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Maybe like me, you don’t think twice about backup and restore until there’s an issue. I’ve done a bit of testing with backups because I’ve actually had to restore my site. Let’s face it; we don’t ever plan to use backups, but when we do they should just work. The problem is no one wants to deal with backups until they’ve gotten burned; by then it’s a dollar short and a day late as the saying goes. While your hosting provider probably does some limited backups, I wouldn’t rely on those. It’s better to control exactly what you have for backups, when they were created and know how to restore them, rather than relying on your hosting provider. With one of these 6 Best WordPress Backup Plugins That Make Backing Up WordPress Easy, your WordPress site will have a safety net when you need it.
The big deal on backups…
WordPress is pretty incredible and very customizable, but accidents do happen. Usually at the most inconveinent times.
While it doesn’t happen often WordPress can “hiccup” if there are plugin conflicts or a corrupted database. You may have seen what I call the grey screen of death. That one that says something totally useless like “Aw snap your site isn’t visible” or the ugly generic 500 server error.
Backups are essential is if your site gets hacked.
The last reason for a great backup and restore plan is if migrating a site to a new hosting provider or domain name. Migration is a ton easier with a good backup plugin.
Restore vs Fix?
I’ve spent a bit of time testing, particularly around how easy it is to backup, restore and migrate. It may seem boring until you need it, then it’s suddenly the most important item for the day. Let’s face it, no one wants their site down for hours let alone days or weeks.
But when do you restore versus trying to fix your site? Well, there are a couple of easy steps to try if you’re site is unavailable. These are in my other article here on “WordPress 500 Internal Server Error – How to recover WordPress in a flash“. That article covers options to repair the WordPress database and disabled the plugins to check for conflicts that might get your site back up without a full restore. If that doesn’t fix the issue than its a backup plugin to the rescue!
How to create a good backup and with what?
Since I’ve had a bit of unwanted experience, these are the 6 best wordpress backup plugins I’ve tested and used that work without a lot of sweat and hair-pulling. They’re popular and they work. To evaluate these plugins, this is my criteria that makes a backup plugin worth using.
Intuitive and easy to use
Flexible options for where to place the backup.
Works without a lot of tweaking or effort.
Provides a minimum of securing the backup.
Can migrate the site, nice to have optional- 🙂 .
Those criteria might seem obvious but if you’ve ever tried to restore a WordPress website from a backup, you’ve may have learned that not all backup software works as planned.
Plus a good backup plugin that can easily migrate or clone your site is nice bonus. If you’ve ever migrated a site to a new domain name or hosting provider, the really useful backup plugins save you a ton of time with that task. That’s because when you migrate a WordPress site it requires all internal links for the old domain name to change to the new one. So if you had internal links in your blog posts, all of those links need to change to the new domain name. Good backup plugins know how to do that automatically.
Now the BEST wordpress backup plugins…
Some are free. Some come with a free version but can be upgraded to a paid one and others require a direct purchase.
These are not in any particular order; more like the order I tested them in.
1- Duplicator WordPress Plugin
This is a great program and it has a free version although the Pro version is worth it for the extra features. Duplicator is pretty awesome. As a backup plugin, Duplicator is incredibly easy to use, plus it works perfectly to migrate a site from one host to another or from one domain to a new one. Migrating a site requires migrating all the internal links.Duplicator does that with ease.Offered thru the WordPress respository, Duplicator is installed as a plugin. Simply run the wizard, download the zipped, compressed package and installer.php file, upload to the new site and run the installer using the http://yoursite.com/installer.php. If a password was created when the package was built, enter the password. It takes minutes, not hours. It literally has saved me hours of work. You’ll need the Pro version to save to Dropbox, AmazonWeb Services, Ftp or Google Drive.
2-Vaultpress WordPress Plugin
This is part of the Jetpack suite of tools from the team at Automattic. Vaultpress works well but costs from $5 to $ 30/monthly depending on how long you want the backups archived. Some big name websites use Vaultpress but using Vaultpress has a few requirments. You will need a WordPress.com account and will have to install Jetpack into your WordPress site. This plugin is easy to use and provides reliable backup with notification emails. Should you have multiple WordPress websites then you will need to pay for Vaultpress for each site, even if you have those sites as part of a multisite WordPress configuration. Still many website owners depend on Vaultpress. It makes backing up and restoring your blog a breeze with just a few clicks.
3– BackWPup WordPress Pluging
This is a easy to use backup plugin and the how to video’s make it very intuitive. I thought the plugin was super easy to use and provided features for backing up the database only or the whole site. Plus, the video’s with the free version explained the plugin options and configuration clearly. BackWPup also allows control using wp_cron with a user-friendly scheduler or just using the wp-cli. BackWPup makes backups very straightforward. The free version nicely backups to Micrsoft Azure, S3, Google Storage, Dropbox and ftp while some of the other backup plugins require an upgrade for that feature. While this plugin does not have a built-in restore, the process is explained within the videos. It requires an ftp client to upload the unzipped files from the compressed backup and an import of the WordPress Sql database. But overall, BackWPup is clearly a popular choice because of its easy to use features, help video’s and capability to backup to various remote storage choices.
4-BackupGuard WordPress Backup Plugin
This too is an awesome program; the user interface was created to make it as easy as possible to create and manage backups and restores. The free version is pretty basic but it does the job. If you want the additional features you will have to go Pro and there’s several levels you can pick from. I really liked that BackupGuard has a nice demo site you can look (here) to see the features before you upgrade. Backupguard has really good easy to follow online documentation and videos that anybody can understand. That’s important because you want your backup to work and be there when you most need it. BackupGuard also has a migration feature which is a bonus. Remote storage options are to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 or Ftp. The restore is as simple as clicking a button next to the name of the backup. Pretty easy.
5. UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin
This too is an awesome program; the creators of UpdraftPlus have obviously spent a ton of time making it as flexible as possible. It’s got a lot of options for remote storage (Azure, S3, Dropbox, Sftp, etc). That means it is a little more complicated to use then some of the others. However the instructions are clear and intuitive and I do like having all those options for offsite remote storage. Updraftplus does depend wp_cron, so if you’ve disabled wp_cron in your wp-config.php for any reason or if your hosting provider has then Updraftplus will complain. Updraftplus provides encryption of the backup to just about any remote storage location offered which is a really nice security feature, but that comes only after upgrade to the Pro version. My only comment is that the free version does not seem to provide encryption of the compressed backup; the makers of Updraftplus clearly state that within the free version. I get that they are encouraging purchase of the pro but for someone just starting to use this plugin it would be nice to have encryption for basic sftp or local downloads.
6. iThemes Security’s Backup Buddy
iThemes is probably better known for their iThemes Security plugin “Better WP Security” but their Backup Buddy plugin can perform backups of the database, plugin or full site. Backup Buddy also has a migrate/clone option. Backup Buddy does depend on wp_cron to work so if you have modified your cron settings you may run into issues. However, the support from iThemes is very responsive and should you have any questions, you will get an iThemes expert responding fairly quickly. iThemes Backup Buddy is a one time purchase (at least when I got it) so from a cost perspective that’s easy on the pocketbook. While iThemes is not as big a player as some others on the list, you may find that the trade off in cost is worth trying out this backup plugin.
There you have it, some fantastic wordpress backup plugins that make you blog a lot more secure in the event of an issue. Hopefully you’ll never need a backup but if you do these plugins can provide it.
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