Backup Series: Why, How, and Where to Store Your WordPress Backups

WordPress Logo ImageIn the past, I’ve written extensively about improving the performance of your WordPress site. That’s very important work you can do, as speed matters. But what happens if something happens to your site? What if you’re hacked, or the hard drive on your server dies? These are all common events that could leave you high and dry with all your website content gone. Backups will be your best friend should any of these tragedies occur. In this three-part series, we’ll explore how and why to backup your website.

Why should you backup your WordPress website?

A key part of any web strategy should be how to protect your site, and a big part of that is backups.

If you’re using WordPress to manage your website (and you should, it’s a great tool), you have to worry about many pieces and parts — from pages to posts, media to plugins, there’s a lot to keep updated. Backups are key to this.

You should be backing up your WordPress site. Period, full stop. If you are relying on your hosting provider to do it, you may be disappointed. They may not be backing up all your data often enough. Site backups are something that you can easily do yourself, and setting them up will bring you peace of mind.

As you’ll see below, there are many choices when it comes to storing your backups.

Plugins Can Help

Updraft Plus LogoThere are several backup plugins available, many of which are free or have a free tier. I am a user and fan of UpdraftPlus, one of the more popular WordPress backup plugins. It’s a set it and forget it tool that will backup your site files, media, plugins, themes, and more on a schedule you determine.

The only negative about Updraft is that it likes to nag you to upgrade to their paid plan. I have no problem with a plugin developer asking folks to update, but Updraft does it a lot. Credit to Updraft though — they share details here on how to hide their nag messages.

In addition to Updraft, there are many backup plugins, both free and paid, available to download. These include plugins such as BackWPup, which behaves similarly to Updraft in that you can control where you would like your backups stored and how often your backups run. BackupBuddy, available since 2010, also allows you to schedule backups and store them where you’d like.

If you don’t want to manage where your backups are stored, there are plugins that do the heavy lifting for you. These include plugins like VaultPress, which is created by Auttomatic and is part of the JetPack suite. There’s also Snapshot Pro from WPMU Dev, which includes 10GB of cloud backup storage. Snapshot Pro is a paid plugin.

This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of important backup information. Next week, in part two of this series, we’ll explore setting the right backup schedule for your site.

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