If you’ve arrived at this post wondering how-to backup a WordPress site then I just might be able to help you.
I’m on a bit of a backup binge at the moment as I’ve been far too lax with everything for far too long.
I couldn’t actually tell you how many times I’ve had problems with my WordPress sites going down. I don’t blame this on WordPress itself but more so my previous web host whose support engineer I became far too familiar with.
That guy saved my bacon on far too many occasion – but it later dawned on me that was no logical reason that this guy was slowly becoming a digital best friend forever. My website was small, static and relatively undemanding.
I recently made the decision to begin hosting websites on unmanaged cloud virtual private servers instead of using shared hosting. The full advantages and disadvantages of this are perhaps discussion for another post but it goes without saying that this approach means when problems arise you’re pretty much on your own.
Having a regular WordPress backup schedule is an essential consideration for any website owner but I’d bet there’s a huge percentage of people who keep putting it off for a rainy day. Don’t be that person.
Fortunately there are a plethora of WordPress backup plugins out there to help and ensure the smooth running of resolving this very issue. I’ve chugged few a fair few of them but found the whole affair quite tedious.
Do I want to pay for a site license for a website I have no idea will sink or swim that costs as much, if not more, than the hosting will for a full year? Not really.
Do I want a backup service that despite being the bees knees will only allow for manual backups unless I pay an annual fee for scheduling abilities? Not really.
(You might think you have the heart for manual backups to begin with but trust me you’ll soon get lazy).
Don’t get me wrong. If you are running a high-traffic website then I wouldn’t advise you scrimp on a backup solution. Get what’s right for your circumstances.
For everybody else that just wants some peace of mind that their WordPress site database and files are easily recoverable without paying through the nose for the privilege should take a look at the free plugin BackWPup.
Straight out of box BackWPup allows for scheduling database, file and XML export backups at intervals that suit you.
The plugin is slick, smooth and well documented. It really doesn’t get any easier.
You can chose to store the files locally, on Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud Files, SugarSync and/or DropBox.
All of the services above are paid services with the exception of Dropbox which does have a lifelong free 2GB membership which can be expanded upon referring friends to the service.
My recommendation for website backups much like physical local backups is to not rely entirely on one source.
My personal workflow for BackWPup is to schedule a daily local backup with is also mirrored by a daily cloud blackup. Local backups are stored for a total of 30 days. The cloud backups are stored for a total of 60 days.
This is probably on the aggressive side for a backup policy and you might see fit to only write to the cloud once or twice a week and maintain them website copies as the ‘last resort’.
Essentially how you schedule the frequency and how long you maintain your own backup cycles is going to be a question of the size of your websites as well as your web hosting and cloud hosting storage capacities.
Personally in already being a paid user of Rackspace Cloud Files I utilise the API access BackWPup offers to upload to there but the no cost option would be to sign-up for and utilise a free Dropbox account.
The 2GB beginner file allowance is a little on the small side so you’re probably best off scheduling weekly backups to the cloud should you choose to go that route.
BackWPup does unsurprisingly have a Pro version with the most obvious enhancements being the ability to back up to Google Drive as well as performing differential backups (i.e. cross-checking which files have changed and only uploading those that are new and modified) if you would rather save on space.
For me though the free flavouring is more than good enough for job.