How To Develop A Backup Plan For WordPress

Backups are an essential part of any website. What would happen if you woke up one morning and someone hacked your site? Or worse, your web host had dissolved and no longer existed? I’ve heard many stories of people that didn’t think a backup plan was important until it was too late.
Since WordPress runs about 30% of the web and I bet most of those sites aren’t running proper backups. The good news is that backups are easy to set up.

Set Up Your Backup Plan Today

There are several reasons you should set up a backup system for your website:
– Hackers (using automated scripts) like to mess with insecure sites
– A user accidentally (or maliciously) deletes some articles on your blog
– A plugin that corrupts your database when updating versions
I could go on with this list, but you get the point.
Once you have a backup system in place, these issues become simple annoyances. If a hacker gains access to your website, restore the site to how it was before they hacked it and you’re good to go.
If your website is a source of income it’s even more important to set up backups if something happens. Let’s walk through a few ways you can backup and restore your website.

WordPress Backup & Restore Solutions

WordPress has lots of plugins that provide simple backup solutions. Yet, with plugins, you tend to get what you pay for.
When it comes to having a backup for your site you can never be too careful. So spending a few extra bucks a month to protect your investment is definitely worth it.

Paid Plugins

WPMU Dev’s Snapshot Pro is one of my favorites that I actually use to back up my client’s sites. You can try out their membership for 30 days and they allow you to store up to 10gb of offsite hosted backups. This is a great solution if you have a single site and need a way to set up backups quickly. I was able to set up backups for 11 sites in a few hours without any trouble.
Automattic’s Jetpack has an offsite backup feature for paid plans which start at $3.50/mo. It’s a low cost solution if you’re starting out and only need 30 days of backup protection. 30 days is good enough unless your running a site that you need more historical data.

Free Plugins

UpdraftPlus is another good free option if you would like to backup your site files and database to a service like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Amazon S3. It has a quick restore feature within the admin so you don’t have to worry about restoring manually.
BackWPup is a great option if you’re looking through WordPress’ plugin repository. It’s better to use if you have a smaller site because lots of images and a large database slow it down. If you need to restore your site, there is no process to restore (unless you pay for the pro version). Don’t let that deter you though, any backup plan is better than no plan.
How Often Should I Back Up?
As often as possible.
Most of the time, backing up once a week or even daily is enough. I’ve heard of some people backing up on an hourly basis, but for most sites that’s overkill.
If you want to be extra cautious, you can follow this system:
– Hourly backups for the last 24 hours
– Daily backups for the last 7 days
– Weekly backups for the last month
– Monthly backups for the last year
Your backup frequency can vary and is not crucial to your success. How often do you make changes? Update plugins? Themes? If you are backing up your site often (at the very least weekly) then you should be fine.
Backup as often as you feel comfortable.

Offsite Backups

Like I said earlier, anything can take a site down:
– Hackers
– Web hosts shutting down
– A server crashing
– Unauthorized users deleting important content
Once you decide on how to backup your WordPress site you also need to think about where you store the backups.
It’s important not to keep your backups on the same server that is hosting your website. It is a good idea for quick restores but if your web host or server goes down, you’re still left with nothing.
Here’s a few of my favorite offsite backup services:
Amazon S3 (The cheapest option but you’ll need some technical knowledge to get started)
Storing backups offsite guarantees you can always access your backups. Setting up a new web server with existing files is easier than having to build it from scratch again.

Test Your Backups & Backup Plan

Once you have a backup plan in place it’s crucial that you test out your plan often. Having a system that creates backups for you is great, but if they don’t work you’re still dead in the water.
Consistent testing is the best way to ensure that you can bring your site back up if something goes wrong.
Also make sure that you know what you will do in the event of an emergency. When something does take your site down, a plan will be comforting in a stressful situation.
The last thing you want is stress from figuring out an undocumented backup plugin.
Don’t get caught in the rain. Set up your backup plan as soon as you can.

One response to “How To Develop A Backup Plan For WordPress”

  1. […] I’ve had my personal WordPress site and all of my clients’ sites hosted with Laravel Forge for a little over a year now. If you haven’t heard of Forge yet, you definitely need to check it out. Yes, it is mainly for PHP applications, but it will also host WordPress sites like a champ. Forge is great, but the one thing it lacks is a way to back up your sites. So I wrote my own script to handle backing up each WordPress site to Amazon S3 for safe-keeping and as a part of my own backup plan. […]