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Backing Up WordPress

Backing up your website is one of the most important ways you an protect your business from extended down time.  Server crash.  Hackers hack.

When you select a backup solution you want to make certain you not only backup the source files but the database as well.  Without the database your WordPress site is nothing but a shell.    Most hosting backups will only backup the files on your server.  Better hosting backups will know about any SQL database, including the WordPress MySQL database, IF it was created through the hosting control panel.  Command line created database files are hit-or-miss depending on the sophistication of the backup system.

Another issue is scheduling of backups and off-site storage.  Most shared hosts do not have scheduling software.  That means manually backing up your site which means eventually you forget or are too busy and backups do not get completed.   Many shared hosts also do not backup to an “off server” location.  That means your backup file is living in a directory right next to your main site.   Server crashes and your backup is toast.

While there are a number of backup plugins available for WordPress, I have found the better solutions are always a paid option.    They have an interest in keeping the system working.  In the past 3 years I’ve used at least 4 different free or “backup to your own Amazon S3 account” (where you only pay Amazon storage fees) solutions.   Every one either broke, couldn’t handle certain fails, failed restores, or … in the  most recent case with Updraft Plus, filled up the log file with 39GB of incorrect parameter warnings.

At the end of the day I find myself once again going back to the folks at Automattic and their Jetpack series of add-ons.   I am now using VaultPress and it is by far the most refined UX (user experience) of all those I’ve used.  Yes, there is still room for improvement on the user interface but it is pretty darn solid (and a lot better than most of my own plugin interfaces).    The backups from JetPack get shot out over the ether and into the “WordPress cloud”, the myriad of servers and redundant systems that run the public WordPress blog “megaverse”.    I’ve not seen that service go offline even once in the past 3 years (unlike Amazon S3) so I have some faith in the backup being there when I really need it.    Of course I will do my monthly full backup and pull it to my 2TB USB-3 drive I have sitting right here so I can get my hands on it, but for the daily course of business I will be trusting VaultPress from Automattic to take care of my site.

Thus far $15/month is well worth the peace of mind and hopefully avoids the 39GB error logs and “suddenly unavailable” issues I’ve seen in too many other plugins.   Backup is too important to “go cheap”.


2 thoughts on “Backing Up WordPress

  1. Ironically, Automattic’s latest update to Jetpack broke my site. 3 other users piled into the same bug report with the same problem… after a fortnight, they still haven’t fixed it.

    I fixed the bug you reported with the hour… 🙂

    1. Very true David. I don’t mean to portray Jetpack as infallible. The bigger point is that in the grand scheme of things paying $15/month for a premium plugin is not a big price to pay for a service like this. Just like the premium option you are working on, more WordPress users need to consider paying when support & service is important. You provide that even for free plugins which is great and I’m sure any issues with Updraft will be addressed as they come up.

      As with any plugin, some plugins play better in various configurations and environments than others. My plugins work great on many sites but on others there are numbers of issues. The complexity of operating systems, theme variations, and plugins make it nearly impossible to have any plugin work across all installations. The extensibility of WordPress is the best feature, IMO, but also opens the door to compatibility issues between plugins.

      Great response on the patch, by the way, very admirable.

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