In this video, I'll share some options for the best free WordPress backup plugins. I'll tell you about the pros and cons of each, and I'll help you choose the best plugin to back up your database and site.
This video is part of my course Essential WordPress Plugins. You can watch the entire course for free here on Envato Tuts+.
Why You Need a Backup Plugin
There’s a good reason to install a backup plugin before anything else on a WordPress installation. This is because anything could happen. The site could crash or it might get hacked, for example, but having a backup plugin in place means that the data can be easily restored to fix the site.
It’s really important to set up the backup plugin before you do anything else with a WordPress website. That means before you create any content, before you install any plugins, and before you change the theme! With the plugin in place, your WordPress database will be backed up regularly, so you won't lose any work.
A backup plugin is the most essential plugin that you can install. Not having a backup plugin risks the loss of content. Thankfully, there are some great free WordPress backup plugins.
Finding Free WordPress Backup Plugins
Go to the WordPress website and click Plugins. Now you can search for backup to see the different plugins that are available.
Some of these are not really backup plugins but include backups as part of their functionality. For example, JetPack is a WordPress plugin that costs extra money, but comes with a lot of features.
Some options are really designed for the purpose of migrating or duplicating a WordPress site rather than specifically backing up a site.
What you really want from any backup plugin that you install are two things:
- regular scheduled and automated backups
- a simple restore process
The frequency of this depends upon how often the WordPress site is updated. If it is, for example, updated on a daily basis, then daily backups are recommended.
If the site is updated once a week, then a backup once a week is probably more appropriate. A backup plugin will let you do that and will enable backups in, say, the early hours of the morning when you’re unlikely to be working on the site and when it is less likely to interrupt visitors to the site.
Simple Restore Process
Ideally, you should choose a plugin with a big button that you can click for an easy restore.
You’ll generally find that when it comes to options for backing up and having a simple restore function, free plugins are not as good as premium plugins.
If you’re running a business site, or another site that is critical, then I recommend you just pay for a good premium plugin.
In this tutorial, I’ll show you a free backup plugin that you can later upgrade to unlock premium features: UpdraftPlus.
There are other free backup plugins, but they may involve a little more work to restore a WordPress site. Remember, restoring a WordPress site is likely to be something that you do under pressure!
Restoring has to be easy as you’ll often be up against the clock, and you may not be thinking straight due to the pressure.
Premium WordPress Backup Plugins
On CodeCanyon, you'll find some great premium backup plugins. The biggest difference that you get with a premium plugin is the ability to use third-party services. This gives you more flexibility when it comes to backing up.
It's important that you don’t back up your data to the same server that serves the website! Always have an off-site backup. Cloud services like Dropbox or Amazon S3 are great for this.
At CodeCanyon you can find plugins that back up to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and others.
There are also some very well-known backup options available from other sources.
One of the best known is BackupBuddy from iThemes. It’s a really flexible, easy-to-use plugin. The downside is that it isn’t WordPress multisite compatible, so that has to be a consideration for anyone running more than one WordPress site.
2. Snapshot Pro
This is designed to be compatible with a WordPress multisite setup. This is one of the backups that makes it the easiest to restore.
This backup plugin is provided by WordPress.com. If you go for JetPack, then this is essentially what you’re getting. VaultPress is arguably the most powerful WordPress backup plugin as it’s incredibly reliable, it comes from WordPress themselves, and it gives lots of options to back up different parts of a site at different frequencies.
It is quite expensive, though. If the site is crucial to the business and you want to ensure that you have the most reliable way of backing up the site, then you’ll certainly want to consider VaultPress.
Free WordPress Backup Plugins
In this tutorial, however, I want to look at free plugins so as not to exclude anyone who cannot afford a premium plugin.
My Recommendation: UpdraftPlus
I recommend the UpdraftPlus plugin.
To learn how to install and configure it, check out the next lesson in my free course! I'll show you how to install and configure the UpdraftPlus backup plugin for backing up a WordPress database and website.
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