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2.2 Installing and Configuring the UpdraftPlus Plugin

In this lesson, I'll show you how to install UpdraftPlus and configure it to perform regular backups.

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2.2 Installing and Configuring the UpdraftPlus Plugin

Hello, and welcome back to this Tuts+ course on Essential WordPress Plugins. In this part of course, we're going to install and configure a backup plugin. And that plugin will be the UpdraftPlus plugin. Now, I'm gonna be installing the free version of the plugin. But you can also upgrade that to a premium version to get more features, which we'll look at during this part of the course. So let's start by going to our Dashboard and clicking on Plugins > Add New. And then I'm gonna type in backup, I'll install that, and then click on Activate to activate it. And now you can either go via the Settings here, Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups. Or when you've just added installed the plugin, you can click on the button it provides you with to start, and I'm gonna do that. So you can start by making a manual backup, and it's a good idea to do that before you get started because then you've got a backup of your site. So that's safely there, sitting there on the server for the time being as a backup. Or you can get it sent to you. But I'm not gonna do it for now because it will take a little while to run. And instead, I'm gonna show you how to set up and run backups using this plugin. So up here, you can see there's some information about how to use the plugin as well. So the first thing we need to look at is this screen here, and this is the backup restore screen. And this is the one that you use to simply make a quick backup of your site. So if you click that Backup Now button, it will ask you if you want to include your database and your files in the backup. So database means all of the content that you've added, all of the contents of your posts and your pages. Files includes not only the WordPress files themselves, and your plugins, and themes, and so forth, it also includes your uploads. So if you then click Backup Now, it will make a backup for you. And it will run that in the background while you're doing other things on your site. And because this is a fresh installation of WordPress, this backup doesn't actually take very long to run at all. Now, this backup will just have been stored on my server. And if I wanted to, I could restore it. So I go down here, I've got my backup here, and I simply click on Restore to restore my backup. And I'm given options here as to what I want to restore, so I'll just restore the uploads. So let's imagine something goes wrong with that particular folder, and my restore is now successful. So that was really, really quick. Now, obviously, if you wanted to run a restore on a site that you'd been running for a while and it had lots of content, and you were restoring the database as well, it would take longer. But that shows you how with a free version of this plugin, restoring your site is really, really simple, and you've got a single button to do it. Now, if you ever do have an emergency and you need to restore your site, the important thing is to make sure that you're using a backup that you know is clean. So if your site has been hacked, for example, you'll need to identify when that happened, or at least you'll need to identify when your site was last clean/. So when did you last go on your site, work on it, and you know it was clean, and then you back it up from that. Now, if you want to be really sort of belt and braces and do it properly, you would do so on a copy of your site. So you'd use a staging version of your site or a local version of your site. Staging version is best because it's on the same server. And you'd have that set up to do the same backups, and you'd restore a backup to that and you'd test it thoroughly before you backed up your live site. Or you might decide to back up your live site, sorry, to restore your live site first so you've got a working site, which may not be bang up to date, but you know you've got a working site. And then you can do a little bit more work to identify when the last clean backup is so you can then restore from that. Which might add a little bit more content and a little bit more in the way of uploads to your restored site. So anyway, that's restoring, nice and simple with this plugin. Let's have a look at how we configure it to run automatic backups, which is the most important part of setting up a backup plugin. So I'll click on the Settings tab here, and here I have the backup schedule. Now, I want to run this automatically, and I'm gonna set it to run weekly, because I'm not gonna be adding anything to this site any more than once a week. You can also tell it how many backups to keep. So I'm gonna keep four, so that'll keep a month's worth of backups. And the same for the database, so I'll back up the database weekly, I'll keep four. Now, you could have these on separate schedule. So you could back up your files every week and backup your database every day. The only problem with that is that files includes uploads. And so if you're adding new content every day and you're including uploads in that content, images and videos and so forth, you'll then end up when you restore with posts that might not have all the media in them. So it's up to you really as to whether you want to maximize the effectiveness and the thoroughness of your backups and do both of those every day, if you want to do daily. Or whether you want to take the risk of not backing up your files quite so often. And then if you do need to do a restore, you might need to manually upload some of those files again. So I have set my schedule to weekly and I'm retaining four. And it'll automatically remove more than four from the server. It won't remove them from the third party location that you send them to, because the plugin has no control over Dropbox, or Google Drive, or whatever you're using. Now, here it gives you remote storage options. So you can only send it to one place with the free version of the plugin. If you wanted to send it to multiple places, you would have to get the premium plugin. So here, if you go on the Premium tab here, it gives you the option to upgrade or to add some specific add-ons to it. So if you scroll down, you can see all the options here for the plugin. And you can see there are also other plugins that are designed to be compatible with this plugin as well. So let's go back to our Settings. So we've still got weekly and retaining four backups. I'm going to back up my files to Dropbox because that's where I prefer to keep my backups. But you can use any of these locations as well, but bear in mind, you can only use one of them. If it's really crucial that you keep your site safe as houses, you might want to upgrade to the premium version and keep it in more than one place. So we then need to authenticate with Dropbox, but we'll do that after we save the settings. So I'm gonna include plugins, themes, and uploads. And it then gives you things to exclude, so backups, you don't want to be excluding backups, you don't want to be backing up backups. And then in wp-content, you've got things like upgrades and backups and things like that. You don't want to be backing those up because you don't need those when you restore. So stick with the defaults and you won't go far wrong. Now, again, you've got premium features here, such as encrypting your database backup, which will give you more security. And you can check the box to have a report sent to your site's email address, which I'm going to do. Now, here we have expert settings, and these are more complex. And as it says here, unless you've got a problem or you're curious, you don't really need those. So let's, well, I can't unshow them, so I will just go through those. And I can automatically update the plugin if I want to, or alternatively, I can use this other plugin by the same plugin developers called Easy Updates Manager. Now, I haven't included that plugin in Essential WordPress Plugins here, but is one that's useful if you want to automate things on your site. So now I'm gonna save the changes, it takes me back up to my Dropbox, and I need to click on this link to authorize access to Dropbox. And then that takes me into Dropbox, and I will sign in and authorize Dropbox. So you just follow the instructions on the screen and do what it tells you to. So you then get this big screen that just tells you to press the button for complete setup. And it will do that, it will create a folder in your Dropbox where your backups are kept. And it will automatically copy your backups to that folder in your Dropbox. And that means that if your server is compromised and you can't restore from the server, you can import those backups from your Dropbox and you can restore using those. So I've authenticated my Dropbox account and I've got automatic backups set up. So you can see here, I've got a scheduled backup that's been set up by that automation. And that's gonna do that today and then every week from today. Now, with the premium version of this plugin, you get extra features. And in particular, you get multi-site compatibility if you're running a multi-site network. And you also get backups that you can set to the hourly schedule of your choice. Because I just set up those backups and they're gonna run at the time of day that I've set them up, which is in the middle of the day, and that's not ideal. Now, there's two ways around that. You can either set up your backups and configure them in the middle of the night, so you just have to make sure you stay up late one night. Or you could get a premium version and tell it when you want to do the backups, because it's a good idea to do those backups in the middle of the night. So that's one failing, I think, of the free version of the UpdraftPlus plugin. Because there are some free plugins that you can schedule for certain times of day, but I don't think they've got the other features that UpdraftPlus has, such as the easy restore. So I think it's worth it, if you want to stick with the free plugin, to use UpdraftPlus, set it up at a time when you're not normally working on your website and you haven't got a lot of traffic. And then leave it to run at that time of day from then on. So that's how you install and configure the UpdraftPlus plugin for backups on your site. And once you've done that, you know that your site is safely being backed up and that you can restore it if you ever need to. Which means you can move on to installing the next essential WordPress plugin, and that's going to be a security plugin. So in the next part of the course, we'll look at security plugins and why they're important. See you next time, and thanks for watching.

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