from all my digging around, research and review, here is my checklist for the very best WordPress backup plugin. It would meet all these criteria…
- Back up the entire blog, meaning the database AND the site itself (not just one or other)
- Run on an automatic schedule, as well as immediate ones on request (VITAL),
- Be stable and keep updated with the latest WP versions.
- Have support from the author and/or a good forum (very important when you come to restoring your precious site and run into the inevitable techie-type problems.)
- Require as little technical expertise and tweaking as possible. No setting up cron jobs, changing to 777, or FTPing, please.
- Back up offsite ie somewhere other than on the site itself, so that if the site goes down your restore file isn’t taken with it.
- Not cost anything.
1. Pay for a premium Plugin/software.
Okay there are good premium plugins that will do the job and do it well, so if you don’t want to stuff around make this the first option.
Some of your choices are…
- blogVault backs up everything off your site, and has a Test Restore where it puts a working version of your site Restored on their website to prove it all works! (So cool I had to record a video of it here – BlogVault Restore AND Backup.) [seems to be a popular vote winner in the comments too.]
- VaultPress from Automattic the owners of WordPress with a monthly subscription,
- CodeGuard a 2011 start-up that offers paid plans as well as a free option for 2GB of storage but read the fine print eg “72 Hour Access to Restore: $25”,
- myRepono WordPress Backup Plugin which on a prepaid cents/GB usage basis, and
- Blog Zapper which is not actually a WP plugin nor does it run on a schedule, but this software will give you a complete, non-techie and quick backing up of your blog, as well as doing blog ‘cloning’.
- BackupBuddy from one of the top WP premium providers for a one-time fee (and now includes integration with DropBox)
-the latest addition to this list, but it is cheap and has now had enough time in the marketplace is BackupCreator by Robert Plank you can find here.
This plugin is mainly designed for Joomla blogs, but they have brought it over to WP and thank goodness they did. If you can handle techie stuff like CHMODs, adding folders, and cron jobs XCloner will do everything you need.
One point to note is that it backed up this blog into a huge 714 MB file, whenas option 4 below took up just 174MB. No idea what the problem is but if you need space be careful with XCloner.
3. Use two WP backup plugins. Yup, 2.
Unfortunately the WP-DB-Backup plugin I was using ONLY works great for backing up the database properly and easily. What I needed to do was add in the WP Backup Plugin from Blog Traffic Exchange to back up the site itself.
If your blog is small enough the zipped files can be emailed to you.
This solution fulfills all the requirements on the list, but it takes 2 plugins.
UPDATE 12/04/28: EZPZ One Click Backup is dead. I’m sorry to say that the free EZPZ One Click Backup plugin now says this on it’s site from creator Unca Joe: “I apologize but due to various reasons there will be no new versions released or further support for EZPZ OCB in the foreseeable future.” R.I.P. EZPZ.
[For completeness, and because someone will want to know, these plugins didn’t make the list:
- WP-DB-Manager the classic and extremely popular plugin, but shockingly it also only does the database (so many people must be having the same issue I did!)
- the general back up tool Backupify only does the database too.
- BackUpWordPress can only back up onto your own site (it can email you the results but usually only up to a size of 10MB), so if your site has issues your backup isn’t safe.
- Bei Fen (Bei Fen is meant to be Chinese for ‘back up’) hasn’t been updated since 2009.
- Simple WordPress Backup does database only and was last updated in 2010
- Automatic WordPress Backup needs S3 and was also last updated in 2010.
- EZWpBackup WordPress plugin was around in 2011, but now the site is gone
- WP Time Machine seems otherwise good with DropBox and Amazon S3, but can only use FTP for PHP4, and needs cron jobs to run automatically.
- Backup ie http://wordpress.org/extend/
plugins/backup/ backs up onto Google Drive exclusively. No problem with that, but being a brand new plugin I wouldn’t recommend it until it has more time to sort out the inevitable ‘teething problems’.
- BackWPUp seems very good indeed, but needs cron jobs to run on autopilot, and the page that is meant to have the Manual on it says “in work ;)” although it does have an active forum.
- myEASYBackup does EVERYTHING including saving backups “outside the WordPress installation directory to avoid someone else discovering the links”, but incredibly it doesn’t seem to have an automatic scheduling option!]
- WPBackupPlus – recent addition which always makes me nervous with something as important as guarding my vital site, and someone I met had a problem with getting it to work. May have some advantages over BackupBuddy however.
- WP Dolly which was suggested in the comments below but then seems to have come under fire in later comments, and doesn’t handle the popular Hostgator hosting platform.
If you have your own favorite solution, or tips, share your comments below.
Update 2012-Jan-30: Just had this CarefulCash.com site taken out by a malware virus today.
So blogVault finally got it’s FULL back up and restore test – and as you can see it passed! In fact the malware had hit my computer too, so rescuing the blog was the easy bit. The hardest parts were removing the malware, and jumping through Google’s hoops to let them know this site is virus-free again. Three cheers for having a WordPress backup in place!
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