WordPress is the content management platform of choice for millions of websites around the world. If you are a WordPress user, you should know that backing up your website is very important. It is not a job you have to handle by yourself, though! Backup plugins take a lot of the work out of keeping your WordPress site safe.
How and Why Do You Backup WordPress?
Hopefully, you really don’t need to be convinced of the value of backing up your website. There is a host of threats, both accidental and malicious that can take your site offline. Having reliable backups is the best way to protect yourself.
You can learn more about the reasoning behind backups in the official WordPress codex
Besides choosing a specific backup solution, you also have to answer two important questions when automating the process: How often do you need to backup WordPress and which files do you need to backup? To answer the last question first, your database is an absolute minimum. In fact, many of the most bare-bones backup plugins like WP-DB-Backup, focus exclusively on this without bothering with your media files. You should also carefully consider which of your plugins you need to backup. Quite a few of the generic plugins, such as analytics tools and spam filters can seriously increase the size of your backup files.
In terms of timing your backups, you will need to assess how often your site changes and set a schedule that works with that. In order to speed up the process and keep costs down, you might want to look for plugins that can create differential or incremental backups. These plugins only copy files that are new or have changed when backing up your site, leading to reduced requirements for computing power and storage space.
If you are ready to pay for powerful backup tools, you have plenty of options available. You will want to survey the market carefully and pick out the plugin that best meets your needs. There are two major pricing models used for these tools, subscription plugins and one-time fee plugins. Here is a good example of each:
Vaultpress is an excellent option for backing up large, centralized sites. It comes with a host of different options, and the company offers many different protection plans starting at reasonable price per month. Per site points out the one weakness in the Vaultpress model. If you have multiple WordPress sites to protect, subscription plugins can get expensive very quickly.
BackupBuddy was an example of a one-time fee plugin that has moved to an annual subscription model. The company still offers a permanent purchase option with their Gold package, although it is also their most expensive product. BackupBuddy is easy to use and highly automated, and it also comes with award-winning customer support. BackupBuddy is particularly good for working with third-party cloud storage solutions. It also includes a decent storage account along with the company’s own Stash service.
Free Backup Options
You don’t have to surrender a lot of functionality if you choose to use free backup plugins. Many great plugins even straddle the line between free and premium by offering their software in two versions. Also, be aware that most free plugins offer you more trade-offs (i.e. both benefits and drawbacks) than premium plugins.
UpdraftPlus is a highly-regarded free plugin that is similar to BackupBuddy in terms of ease of use and cloud storage flexibility. It even offers some impressive encryption features that are pretty hard to find in the free backup plugin market. The free version of UpdraftPlus is supported by advertising which can be removed by switching to premium. This also adds a few handy features like automated site migration.
BlogVault is a great free solution for protecting large sites. It offers a number of options that are uncommon outside of the premium market, such as incremental backups and test restoration. It is a very flexible tool and it works well for hassle-free long-term operation when it is set up properly.
These four backup plugins are among the top choices for backing up your WordPress site. They are by no means your only options, though. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your needs when you go looking for a backup plugin. The software tool that handles backups exactly the way you want it to is almost certainly out there.
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