How-to backup a WordPress site (for free!)

If you’ve arrived at this post wondering how-to backup a WordPress site then I just might be able to help you.

How to backup a WordPress site (for free!)

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.

Backup WordPress Site

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 absolutely free 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.

The easiest Android photo backup solution?

Having cradled an iPhone 4 for what must have been 3-4 years I’ve recently ‘converted’ to an HTC One M8 and am now living an Android life.

My iPhone had served me incredibly well. Indeed that is a bloody impressive lifespan for a mobile phone! But the time had come to put it to bed as the gap in performance with the comparative phones of today was becoming too much.

I stopped taking photos or even caring about taking photos in the twilight years of my iPhone’s life as it became a bit slow and unresponsive. The HTC One M8 has peaked my interest again.

How-to backup your Android photos to the cloud

With the sheer volume of cloud hosting services available right now it is unforgivable in today’s age to not have an appropriate backup system in place for an item as important as a mobile phone.

HTC Backup does a great job of taking nightly snapshots of my phones integral personal and application data but what it doesn’t do is look after my photos.

Android actually has a native photo backup solution in the form of Google+ but to be frank it left me uneasy.

With Google+ installation comes the app Photos which integrates directly with your personal profile and features the option to automatically upload an infinite number of your personal photos to the service and store them privately.

Whilst that kind of storage capability is unbeatable (albeit normally at a slightly reduced resolution) it doesn’t take away from the fact that reviewing your photos involves trawling through that clunky social media platform that nobody cares to use and that the ease of making your albums public to the world is an unnerving click of a button or two away.

I’m sure a great number of people will disagree with me on this and are more than happy to host their personal photos privately with Google+ but it wasn’t ever going to work for me.

I am surprised though that Android seems not to have a more likeable default photo backup option utilising Google Drive although one suspects the Google+ link-up is another attempt by the “don’t be evil” crew to try and steal some of the limelight Facebook refuses to give up.

It’s without doubt that backing up to Google Drive feels a lot more natural and comfortable whilst offering the added bonus on allowing you to sync your photos once more to your laptop or desktop computer if you run the Google Drive application for Mac OS X or Windows.

So how to do it?

The answer lies in a great little free application called Gallery Drive Sync which will sync any photo directory of your choosing to Google Drive immediately and/or every 60 minutes with an option to backup via Wifi only if your data plan is particularly restrictive.

Android Photo Backup

Upgrading to the Pro version at a price point of $1.95 sees that you can set your own time interval, sync videos and also allow for keeping your Google Drive and phone folders perfectly mirrored in what you delete from your cloud storage can also be replicated on your phone.

Personally I am yet to upgrade but can see how that last feature would be in particularly useful as you amass photos as for me I’d much prefer to sort and delete files from my laptop rather than mess about on a phone.

The only limitation with using an app like this would be your storage allowance. As a non-paying Google account holder this currently sits at 15GB of which I’m sure is ample for most.

There are no doubt a catalogue of similar Android apps for utilising alternative services. In fact I’m pretty sure the official Dropbox app has in-built camera upload functionality but unless you’re paying the monthly service fee or have significantly bumpered your storage space from friend referrals then the 2GB available from the basic plan over time isn’t likely gonna cut it.

WTF is this shiz?

The reckless wandering of a novice internet marketer sees many projects come and go.

This blog in fact was originally set-up with little ambition other than to scoop up affiliate commissions from any product I could get my hands on.

It worked. Kind of.

For the very limited amount of attention I gave this domain I succeeded covering the fees for a couple of years of web hosting. But I took it no further.

The blog didn’t interest me. The content didn’t interest me.

It was the kind of crap, dull, regurgitated nonsense you’d expect from any newbie blogger hoping to make their mark in the world of internet monies.

We don’t need another one of those.

So here we are at Laboratory Blog 2.0 and what’s changed?

I’ve started this site back up again because basically I want to start writing again.

I’ve learnt a lot in the last year and a half.

I find myself in a new world of exciting challenges and innovation and its about time I began sharing what I know.

This blog will be a smattering of thoughts, ideas and processes from what I’ve discovered myself.

I hope that you find some use for it as much as I have the willpower to keep writing it.

I’m making no promises… But let’s see where this goes. ;)