Back Ups for WordPress Websites | Blogs

by Eileen Lonergan October 22nd, 2012 

Backups - a part of the process we don't really like to talk about until we want to talk about it. If we don't talk about it, maybe it just won't be an issue, right? Well, not really, backups are pretty important. If you lost $20 would you feel bad? Probably slightly bummed, so how devistated would you (or a client) be if you lost an entire website? All the content, images, posts, COMMENTS! All of that hard work evaporating into a little wisp of nothingness into the cloud would be hard to take. So here I am in my Super Girl cape with some tips: Backing Up WordPress Blogs - what you need to know.

WordPress is awesome, but there are reasons for backups:
1. You could edit a files and make a mistake (well you probably won't, but I have).
2. You get hacked.
3. Your server gets attacked.
4. A plugin doesn't play nicely with another plugin or has a conflict when you upgrade.

We have established backing up is a good procedure so:

  • How often? Depends on how often you make updates, weekly is probably fine for most of us. If you are a designer and have completed a site, a backup zip file emailed to a client is a good idea. You keep a copy on your hard drive and they can keep one on theirs. If you are in building mode, or if you are a daily blogger, then update daily.

First, just in case you don't know, WordPress is comprised of two sections: your files and databases. You need to make sure you have a system in place that backs up all files and databases.

WordPress Files | Database

Here are some options:

1. BackupWordPress by HumanMade (Free) I like this one and use it often. If you go into the settings you can set a regular backup schedule. You can have a file emailed to you (or your client), or you can download a zip file to your computer.

2. WordPress Backup to Dropbox (Free) Now this one is helpful because not only can you backup both files and databases, it automatically stores them in DropBox, which means they are in a different location (not your hard drive or server). You also aren't using memory on your hard drive and you can share access to the file with the client.

3. BlueHost SitePro Backup - this is inexpensive and obviously only if you are hosted with BlueHost, check your hosting provider for their products ($)

4. BackupBuddy ($$) I don't use BackupBuddy, so can't comment on it personally, but I know plenty of people who can't live without the service.

5. VaultPress ($$$) I suggest that you look into Vault Press if you run a big site, e-commerce, anything that is absolutely mission critical. They offer phone support and will walk you through the restoration of files (even comments).

So, while a bit unglamorous, backing up your WordPress sites is important. If I have not mentioned a plugin or procedure that works well for you, would you be kind enough to share in the comments? Thank you!

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Top photo credit: Flickr

Eileen Lonergan

Eileen Lonergan is a WordPress website designer, a ghost blogger, and manages social media for a variety of clients.

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15 Responses to “Back Ups for WordPress Websites | Blogs”

  1. Kevin Holdridge says:

    A couple more for the list…. I've used BackWPup with some success. I found, though, that BackWPup and other products often struggled to backup to Dropbox. I think that's to do with Dropbox's api, and it seemed to be more of a problem with bigger sites. Nowadays I set clients up with BackWPup dumping to a free Dropbox account created specifically for the purpose – they get the credentials and its their 'insurance' copy. Meanwhile, I store our in house copies of the sites using Myrepono. It's a paid service but quite reasonable, and it has a decent WP plugin (much improved in mst recent release). Sorry to sound like a Myrepono fanboy (I have no affiliation), but it has taken a while and lots of experimentation to get to our current solution and I'm quite pleased with it.

    • Kevin, thank you so much for the information on Myrepeno, I haven't heard of it and it sounds super useful. I really like the idea of the "insurance" copy for clients.

  2. Brian says:

    I need to start doing manual backups of my sites instead of relying on my Bluehost account which does it automatically every few days. Speaking of Bluehost, be careful when talking to customer support about your databases and deleting them, they may suggest deleting an unused database (if you're getting near your file limit) which they say is unused but really is used. That happened to me and I lost an entire website. Oh well, I keep living and learning. Hope it doesn't happen to anyone reading this.

  3. Karl Gephart says:

    BackupBuddy is especially awesome for migrating a WordPress site between domains, especially useful if you're a Web designer! Love it!

    • People who love BackUp Buddy LOVE BackUp Buddy! It seems like an awesome option and a great product. I think you are right, it is awesome for designers. Thanks Karl!

  4. I usually have a copy of posts on my hard drive, which I backup regularly with the rest of my system.

  5. Julie Larson says:

    Timely post, Eileen! We've been using BackupBuddy for backing up and this weekend I had the opportunity to use it to move 4 sites. It's incredible and only takes a few minutes to move a site!

    I do have to thank my friend, Doug Smith for Skyping me through the first few sites!

    Plus, we've scheduled the backups to be stored on our Amazon S3 account. The best part is that it was all done through the File Manager in the cPanel. Sorry…I must sound like a commercial! lol

    Great post, Eileen!

  6. Javi says:

    Not sure why VaultPress charges a load of money for virtually providing the same service that a LOT of other plugins offer for free or close-to-nothing. Personally, Dropbox to WP is a gem of a tool, and has been a life-saver! It takes a bit of time to create a backup when run for the first time (depending the size of your WordPress database), however I've set it to make weekly backups and those take a few minutes at most.

    • Well Javi, in my book less $ is more; however, I know that Vault Press offers support, which is very helpful. So for someone like me, who slips into panic mode every now and again when things are down, to have a number to call is pretty fantastic!

  7. Thank you Julie. I think perhaps a blog post on BackupBuddy may be really helpful, so many people seem to be using it with great success. Four sites in one weekend is lights out productive in my opinion!

  8. It's always someone else's site that crashes until it's yours.

    It's hard to stress the importance of making sure your website is backed up regularly. As freelance web developer I saw plenty of sites that were hit by hackers and server crashes, where years of work were only saved because we had a backup.

    Think of it as a rock solid insurance policy.

  9. S. Negm says:

    Thank you for your post Eileen, however I was curious to know if you had some advice for me. I am looking for an extention that will not only back-up my WordPress database but would also make an image/ghost copy of the entire site. I was told that there is such an extention though the person who had mentioned this to me forgot the name of that extention and I seem to have difficulty finding it or one similar.

    If you know of such an extention, I would really appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction. Once again, I'd like to thank you for the time you took to write this article and for helping strangers of the online community.