Choose the best WordPress backup plugin to keep your data safe and sound
In this post, we talk about the main reasons to back up your WordPress website. You will learn about the consequences of not making copies of your database and files regularly and get familiar with the principal backup types and methods. We also discuss the key features of backup and restore plugins and present an overview of the top WordPress backup plugins currently available on the market.
As a house or apartment owner, you should have at least one duplicate copy of the entrance door key in case you lose the main one. You may get a friend or relative to keep it for you. Once the bad thing happens, you simply go to the holder’s place and pick up the new key.
Backing up a WordPress website is no different from this arrangement. You make a copy of all your files and database and store it in several locations, such as the cloud and the hard drive of your computer. Then, when something goes wrong with your website, you retrieve the previously saved replica from one of the locations and restore it.
The sad truth is that bad things occur far too often in the digital world. Unlike losing a door key, having a faulty WordPress website may prove to be a much costlier affair for you, the owner. Thus, to avoid trouble, making frequent backups of the WP database and files is wise. Here are the main reasons.
Why Make Regular WordPress Website Backups: 4 Key Motivations
#1: This Is Not the Terminator’s Era: Machines Are Still Too Weak
In the legendary Terminator movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger, machines are omnipotent and invincible, acting independently of humans. Unlike this make-believe world, present-day machines are vulnerable to all sorts of quirks and failures.
While most Internet servers are reliable enough, problems with hardware do occur more often than we want. Take Google’s servers, for example. 2020 saw the tech giant constantly struggling with outages. Remember how you couldn’t access your Google Drive and Gmail in August and December? We do, for sure.
This is one compelling reason to have a backup copy of your WordPress website safely stored in an external location. Then, when a tsunami, hurricane, torrential rain, or blackout suddenly puts your hosting provider’s server out of order, you can quickly bring your site back to life.
#2: People Are Not Infallible Either
Even in this age of automation, not everything has been robotized yet. Performing many database operations and file manipulations still requires a human touch. People are not machines, so they are prone to committing more errors.
After a sleepless night, you may accidentally erase a record with all the data about a VIP customer, for instance. If you’ve had your database backed up, you can painlessly restore this record. No backup? The restoration process may take too long. Why risk losing customers and money?
#3: There Are Too Many Bad Guys Around
It takes all sorts to make the digital world. Most web developers and database professionals are decent, law-abiding people. Unfortunately, there are a lot of black sheep in the family as well. These are cybercriminals.
They are on the constant lookout for weak spots in your website defense. Even if you have put all possible security measures in place, you are still not immune to hacker attacks. The key reason for this is the tremendous popularity of WordPress.
The bad guys can study the system in detail, searching for backdoors, and they succeed far too often. Take a recent wave of attacks on Magento and WordPress sites we wrote about on our blog.
Having your website exploited may have all kinds of repercussions for you. For example, cybercriminals can use it for sending out spam messages or running their own ads instead of yours. In addition, once Google finds out that you’ve let hackers in, expect a severe punishment from this or other search engines.
Of course, you can guard yourself against exploits in a variety of ways, as we discussed in another post. If worse comes to worst, you can also try to root out the hackers’ “flowers” yourself or hire professional WordPress developers to do the job for you.
However, you may never know if you have completely removed everything implanted by digital delinquents. Instead of wasting time and money tracing hackers’ footprints, you can simply restore a version of the website you used before the trouble struck. That is, if you’ve made a backup.
#4: Even Highly-Rated Extensions Can Be Harmful to Your Website
The WordPress core gets better with every subsequent release. Many new features have been added to it in recent years, such as the innovative Gutenberg editor. That being said, an effective operation of a WordPress website is hardly possible without a number of additional software installations.
The official WordPress plugin repository contains free and commercial extensions for all intents and purposes, starting from content editing and ending with analytics and advertising. The chances are you have tens of these installed on your own site.
A moment may come, though, when an update to your favorite plugin suddenly disrupts the normal operation of your resource. Rather than wait for the developers to fix the issue, you can restore the edition of your site that uses the previous version of the plugin, and so keep things working as usual.
We’ve given just four reasons why backing up your WordPress files and database is so important. There are more. Even these, hopefully, should be enough to drive the point home. Now, let’s take a look at the most common backup methods.
The Principal Backup Options
We can divide the backup options into three categories based on the answers to the following questions:
How Much Data Is Copied?
There are two major portions of data in a WordPress website: the files and the database. You can either backup everything or only the database and files separately. Naturally, copying the site in its entirety will produce a larger backup file.
When/How Often Is Data Copied?
The best approach is to have automatic backups of a website on a regular basis. Some site owners prefer making at least two copies per day. You can also perform backups manually whenever you need them. This option requires less effort. Mind though, that since the intervals between backups are usually longer, the risk of losing your data is higher.
Who Makes Backups and How?
For those who want to sit back and relax
Are you on good terms with information technology? If not, this backup method should suit you perfectly. Just let your hosting company handle everything for you. You won’t have to lift a finger. When something goes awry, the provider should restore your WordPress site from one of the copies they’ve made.
This is a hassle-free approach. However, expect to be in the complete dark when you choose it. You will not know how exactly the company archives your files and database, where they store the copies, and what security precautions they take.
For those who like doing things themselves
If you are an experienced WordPress administrator and know many of its ins and outs, you can opt for this method. Then, you’re your own boss. You have your own storage options, so you know exactly where to get the backup file in case of emergency. For your work, you’ll need a reliable tool that uses the file transfer protocol (FTP), such as this one.
As a downside of this approach, you will have to assume responsibility for the entire process. If something breaks before, during, or after restoration, you only have yourself to blame. Thus, make sure you possess the right skills and knowledge to tackle the task.
For those in search of the golden mean
The final option, a WordPress backup plugin, gives you a chance to embrace both worlds. It allows you to make the backup and restore process automatic, so you don’t have to be a tech guru. At the same time, you have free reign in picking your storage options and choosing the parts of your website you want to back up.
The flexibility of using an automatic backup plugin with WordPress attracts many site owners. Since you’re reading this post, you’ve probably decided to go down this path, too. Below, we’ve briefly reviewed 3 WordPress backup plugins you might want to try out. Before we actually describe them, though, let’s walk through some aspects to consider when choosing one of these add-ons in general.
Essential Things to Look at in a WordPress Backup Plugin
Easy Restoration Functionality
Making a backup file is just the first part of the process. When time is tight, especially in a business setting, breathing life back to your website as fast as possible is crucial. This is why the best WordPress backup plugin should be able to restore the files and database in a quick and straightforward way.
Different Backup Modes
As we’ve said, backups can either be performed automatically in accordance with a specific schedule or whenever you want it. The best WordPress backup and restore plugins provide both options.
Intuitive UI, Simple Workflows
Since the majority of users who install a WordPress backup plugin are probably not big experts on computer technologies, they should handle the backup process in a convenient way. Thus, the best WordPress backup plugin should have an easy-to-navigate user interface. In addition, it should allow website admins to handle any task in just a few clicks.
The Ability to Back up Sites in a Piecemeal Manner
WordPress sites differ in size. Backing up even the smallest website, though, exerts pressure on the server. To minimize this load, a WordPress full backup plugin should be able to make a backup file of the entire website once and then simply add pieces that have changed between backups. This speeds up the process and lets the server breathe freely.
As the saying goes, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” This means that the best WordPress backup plugin should provide several storage options for the backup file. For instance, you can set up the tool to save one copy locally, another on your server, and a third one somewhere in the cloud.
An arrangement like this will let you sleep peacefully. You will know that even if your computer dies and the server goes down, you have at least one copy of the backup file left.
Now, without any further ado, here’s a review of 3 WordPress backup plugins that you can try out.
3 WordPress Backup Plugins to Keep Your Valuable Data Intact
People tend to use things others like. This is true for WordPress backup and restore plugins, too, so we’ll start our review from one of the most highly-rated tools. The creators of the UpdraftPlus plugin call it “the world’s most trusted WordPress backup, restore and clone plugin,” and they have every reason to claim it.
It’s simply overloaded with all the great features every WordPress website owner could dream about. The plugin comes in two flavors: Free and Premium.
Both editions allow you to do complete backups of your database and files. You can choose the manual or automatic scheduled option. The latter ranges from hourly backups to every two weeks and once a month. As for the restoration capabilities, you can get your site back on track right from the admin panel. What can be easier than that?
The Premium version adds more functionality to take your breath away:
- Easy cloning and migrating your WP site to a new host or domain
- Incremental backups (only adding the parts of your website that have changed since the previous version of the backup file was made)
- Cutting-edge emailing and reporting features
- Securely encrypting databases that contain confidential information
- Defining precise times to make, keep, and remove backups
- Setting a password to ensure that only authorized users can access the plugin
… and more.
To sum up, UpdraftPlus is probably the best WordPresss backup plugin you can find on the Internet these days.
This WordPress backup plugin with a telling name shines as a migration tool in the first place. It’s like a conveyor belt at a WordPress site backup factory. All you have to do is preconfigure a version of your website with specific plugins, themes, database, and files.
Then, simply add this assembly to an archive, or package, in the Duplicator’s terminology. That’s it. Now, you can move the package to any location you wish: the cloud storage, your machine, or elsewhere. Need a site with a different theme? Just repeat the process to get yourself a new bundle.
The best thing is that all these manipulations don’t interrupt the normal operation of the website. In addition, you don’t need a WordPress installation wherever you’re going to restore the site.
The Duplicator Pro version provides more bells and whistles:
- Working with multisites and subsites
- Efficient backing up of very large sites thanks to a fast package engine
- Putting a cap on the number of packages you’d like to keep so that less storage space is consumed
- Easy overwriting of existing sites with one click
- Selecting the files to include in a package or exclude from it
- Sending email messages when you need to know something during the backup process
- Multiple storage options
To explore this WordPress backup plugin further, visit its page on the WP repository.
Dictionaries define buddy as a close friend. This is exactly what the BackBuddy WordPress backup and restore plugin will be for your site — a reliable, trustworthy friend. It has all the right features to ensure that no single bit of your data is lost:
- You can completely customize your backup, copying your database and files separately or creating a bundle with all of your WordPress assets securely packed in one place.
- You have multiple options as far as backup times are concerned. Choose the manual method or schedule your backups on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
- The finished backups are presented as zip archives. You can move them to any convenient location, including the company’s own service called BackupBuddy Stash.
- The plugin will send you an email message whenever there’s an issue or important information to impart.
The restoration functionality of the BackupBuddy WordPres backup plugin deserves every bit of praise as well. Just upload the backup file in a zip archive along with the ImportBuddy file. That’s it. The ImportBuddy tool will walk you through every stage of the restoration process. Some great features include:
- The ability to view the contents of different types of files and restore them to their “home bases”
- Almost instant rollback of the database should you erase a record by mistake
- Hassle-free restoration of all your website assets (themes, plugins, files, and more) since BackupBuddy is a WordPress full backup plugin
The BackupBuddy offers no free plan, with the cheapest pricing option currently set at $52 per year. At the end of the day, though, this WordPress backup plugin is worth every cent of your money.
To Sum Up
Among the main methods to secure a WordPress website, backups occupy a leading position. They can help you restore your data whenever you’ve messed up with your database, hackers have broken through your defense, or a plugin update has caused your site to crash.
You can back up your data in a variety of ways. One of the most popular is using a WordPress backup plugin. It provides a convenient method to copy the database and files without having to possess a technical background. It also gives you complete control over when and how you want to back up your data and where you store it.
If you have any questions about the WordPress backup process and tools, our expert WordPress developers are always ready to answer them. We can also handle any WordPress-related task, starting from custom theme creation to helping you migrate your site to another host or domain. Let’s discuss your project today!