Best WordPress Backup Solutions

With the amount of work that goes into maintaining and updating your blog it makes sense that you should regularly back up your data.

Yet many blog owners forget to do this, instead relying on the automated options provided by their web hosts.

This is leaving far too much to chance. If you truly value the blog and the work you (and others) are putting into it then you should be taking steps to ensure that regular backups are made. It might be reasonably straightforward to create a backup of your WordPress installation directory or theme via FTP and to create a dump of the MySQL database in phpMyAdmin, but these can be time consuming and confusing if you’re not technically-minded.

Fortunately there are various time-saving tools and plugins that can manage the creation and download of backups of your WordPress site.

Basic WordPress Export

Built into WordPress is an export utility, located in the Tools section of the Dashboard. While not a full database backup this does however allow you to easily create an export of all of the posts and pages in your blog, with tags and links to images.

Ideally this is designed for migrating a blog, but there is no reason why you wouldn’t want to use it as an easy-to-access backup tool. After all, should anything go wrong with your website and a reinstallation is necessary, then using the exported file via the Import menu option will be very similar to performing a migration.

WP-DB Backup

One of the most popular options you can choose from is the WP-DB Backup plugin, available from http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-db-backup/. There are no bells and whistles with this plugin; while you might schedule backups and have the option of selecting which tables are included, you don’t have the option of backing up WordPress folders such as your theme and plugins.

This is purely – as the name suggests – a backup of the database. Given the fiddling about you might have to go through to create and download a SQL dump on some hosts, however, this isn’t a bad thing.

WP-DB Backup is a useful option to anyone who requires just the SQL data, which can be saved to your server, downloaded to your local computer or emailed (although this last option is restricted by file size).

Backing Up While On the Move

Many bloggers are constantly on the move, perhaps chasing a story, recording events and live casting or even blogging purely from mobile devices.

Whatever the case, maintaining your online presence via your blog always has some behind-the-scenes overheads but fortunately there are various mobile admin tools that you can employ. Some might be designed for use on a mobile device; others, like Online Backup for WordPress (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wponlinebackup/) offer an alternative to the typical download of your backup by providing a complete site archive of settings, pages, posts and comments, as well as any related media, themes and plugins. With the option to save to a 100 MB online drive when you’re on the move, you can also download the data and store it locally.

Complete Site Backups

Other complete site backup solutions are available, providing you with the option of single-click archives of your entire WordPress blog.

EZPZ One Click Backup (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/ezpz-one-click-backup/) is probably the most widely-regarded solution for this, offering not just one-click backups (which can be left on your server or downloaded) but also a simple one-click restore.

Usually restoring a WordPress site can be a difficult process, requiring the uploading of downloaded public_html directories and importing the original posts via SQL or the WordPress import/export tool. With a streamlined one-click restore, however, this is made far easier and quicker.

Lock it in the Vault!

For a much more comprehensive backup solution that is perfectly aligned for use with WordPress is VaultPress, also developed by Automattic. Thanks to the developer’s familiarity with WordPress this service allows online, real-time, continuous and complete backup with one-click data restore that allows you to easily recover from any errors, data loss or hosting issues that you might experience.

In fact, using this option – which has a three-tier payment structure – can prove extremely useful in a disaster recovery scenario thanks to the support and recovery assistance that is provided.

The basic package suitable for sole bloggers is just $15 per month per site. Packages for premium and enterprise-level support can be purchased for $40 and $350 per month, with additional features such as Theme and Plugin Scanning. Head to http://vaultpress.com/ for more details.

Back Up Your Blog to the Cloud

Cloud computing is becoming ever more popular and given that your WordPress blog spends most of its time on a remote server it makes sense to back it up to a similar service.

Whether you already use a content delivery network service such as Amazon S3 or not the WP S3 Backups plugin is a useful option, again ideal to anyone on the move who is unable to download a backup.

Requiring an Amazon S3 account (available from http://aws.amazon.com/s3/) and the security keys that come with it, setting up is a case of copying those details to the plugin’s settings page, then configuring which data you want to sync. If you’re already happy with Amazon S3′s low price cloud storage service then this backup solution is a no-brainer; if you haven’t discovered the benefits of CDNs then it’s also worth pursuing further. Find the plugin at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-s3-backups/.

Storing Backups

Making backups is only one side of the equation, of course. At some point you might need to restore data and in order to do this you will need to keep a record of the backups made and keep them close at hand.

The best way to do this is by downloading the backups to your computer and then burning to optical disc. While a static or removable hard disk drive or tape media is an acceptable option, optical discs (CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray) will allow for greater portability and flexibility when it comes to storing and restoring the data.

Preserve your backups in a clearly labelled, well-indexed environment, preferably air-tight.

About Christian

Christian is a professional freelance writer, blogger and website manager with 8 years' experience producing copy, developing content and collaborating with designers. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

16 Responses to Best WordPress Backup Solutions

  1. Jon W says:

    Hi Christian – no mention of the grandaddy of backup plugins: backupbuddy?

    • zimbrul says:

      You right, BackupBuddy is a grandad: not being able to backup ONE single site with that piece of worthless software as the zip archives comes up corrupted.

  2. Thanks for the article, Christian. We also use Pressbackup for both Amazon S3 and locally stored bakcups. This saved the day recently when upgrading another plugin broke the WP database.

  3. Great article, does EZPZ make a backup of the databases as well?
    Off topic qustion: do you know a good plugin for completely move a WordPress installation to a new host?
    /Joakim

  4. BackWPup (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/backwpup/) is another plugin to make a complete website backup. It works great and it is even possible to store your backup at Amazon, Google Storage, Microsoft Azure, Dropbox, and so on. We haven’t heard many people about this pluing, but we are very satisfied an highly recommend it.

    • Felix says:

      Hi Erwin, thanx for your comment. This one looks good. I’ll check it out.

      • Razib says:

        “BackWPup” is really a great plugin for backing up worpress. It has features to back up your site in cloud storage (google drive, dropbox etc, etc). Very nice plugin.

  5. Christian says:

    There is a wealth of options for the online backup approach – perhaps this is a subject we will need to revisit at some point…

  6. Hi Christian – thank you for gathering this list.

    One additional option available to many WordPress users is to implement a scheduled PHP script to backup the entire website (including d/base and files) and auto-ftp it to a remote host.

    For CPANEL users there are many free scripts available – probably the same number for Windows Hosts also.

    That way – you get the database, and all the files, in a handy compressed bundle – sitting in your remote host ready to be burnt to optical storage or indeed popped onto a USB Key.

  7. Brad says:

    WordPress to dropbox is also another useful one as the number of clients that are using dropbox is growing quickly.

  8. Andrew says:

    Thanks for reviews! I usually work with BackWPup, seems to be a nice plugin as well.

  9. Livius says:

    Thank you Christian. I finally decided on which plugin to use – EZPZ… It took me a while to research and analyze all the options, but as I see a lot of people being satisfied with this complete backup solution I decided to use EZPZ.

  10. Nice little list you have going here. I have used a few of these to varying degrees of success. I’ve also used XCloner which is more than just a wp solution but has a wp plugin as well. very powerful.

    I have however found, working with a wide range of servers, every single one of these plugins has some flaws or problems depending on the server setup and all of them end up giving an issue at some point or other either in the backup process or the restoration process.

    backupbuddy is really powerful but has loads of problems in certain types of server setups.

    If anyone can recommend something which has performed well across a wide range of server types, even if it’s not a plugin I would appreciate the advice. I need to move wp sites on a regular basis and need a toolset which can get around many server issues.

    I recommend you guys give XCloner a try as well, it’s free and very powerful though doesn’t have a very fancy UI

  11. Drummer says:

    Nice post man. You helped me to decide and solve this problem ( backup ). My choice is BackWPup.

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