3 Best WordPress Backup Plugins (And How To Create Your Backups)

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The worst case scenario for any website usually involves being attacked, suffering a data breach, or getting infected with malware. If this happens to you, it could result in more than just losing data and content: you could end up seeing irreparable damage to your site.

To avoid that scenario, it’s vital that you have a Plan B in place in case of an attack. In this case, that “B” stands for “backup”. By creating a regular website backup or WordPress backup, you can easily revert it to a state before it was compromised, with a minimal loss of data.

In this article, we’ll discuss how website backups work and why they’re so important. We’ll also show you how to create a WordPress backup by using a WordPress backup plugin. Let’s go!

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What WordPress Backups Are (And Why You Need Them)

You’re probably no stranger to the concept of backups! In fact, you’ve probably created them yourself many times, whether you’ve backed up your computer’s hard drive or the information saved on your phone. When it comes to WordPress, backups of your WordPress site work the same way. A website backup is simply a copy of your site, stored out of harm’s reach. It includes your full WordPress installation: all of your site’s posts, pages, scripts, themes, functionality, and database.

Keeping a website backup in a safe place gives you an additional layer of security if your site should ever come to harm. Whether it becomes infected with malware or it’s successfully hacked by a malicious user, you can always revert your site to a previous state using a recent website backup, negating the damage that was done. You can also use a WordPress backup if your site breaks for just about any reason, such as a failed update or a compatibility issue.

In fact, this is why you’re often prompted to create a WordPress backup before you make a change to your site. However, you should also aim to create WordPress backups regularly, so the loss of data is minimal in the event of an unexpected problem. After all, the older a backup is, the more data will be lost if you need to restore it. How often you should back up your site depends on several factors, but in general higher frequencies are better.

To help you out, your WordPress hosting company may offer automatic website backups as a part of their hosting plans. However, if your hosting provider doesn’t include this feature, or doesn’t create backups as regularly as you’d like, you may need to set up a solution by yourself. You may also wish to use a separate backup service for your WordPress backups so that you’re not overly reliant on your hosting provider: if your web host suffers a data breach or failure which causes them to lose everything, you want to still be able to recover your WordPress website.

Fortunately, this is all simple to solve – and you can enjoy peace of mind – if you have the right kind of plugin.

3 WordPress Backup Plugin for Creating WordPress Backups

Before we show you how to create a backup of your WordPress site, let’s look at some of the tools at your disposal. These are three of the best WordPress plugins for conducting website backups!

1. UpdraftPlus

The UpdraftPlus plugin.

Let’s start with what’s arguably the most popular option for your website backup. UpdraftPlus is currently used on more than a million installations, and for good reason. This plugin offers plenty of functionality, but still remains user-friendly. UpdraftPlus makes it easy to set up an automatic website backup, and enables you to create manual ones with the press of a button.

Key Features

  • Provides both a manual and automatic website backup.
  • Makes it easy for beginners to get started, even if they have minimal prior experience.
  • Enables you to restore website backups with a single click.
  • Integrates with dozens of external services, including cloud storage such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, as well as email providers.

Pricing: UpdraftPlus provides both a free version and several premium plans, which contain additional features and start at $70.

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2. Duplicator

The Duplicator plugin.

Duplicator is another popular choice, which also boasts over a million active installations. In addition to letting you create backups, Duplicator enables you to clone and migrate your entire site. You can move a site – including all your WordPress files and your WordPress database – from one server to another, for example, or even from a local environment to a live host, or a staging site to a live site..

Duplicator is a great multipurpose solution, but because of its focus on migration, it doesn’t feature automatic backups unless you buy the premium version.

Key Features

  • Enables you to clone, copy, and migrate your WordPress site.
  • Makes it easy to move a site from a staging environment to a live server, and vice versa.
  • Combines all site files into a single .zip folder.
  • Good for manual backups and database backup, but no cloud storage, real-time, or incremental backup options.

Pricing: The standard Duplicator plugin is free, and there is also a series of premium plans that start at $49.

3. WPBackItUp

The WPBackItUp plugin.

Last, but certainly not least, let’s check out WPBackItUp. While this plugin might not be as well-known as the others we’ve looked at, it’s well-reviewed and highly regarded. WPBackItUp is a solid no-nonsense solution that doesn’t require any complex configuration, and supports sites of any size. It enables you to create manual backups with a single click, and provides automatic backups as a part of its premium plans.

Key Features

  • Creates compressed backups quickly.
  • Requires minimal configuration, making it ideal for users with little experience.
  • Provides unlimited backups, so you can create as many as you need.

Pricing: WPBackItUp is available as a free plugin, called the Community Edition. The developers also offer several premium plans, which add more features and start at $79 per year.

Other WordPress backup solutions

The above three are our favorite WordPress backup solutions, but a special mention to a couple of others:

  1. Jetpack Backups: this was a good, low price, option from the makers of WordPress.com, but it looks like the previous offering of Jetpack Backups – which was a rebranded version of VaultPress, another WordPress.com product – is currently being replaced. We thus can’t recommend this at the moment.
  2. BackupWP: another freemium option on the WordPress plugin repository, BackWPUp (hope you’re keeping up with all the names!) offers a lot of features – including good remote storage compatibility, complete backups of your site, and email notifications – but we think the options above are better.
  3. BackupBuddy: this was one of the first WordPress backup plugins, and they were the first to offer a convenient remote storage option with their Stash add-on. There are, however, now better options when looking for the best WordPress backup plugin.

You’re best served with what we think are the best WordPress backup plugins, but the above backup solutions are also available for you to look at.

How to Create a WordPress Backup Using UpdraftPlus

The actual process for creating website backups is usually very similar, regardless of which tool you’re using. We’re going to demonstrate how it works using UpdraftPlus, as this plugin offers the best mix of features in its free version.

You’ll want to start by installing and activating the plugin on your site, from your WordPress Dashboard. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a notification on your Plugins page, asking you to configure its settings:

Notification asking to configure UpdraftPlus.

When you click on that message, the WordPress backup plugin’s settings page will appear. This is where you’ll be able to create manual WordPress backups:

Configuring the UpdraftPlus plugin.

However, before you can do that, you’ll need to consider a few options. Click Next inside the notification, or select the Settings tab:

The Settings tab in the UpdraftPlus settings.

This page contains several different choices, so let’s go through the most important ones. At the top, you can specify a backup schedule, setting how often you want the plugin to create automatic WordPress backups. You can also leave this option set to Manual if you only want to create backups by hand.

Below that, you can select a method for storage service your backups. When you choose one or more of these options, your backups will be uploaded to the specified services. Having your backups in multiple cloud storage locations is the ultimate way of getting peace of mind!

The services you can use to save your backups.

You can use whichever service is most convenient for you, but we’d recommend a cloud storage solution. “Consumer” cloud storage like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive are simple to do, but you’ve got over a dozen storage options to choose from – plus more if you use one of the add-on options you can get in the pro version.

Once you’ve made your choice, the plugin will then ask you to provide authentication relevant to the services you’ve chosen. For example, if you select Google Drive, you’ll need to connect your Google account:

Settings for connecting to Google Drive.

You can also opt to not select any external tools, at which point the backups will simply be stored on your website’s server.

Next up, you can decide what you want each backup to contain. Here you can make sure all your WordPress files, themes, and WordPress plugins are included. By default, this includes most of the content and data from your site:

Selecting which files to include in backups.

If you want to de-select some options or add exclusions, you can do that here as well. For example, you might not want to include WordPress backup plugins if you have limited space, as they can be quite large.

The remaining options on this page are either only available in the WordPress backup plugin’s premium version, or are best left as-is for most users. If you need more information on any of the plugin’s settings, you can also check out its official documentation. Remember to save your changes to this page.

At this point, you can create your first WordPress backup. This is as simple as navigating back to Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups, and clicking on Backup Now. You’ll see a pop-up, where you can specify the conditions for this particular backup:

Manually creating a backup.

This is the stage at which you’ll need to specify if you want to backup your site’s MySQL database (your WordPress database). You almost certainly do – and select Backup Now. This will start the backup process, which can take a few minutes, depending on the settings you’ve selected and the size of your site. You can follow along by watching the progress bar that appears:

Progress bar when creating a backup.

Once the WordPress backup is completed, you’ll see it appear at the bottom of the screen:

Two backups at the bottom of the UpdraftPlus settings.

You can use the buttons to download a ZIP file of your WordPress database, plugins, themes, uploads, and other files. You’ll also find it saved in the location you specified in your settings. For example, if you selected Google Drive, you will find the backup files uploaded to your account.

You can now use this interface to restore a WordPress backup with one-click if it ever becomes necessary. This will replace your current site with the saved version. You can also download specific parts of the WordPress backup directly, such as just your plugin or theme data.

Now that you’ve got your settings set-up, we’d recommend setting up automatic backups on a schedule. How frequently you need to run your site backup depends on what type of WordPress site you have: a small business site infrequently updated would be fine with once a week, whereas a WooCommerce store with frequent orders would need full backups as frequently as possible – ideally in real time. In that instance, we’d recommend you consider the pro version so that you can do incremental backups. This will let you only backup the files which have changed.

At GoWP we help agencies and web professionals manage, protect and update their clients' WordPress sites with our white label service. Let us handle the headaches so you can focus on what's important — growing your business!

Go GoWP, and grow your business

Conclusion: Which Is the Best Backup Option?

In order to properly protect your site, you need to ensure that you can bounce back if it breaks or is hacked. By creating regular backups, you’ll always be able to get your site back on track quickly, while suffering a minimal loss of data.

When it comes to backing up your WordPress site, there are many plugins that can help you out. In this article, we’ve introduced the following options for WordPress users:

  1. UpdraftPlus: A comprehensive and free solution that offers a lot of features upfront.
  2. Duplicator: Enables you to quickly and easily clone and copy your site to create manual website backups.
  3. WPBackItUp: A no-nonsense solution that makes the process of backing up your site easy, even for beginners.

Do you have any questions about how to create a backup of your WordPress site, or which WordPress backup plugin could be best for you? Let us know in the comments section below!

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