The 3 Best Backup Solutions For A WordPress Blog


Don’t make the WordPress Backup goof that I did. Seriously.

WordPress blogs are designed to make jobs like backing up oh-so-easy. Sure you can do it manually, but with WP there is a plugin for everything, including backups, and you can even just set and forget it and have your blog backup automatically. Just one more reason to love WordPress.

I might not backup everything else, but with my plugin I thought I knew how to backup WordPress and do it automatically … EXCEPT … recently I got a shock.

All my back-up work was going to waste!

I was backing up the WORDS on this WP blog, but NOTHING ELSE!

What I didn’t know is that WordPress has two different parts it needs to restore from a backup. There is the database, and there is also the site contents. Who knew? Well, not me, that’s for sure.

Basically doing only a WordPress database backup was taking a huge risk that only the WP database would be lost, not the whole site.

If my site had gone down all my backups would have given me all my posts, but left me with a plain vanilla blog I would have had to rebuild and retweak from scratch.

Hours upon hours of work to do.

Scary, scary stuff.

So of course I figured I had just got the wrong plugin. There must be an alternative but perfect solution WordPress backup plugin? Surely?

I went hunting, and horribly enough, no plugin is perfect!

There is no complete winner.

Here was my checklist for the very best WordPress backup plugin. It would…
  • Backup the entire blog, meaning the database AND the site itself (not just one or other)
  • Run automatic scheduled backups as well as immediate ones (VITAL),
  • Be stable and keep updated with the latest WP versions.
  • Have support from the author and/or a good forum (very important when you come to restoring your precious site and run into the inevitable techie-type problems.)
  • Require as little technical expertise and tweaking as possible. No setting up cron jobs, changing to 777, or FTPing, please.
  • Backup somewhere other than on the site, so that if the site goes down your backup isn’t taken with it.
  • Not cost anything.
So with no winner, here are the 3 best runner-up solutions, and you can pick which works for you.

1. Pay for a premium WordPress Backup Plugin.

Okay there are good premium plugins that will do the job and do it well, so if you don’t want to stuff around make this the first option.

Some of your choices are…
  • blogVault backups everything off your site, and has a Test Restore where it puts a working version of your site Restored on their website to prove it all works! (So cool I had to record a video of it here – blogVault wordpress backup AND restore .) [seems to be a popular vote winner in the comments too.]
  • BackupBuddy from one of the top WP premium providers for a one-time fee (and now includes integration with DropBox)
  • VaultPress from Automattic the owners of WordPress with a monthly subscription,
  • CodeGuard a 2011 start-up that offers paid plans as well as a free option for 2GB of storage but read the fine print eg “72 Hour Access to Restore: $25″,
  • myRepono WordPress Backup Plugin which on a prepaid cents/GB usage basis, and
  • Blog Zapper which is not actually a WordPress plugin nor does it run on a schedule, but this software will give you a complete, non-techie and quick backup of your blog, as well as doing blog ‘cloning’.
2. XCloner.

This plugin is mainly designed for Joomla blogs, but they have brought it over to WP and thank goodness they did. If you can handle techie stuff like CHMODs, adding folders, and cron jobs XCloner will do everything you need.

One point to note is that it backed up this blog into a huge 714 MB file, when backup option 4 below took up just 174MB. No idea what the problem is but if you need space be careful with XCloner.

3. Use two backup plugins. Yup, 2.

Unfortunately the WP-DB-Backup plugin I was using ONLY works great for backing up the database properly and easily. What I needed to do was add in the WordPress Backup Plugin from Blog Traffic Exchange to backup the site itself.

If your blog is small enough the backups can be emailed to you.

This solution fulfills all the requirements on the list, but it takes 2 plugins.

UPDATE 12/04/28: EZPZ One Click Backup is dead. I’m sorry to say that the free EZPZ One Click Backup plugin now says this on it’s site from creator Unca Joe: “I apologize but due to various reasons there will be no new versions released or further support for EZPZ OCB in the foreseeable future.” R.I.P. EZPZ.

[For completeness, and because someone will want to know, these plugins didn't make the list:
  • WordPress DB Manager the classic and extremely popular backup, but shockingly it also only backups the database (so many people must be having the same issue I did!)
  • the general backup tool Backupify only does the database too.
  • BackUpWordPress can only backup up onto your own site, so if your site has issues your backup isn't safe.
  • Bei Fen (Bei Fen is meant to be Chinese for 'backup') hasn't been updated since 2009.
  • Simple WordPress Backup does database only and was last updated in 2010
  • Automatic WordPress Backup needs S3 and was also last updated in 2010.
  • EZWpBackup WordPress plugin was around in 2011, but now the site is gone
  • WP Time Machine seems otherwise good with DropBox and Amazon S3, but can only use FTP for PHP4, and needs cron jobs for automatic backups.
  • Backup ie backs up onto Google Drive exclusively. No problem with that, but being a brand new plugin I wouldn't recommend it until it has more time to sort out the inevitable 'teething problems'.
  • BackWPUp seems very good indeed, but needs cron jobs for automatic backups, and the page that is meant to have the Manual on it says "in work " although it does have an active forum.
  • myEASYBackup does EVERYTHING including saving backups "outside the WordPress installation directory to avoid someone else discovering the links", but incredibly it doesn't seem to have an automatic scheduling option!]
  • WP Dolly which was suggested in the comments below but then seems to have come under fire in later comments, and doesn’t handle the popular Hostgator hosting platform.
If you have your own favorite solution, or tips, share your comments below.

[Update 2012-Jan-30: Just had this site taken out by a malware virus today.

So BlogVault finally got it's FULL test - and as you can see it passed! In fact the malware had hit my computer and this blog and rescuing the blog was the easy bit. The hardest parts were getting the malware out of my computer, and jumping through Google's hoops to let them know this site is malware-free again!]


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