Creating a website is a fun experience when things are going right. However, the the experience can quickly turn sour if a problem arises with your WordPress website. For example, you may fall victim to a malicious hacker, or succumb to corrupt data when installing a new theme or plugin. Or perhaps you simply made a change that you wish you hadn’t, and now have no way of going back. Encountering problems with your site can be frustrating, even more so when you have no idea on how to restore it.
WordPress is normally a safe and reliable content management system for your website. But sometimes despite all your precautions, something might go awry. Say you lose your website, how would you go about restoring it to its former glory?
Backups are the answer. They’re one of the best – and most reliable – defenses against any form of threat towards your site. With a regular backup schedule in place, all you have to do is restore your content and you’re up and running again.
Manual versus Automatic Backups (aka with a Plugin)
Manual backups will work for a small website with a small number of viewers and a small staff, but as your website audience and staff grows in size, you can seldom afford to allow your website to go offline. Whilst manual backups offer more choice, it is definitely more cumbersome to keep manually backing up your website. You can read more about to how to use manual backups in our full guide on how to backup WordPress.
Generally website admins are far too busy to manually back up their websites and failure to backup regularly can leave your website susceptible to avoidable downtime, should your website lose any data or fall victim to a hack. Or if your host’s servers come under attack physical (Any natural disaster, take your pick) or otherwise. For a website with a respectably large audience, it is best that you use a premium back up service or plugin. And even if your website isn’t a very popular one, you should still employ a free plugin at the very least.
Even if you are on a tight budget, spending a little extra on a backup service is money well spent. These services do all of the heavy lifting for you, so you can sleep soundly know that your WordPress site is in good hands. But we’ve done our best to include the best of the best WordPress backup plugins – free and premium. So just because your budget doesn’t give you enough wiggle room for one of the paid options we mention, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find an awesome free plugin to help you regularly backup your site.
The official backup service provided by Automattic, VaultPress provides a plethora of back up choices ranging from the most basic starting at $2/mo to the advanced priced at $20/mo. In fact, we trust VaultPress to backup WPExplorer each and everyday.
VaultPress can create and hold an up to date copy of your website with daily/realtime syncing of all your WordPress content and provide automated restore options. In addition, a security scan is performed to keep you informed of any possible threats to site security.
It is very easy to look though the back up archive and decide which back up you might want to use. With VaultPress, you can easily restore your website with an FTP or SSH connection. You can download your backups and save it on any portable storage device or upload it to any online storage website like Google Drive or Dropbox. If you ever have any trouble with restorations, VaultPress provides great support to help you with website restoration.
For $29/mo, you get spam protection, automated restores, real time backups, security scanning, full backup archive and safekeeper support. The most minimal plan Lite, provides daily backup, automated restores, safekeeper support and a 30 day backup archive.
You can use VaultPress for multiple websites with only one account. And you can access all backups by installing VaultPress Plugin.
With WPvivid you can backup, restore and migrate your site – but right now we’re going to focus on the backups. The free plugin includes features for automated backups, cloud storage support (Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, SFTP, etc), once click restore, one-click backups, no backup size limits, and more. The plugin is also compatible with the popular MainWP site manager, so you can easily manage backups for all of your websites. And it plays nice with page builders like Elementor, SiteOrigin and Beaver Builder.
WPvivid Pro adds even more options for incremental backups, multisite support, remote storage, advanced scheduling, user role capabilities and more.
WPvivid Pro 30% Off
WPvivid is an all-in-one backup, restore and migrate plugin that’s already a great deal (it’s basically 3 plugins in one). But with our code wpexplorer30 new customers can save 30% – making this plugin an even sweeter deal.
3. BackupBuddy by iThemes
Use BackupBuddy to backup and restore WordPress websites seamlessly and without much effort at all. You can save your back up anywhere via Amazon web services, Dropbox, Rackspace Cloud, FTP and email.
With BackUp Buddy you can run frequent database backups or complete backups, use offsite storage options, use BackUp Buddy Stash storage, schedule backups, exclude certain files from being backed up and create backup profiles.
Restoration is very easy to follow, even for a WordPress newbie. BackUp Buddy can help transport your WordPress site to another domain or host easily. Other features of BackUp Buddy include email notifications, backup storage limits, individual file storage, malware scans, Database text replacements, database scan & repair and interactive site directory map.
UpdraftPlus is an effective and highly popular freemium plugin that helps create backups of your WordPress website on Amazon S3, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud, Dropbox, FTP, SFTP, SCP, OpenStack Swift, WebDAV and even via email.
With this option, you’ll be able to make complete backups of your WordPress site quickly, and store them either on the cloud or download them straight to your computer. The plugin also supports both scheduled and on-demand backups, and allows for different schedules for your website’s files and databases.
Use Updraft to perform quick restores, auto backups with repeating schedules, migrate sites, select specific files to backup and download backup archives. If an upload stops prematurely or fails, the plugin reattempts the failed upload. Encrypt database backups with the premium version of the plugin. This plugin works in multiple languages and translation work is ongoing. The free version will be suitable for the majority of users, although the premium version offers a whole host of additional features, including access to priority support.
A secure backup system that helps WordPress users create backups automatically, perform auto restorations, migrate sites and view backups for up to 30 days. You can save any backup you want from the back up archive to Dropbox. You can test-run back ups on BlogVault servers, to check if the selected backup is the one you wanted.
With BlogVault you can also enable a feature for real-time backups. Meaning, as you make changes to your site BlogVault will take note and update corresponding files. This way your site content is always safe!
Other notable features include incremental backups, free offsite storage, multisite support, integrated staging, table backups for WooCommerce stores and an amazing support team ready to help 24/7.
Duplicator is migration plugin that you can use to tack backup snapshots of your website. The free plugin allows you to clone your WordPress site and create manual backups on demand. It created a complete backup of your WordPress files, site content, database, themes and plugins packaged up in a zip file.
There’s also a pro version available for backup scheduling, cloud storage connection, email notifications and more.
BackWPup is another freemium plugin that can perform automated backups of WordPress sites, perform WordPress XML export, optimize, check & repair databases.
The backups can be stored via FTP servers, Dropbox, Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace cloud, Sugar Sync and in the pro versions to Amazon Glacier and Google Drive. And if you ever need more features or support, simply upgrade to the premium version of the plugin.
Snapshot is a plugin by WPMU DEV that creates backups of all content, entire database or specific tables. The plugin can be scheduled to perform automated backups and you can save your back ups to Dropbox, Amazon S3 or SFTP. The plugin is a part of the WPMUdev membership and includes support for one-click backup and restore, automated backups, multisite support and even includes 10GB of WPMUdev cloud storage.
Easily create a backup of your site with BackupGuard. The plugin has tons of backup features for creating an unlimited number of site backups, individual file or folder backups, and even multisite backups. Plus it’s easy to schedule, export or import your backups. And BackupGuard offers a unique progress bar so you can see where you’re at in your backup (or even cancel it if you want).
A backup system that creates a backup of everything on your WordPress site. The setup process shouldn’t be too difficult for someone who’s been using WordPress for a while, the backups are created automatically and you can monitor any changes to files on your network.
Restoration can be done by downloading the zip file and performing manual restore, or selecting certain files to restore or the easy way would be choosing an automatic full restore. With plans ranging from $39-$239/mo it might sound a bit expensive, but it’s really not when you take into consideration that it’s protecting your site.
Our penultimate choice – WPBackItUp – is a solid contender for backing up your site, with a unique pricing structure. Backing up your site and restoring it manually is completely free. However, if you want to take advantage of one-click restore options (along with a number of other features), you’ll need to pay $79 for the premium version.
On the whole, WPBackItUp is a solid alternative to other solutions for backing up your WordPress website. Their support and documentation is excellent, which means you’ll arguably not need anything more than the free version to protect your site.
12. All-in-One WP Migration
All-in-One WP Migration is exactly what it sounds like – a plugin that setups you up for success when moving your website. But you can use the plugin to just export a backup of your site. Simply log into your site, navigate to the All-in-One WP Migration plugin section and click the big green Export button. And the plugin includes WP-CLI integration so you can create backups and exclude files (like spam comments, posts revisions, inactive plugins, etc) with quick commands.
Why Website Backups are so Important
Put simply, a backup is a copy of your website that’s uploaded elsewhere (such as on your server, or to a file hosting service like Dropbox). They’re essential for making sure you have a way to restore your site when things go wrong. For example, imagine an error affecting your e-commerce site. If you have no backup – and no way of recovering your lost data – it’s going to massively affect your entire business. While the outlook could be grim, having a backup strategy in place – even a simple one – will save your bacon.
On the whole, backing up your website can help you safeguard against a number of threats, including:
- Website hackers. While some hackers aim to steal sensitive information, many will hack websites just to prove they can. If you have a website, you’re already at risk.
- Malware and viruses. Malicious threats such as viruses, trojans, and other malware can find their way into your website through WordPress plugins, and damage or steal your data. Although WordPress is secure, it’s still not 100% infallible. Past versions of WordPress have been hit, and having a secure full backup means you’ll be prepared for the worst case scenario.
On the whole, backups are crucially important – but just as key is your overall schedule. Let’s take a look at how to go about it.
Creating a Backup Schedule
A backup schedule is simply the frequency at which you perform backups. This could be a weekly or monthly backup, although the frequency can vary based on your own unique requirements. However, regardless, we recommend carrying out regular backups.
Creating a backup schedule is a relatively straightforward process. While you could carry out a few simple calculations (including factoring in your traffic levels), the reality is that if you’re backing up regularly and often using your chosen solution’s built-in features, you should be good to go.
Having said that, you do not want to be storing copies of every single backup you make in the one place. Instead you strive to have at least one local backup with a second copy stored offsite. Again, plugins can help you with this, and many offer a way to store backups externally.
Just to reiterate – backups are vital. They help you to get back online quickly and easily after an issue, and more importantly, help minimize the downtime experienced by your visitors. And in the end there is really no good reason (not a single one) to not backup your website. It’s better to be safe than sorry – which is exactly why backing up your website is highly advocated. Even if you were to feel that your website isn’t going to lose much in the way of traffic/revenue because of a little down time, you could still potentially lose everything you’ve put up on your website.
I’d definitely recommend that at the very least you get a free plugin to help safeguard your WordPress site. And make sure to always take a backup up as you publish new posts, as well as before and after major updates to your WordPress installation, themes and plugins (or at the very least once a month just to be safe).
Have you tried any of the options in our best WordPress backup plugins roundup? Or did we miss your favorite backup plugin? Let us know in the comments section – we’d love to hear from you!