Backing up your WordPress site is essential. Without it, you run the risk of losing all of your hard work if something goes wrong. If your hosting provider loses your data, your site is hacked or you simply want to roll back to an earlier version of your site, keeping regular backups will save you a lot of work – and a lot of stress.
Since Snapshot was launched we’ve added sooo much new stuff! Head over to the project page to check out all the new features.
But backing up isn’t something you’re going to want to keep on doing manually. Keeping backups only works if it’s automated, with regular snapshots being taken of your site so that you have constant access to a recent backup you can restore if things go wrong. Which is where backup plugins come in.
In this post I’ll review seven of the top backup plugins for WordPress. All of these are premium or freemium (meaning there’s a free version and a paid for version), because when I was researching this post I found that if you want a backup plugin that’ll make the process of backing up and restoring your site quick and easy, you generally have to pay for it. And this is something that’s worth paying for – imagine what it would cost you if you had to take time out to recreate your site from scratch or even worse, your clients’ sites?
Disclaimer: I’m sure there are many readers who use plugins not on this list, including free ones, and are perfectly happy with them. As with all reviews, there is going to be an element of subjectivity in this post and my reviews will reflect my experience of researching or testing these plugins.
- 1 What Makes a Great Backup Plugin?
- 2 Snapshot
- 3 VaultPress
- 4 ManageWP
- 5 BackupBuddy
- 6 BlogVault
- 7 BackWPUp
- 8 BackUpWordPress
- 9 Overall – Backup Plugins Compared
- 10 Summary
What Makes a Great Backup Plugin?
In this post I’ve focused on plugins which make the process of backing up, migrating and restoring your site easy, reliable and hassle-free. The plugins I’ll rate most highly will have the following features:
- Automated backup scheduling, with the flexibility for you to choose what you back up and how often.
- A choice of locations to store your backups, including third party services such as Dropbox and Amazon S3.
- Backups stored for as long as you need with no time limit.
- Straightforward migration or restoring via the WordPress admin screens or the provider’s website.
- Quality one to one support.
- Detailed documentation on the provider’s website.
- Flexible billing plans (where appropriate), with monthly or annual options and different prices for different needs.
- Support for WordPress Multisite without having to pay extra for each site in your network.
Not all of the plugins I’ve reviewed here meet all of those criteria, but what I’ve listed above is what the ideal plugin will boast. So let’s take a look at some plugins.
- Flexible automated backups, with the option to have multiple snapshots with different content and regularity
- Support for third party storage services including Dropbox, Amazon S3, FTP/sFTP, Google Drive and GreenQloud
- No limit on how long backups are stored
- One click migration and restore from the WordPress admin
- One-to-one support with fast response times
- Documentation and how to videos
- Option to buy just this plugin for a month or to subscribe to the full suite of WPMU DEV themes and plugins annually
- WordPress Multisite support at no extra cost per site
- Annual subscription can be expensive if you don’t need access to the full range of WPMU DEV themes and plugins
- Backups run in the background with no input from the user
- One-click restore and migration
- Monthly or annual billing
- Storage on Automattic’s own servers
- One-to-one support
- Support for WordPress Multisite – but at extra cost
- No option to store your data using third party services
- Documentation is less comprehensive than for some other plugins
- Each site in a Multisite Network is charged as a separate site, which can add up
- Flexible storage options with the ability to select what’s backed up and when
- Support for third party storage including Dropbox, Amazon S3, Google Drive, FTP/SFTP and email.
- One-click restore from the ManageWP dashboard
- One to one support via tickets
- Monthly and annual billing options
- Extra services included such as SEO and security checks
- Migrations are done via cPanel and FTP – no 1-click migration
- No support for WordPress Multisite
- Automated backups with flexible options for scheduling and content
- Support for third party storage services including Amazon S3, Dropbox, Backspace Cloud, FTP or email.
- Online documentation and tutorials
- Custom backup profiles so you can backup different files or tables at different intervals
- Flexible pricing depending on the number of sites to be backed up
- Extra tools including individual file restore, malware scan and database mass text replacement
- Migration and restore involves uploading a script – no options for one–click restore
- Support via forums – not as user-friendly as for some services
- No support for WordPress Multisite
- No monthly payment option
- Automated backups with option to amend scheduling
- Backups are stored on BlogVault’s servers and on Amazon S3 and (optionally) Dropbox
- Online documentation – but not as comprehensive as for some plugins
- Supports Multisite – but only up to three sites
- One to one support
- Backups only stored for 30 days
- Restores are done manually using FTP and phpMyAdmin
- No option to exclude specific files or tables from backups
- Limited range of third party storage services supported
- If you have more than three sites (i.e. your main domain and two sites) in your Multisite network, you’ll have to pay again
- Automatic backup scheduling
- Support for free and premium users via forum
- Supports Multisite
- Free version available
- Multiple storage options available with the premium version
- Backing up files didn’t work when I tested it – only the database was backed up
- Restores and migrations have to be done manually using phpMyAdmin
- No monthly payment option
- Online documentation isn’t very clearly worded
- Flexible backup options – choose what to back up and when
- Range of third party storage options with premium version including FTP/SFTP, Dropbox, Googe Drive, Amazon S3, Dreamhost Dream Objects, Rackspace Cloud and Microsoft Azure
- Free version available
- Email support for free and premium users (with priority given to premium users)
- Backups managed via WordPress admin
- Online documentation – above average for free plugins, not as comprehensive as for some other premium plugins
- Multisite Support
- Restore and migration has to be done manually via FTP and phpMyAdmin
- Plans just for single site or unlimited sites, with nothing in between
Overall – Backup Plugins Compared
Of all the plugins I’ve reviewed here, Snapshot is the one which comes the closest to meeting all of my criteria – in fact, it meets all of the criteria except for price, as it is expensive if you don’t want access to all of WPMU DEV’s other plugins and themes. However, I believe that secure, reliable and user-friendly backups are worth every penny you spend on them so I think that it’s worth the money.
If your budget is tight, however, and you decide to go for the free version of a freemium plugin, I would certainly recommend the BackUpWordPress plugin. Like all free plugins it requires you to restore or migrate your site manually, but it’s far more reliable than the BackWPUp and has better documentation.
It’s worth considering which plugins will work best for different WordPress setups:
- If you’re running Multisite, Snapshot is the only plugin which will include all of the sites in your network for no extra fee and let you make one-click restores.
- If you’re running a single site installation and prefer not to set up backups yourself but have it all done for you, then VaultPress will meet your needs.
- If you’re running single site and want your data stored where you want it but prefer using the plugin’s website to manage your backups, then ManageWP could be for you.
- If you want to manage your single site backups from the WordPress admin and have easy options for restoring your site, then I’d recommend Snapshot.
- If you don’t want to spend any money and are comfortable restoring your site manually, then I’d recommend BackUpWordPress, which gives you the option to start out with the free version and upgrade if you want more flexibility later.
What do you use to backup your WordPress website? Let us know your favorite backup solution in the comments below.
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