How to Backup a WordPress Site: The Best Free and Paid Solutions
Regularly making backup copies of your WordPress site is essential to avoid taking risks, but very often this practice is ignored.
Often, when you create a new site, you are worried about which CMS to use, its graphic appearance and the contents to be inserted. Backup is usually one of those things that risks overshadowing.
I have often come across long-established WordPress sites, whose owners had never bothered to make backup copies of their site, so that they could restore everything in case of any problems.
There are many occasions in which a backup copy that allows you to quickly restore a site can be useful. Often, however, the excuses that are used to justify the absence of a backup are different, let's see some.
The site has just left, I do not need any backup
This is one of the most common excuses and often leads to never finding an appropriate time to make a backup, even in the distant future. It would be enough to think about how much time has been invested in the creation of a site to make it seem more than logical to plan a backup strategy that allows you to sleep peacefully.
I regularly make a copy of the database
It is true that most of the content of a WordPress site resides mainly in the database and not in the files on the server, but this does not justify the fact that a single copy of the database is more than enough to quickly restore a site. All images or files uploaded, plugins and theme used are not present in the database.
In case you need to have only a database backup, it's better than nothing, but by itself, it does not help much if you've lost all the images you uploaded to your site.
I'm careful about what I do, and therefore I do not risk anything
safety being careful and scrupulous and avoiding installing random plugins can help, but it is certainly not enough to make sure that our WordPress site is safe from any problems.
I admire a lot of security, but personally, I prefer to be a little quieter.
Also because users are not the only possible source of problems, there are many things that can go wrong and damage a WordPress installation: server crashes, external attacks, faulty plugins ...
WordPress automatically saves the various versions of my articles
The function of automatic saving of posts and pages and the ability to manage the multiple revisions of the contents are not comparable to a backup. These features allow you to avoid losing an article or to remedy some errors in saving a post. But they do not need anything in cases where an entire installation of WordPress has been compromised.
The company that provides me with the hosting already takes care of the backup
It is quite common that the various hosting services offer a backup service. In some cases, this is manual (ergo, if you do not do it personally the hosting company will not do it for you), while in others it is automatic, for example through a software called R1Soft.
Be careful though, because in some cases these backups include only the files in your space but not the database. If you are using a VPS, which is a virtual private server, you may be able to make snapshot copies of the entire system. This is good, but restoring the whole system is longer and more cumbersome than restoring a single site.
But there are hosting services specialized in WordPress, such as WPEngine or Siteground, which offer very efficient backup solutions that allow you to stay relatively quiet.
About the backup did directly by the hosting company, I'll tell you an anecdote.
Time ago the WordPress site of an acquaintance of mine was "laundry,"i.e., damaged, by an attacker. He, unfortunately, noticed a dozen days later. The company that provided the hosting made daily backup copies of the site. The problem, however, is that only the copies of the last seven days were kept, so he found himself with seven backup copies all containing just the damaged site and not the working one. Moral of the story: he had to recreate the site from scratch, a real nightmare.
This is to make you understand that entrusting only your hosting company with the backup of your site, sometimes it may not be enough.
I've backed up once, and then I'm fine
It is not that there is anything wrong with that strategy, its weak point is that it cannot be applied in all cases. In fact, if I have a site that I update once a year, even a 10-month old backup could be good for me, so the contents have not changed. But if I run a blog that is updated daily, a backup of 10 months ago can be as useful as a bike without wheels.
Local backups are more than enough
thread-of-a-razor local backup I mean the backup copies that are stored on the same server on which the site is hosted. This solution is probably preferable to not making any backup, but it is certainly not the maximum security. In case of server crash, in fact, you will lose both your site and its backups.
Better then to keep site and backup in two separate places.
Which Solutions to Adopt for a Correct Backup of a WordPress Site?
The possible answers are many, given that there are different possibilities. You can use plugins to save backup copies either on the web server that hosts the site or on external cloud storage services, or you can choose functions that deal with everything completely automatically.
Free and paid plugins are available for saving data on your WordPress site. In most cases, the most common solutions provide both versions.
Free plugins for backing up a WordPress site
It is undoubtedly one of the most popular solutions and above all one of those plugins that, in addition to saving data, also provides a function of restoring them. In many cases, in fact, the plugins offer everything you need to protect the database and files of your WordPress site but then leave it to you to restore everything.
UpdraftPlus allows you to quickly retrieve old saved versions of themes, plugins, uploaded files and of course the WordPress database.
This plugin allows you to save on Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud, DreamObjects, FTP, Swift OpenStack and via email. The paid version also supports Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft Azure, Copy.Com, Google Cloud Storage, SFTP, SCP, and WebDAV.
Unfortunately, the free version of the plugin does not support backup to multiple destinations, this is usually an extra guarantee when we decide to follow a correct backup strategy. Another limitation of the free version is the lack of support for WordPress Multisite installations.
UpdraftPlus then allows you to set up a different schedule of backups for files and database. So you can, for example, schedule a backup every 4 hours of the database and a daily backup of the data.
I purchased the Premium version of UpdraftPlus which offers many advantages, such as:
ackup to multiple remote destinations;
- Possibility to clone or migrate a WordPress site on another server ;
- Possibility to perform automatic backups before updating a theme, a
Plugin or the WordPress core;
- Option to include in the backup also files and databases that do not belong to WordPress;
- Support for WordPress Multisite ;
- Compared to the free version, it is possible to set the date and time of the scheduled backups precisely;
- Possibility to import backups made with other plugins, such as
- BackWPup, BackupWordPress, Simple Backups, WordPress Backup To Dropbox, InfiniteWP, Dropbox Backup by WPAdm and simple SQL database backup;
- Greater analysis possibilities with detailed reports and customizable alerts in case of problems;
- Ability to password protect access to backups.
In December 2017, additional functionality was added to the Premium version of UpdraftPlus: that of connecting multiple accounts of the same service for remote backup. So now you can backup at the same time on multiple Dropbox accounts, or on multiple Backblaze accounts .
First instead, once configured an account type, it was not possible to add others of the same type.
Also, in this case, it is the free version of a paid plugin. Unlike UpdraftPlus, this plugin offers many features even in the free version. Compared to the previous solution, BackWPup does not provide any file recovery function but deals exclusively with data saving operations.
This plugin supports many backup destinations and also allows you to select more than one for each saves operation.
You can plan different backup plans by deciding what to save when to save and where to store for each one.
BackWPup also allows you to exclude specific folders and specific database tables from backup operations. The plugin also takes care of saving sensitive files such as wp-config.php, robots.txt, .htaccess, .htpasswd and favicon.ico in the root directory of your site.
An excellent plugin straightforward to use and very functional, however, in the free version, allows you to save files only on the web server that hosts the site. If you want to save on other FTP servers, on Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 or other services, you need to purchase the paid version.
As mentioned, BackUpWordPress is very easy to use and does not require any unique configuration apart from choosing what and when to save.
WordPress Backup to Dropbox
A plugin that allows you to make the free backup of files and WP database by using Dropbox as a backup storage destination. You can choose which files to exclude from backup and plan when to save.
Compared to others, this plugin has insufficient functionality. In fact, it takes care of doing only one thing: to save the database of a WordPress site, but it performs more than just this task.
For example, with this plugin, you can schedule database backups and have the plugin sent to you by e-mail. Alternatively, you can also make manual backups and download them directly to your PC.
Paid Solutions And Plugins For Backing up a WordPress Site
A plugin made by wpmudev that allows you to make backup copies of a WordPress site. It works more or less like Time Machine for the Mac allowing you to save copies of the entire site both on the server and on external services. The plugin also provides a restore function that makes it extremely convenient. Among the external services supported for data storage, there are: Dropbox, Amazon S3, Google Drive or FTP / SFTP.
Snapshot Pro also allows you to exclude particular folders from backups, so as not to waste space and resources unnecessarily.
One of the most popular and complete paid solutions to make backups, and not only, of a WordPress site. In addition to all the classic backup and restore functions that can also be found in many other plug-ins, BackupBuddy also saves time in migrating a WordPress site from one server to another.
Whether it's a change of hosting or a developer who simply needs to move a site from the development server to the production server, BackupBuddy can help you save a lot of time. The plugin takes care of managing a possible change of domain of the site and the consequent problems related to the serialized data present in the database.
Purchasing the plugin, you can also take advantage of 1 GB of free space of BackupBuddy Stash, a service designed to store backups made with BackupBuddy.
BackupBuddy also allows you to restore individual files on the server, not necessarily an entire backup. It also offers the malware scan feature, an extra check to make sure your site has not been compromised.
Backup with Jetpack
This is a paid service offered by Automattic, the company that deals with WordPress.com, Akismet, WooCommerce ...
The Jetpack plugin can also be used in a completely free version on all WordPress sites and allows you to activate on your site a series of extremely useful features. The paid version of this service also allows you to secure your site's data by making daily backups completely automatically.
It is an efficient, safe and extremely easy to use solution. With a simple click, you can also restore your site from one of the available backups.
Also, the Jetpack service is not limited to backups but also offers additional services for securing your site. Paid plans start at € 3.50 a month.
Although it is not a service as popular as Jetpack, Blogvault offers interesting features, including the ability to use this service for the migration of WordPress sites from one host to another (also managing the possible change of domain).
Blogvault also supports the fully automated recovery of a WordPress site, i.e. without having to perform any manual downloading or uploading of files.
The service keeps the last 30 rescues made. Unlike most of the plugins dedicated to backup WordPress, Blogvault uses incremental backups and then, for each backup operation, only saves the elements that have changed since the previous backup. This allows you to speed up operations, reduce bandwidth consumption and space consumption.
Five tips for a proper backup strategy for your WordPress site
Whatever solution you decide to try, the important thing is to have the tools and put in place a backup strategy for your site.
Here are five final tips:
1.Always make a backup before an update.
Especially when it comes to the core of WordPress, the theme, and plugins that have a significant impact on the site (such as WPML or WooCommerce)
2.Adjust the frequency of backups based on the activity pace of your site.
If you publish ten posts a day, you will certainly need a backup frequency much closer to that of a site that publishes an article a month.
3.The ideal would be to keep backups in 2/3 different destinations.
If you have the possibility, save the backups in at least three different locations, such as a cloud service, on your PC and an external disk. Prudence is never too much.
4.Avoid saving useless data, especially if you have space problems.
To speed up backup operations and waste fewer resources, it is best to back up only valuable content (no spam comments, useless statistics ...)
5.Do not give up some good manual backup now and then.
Even if you have planned all the automation and programming of the case, sometimes a good old manual backup does not hurt.
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