I recently decided to stop relying upon my web hosting company for daily backups. In the process I evaluated three WordPress backup plugins:
Bottom Line: for me, UpdraftPlus was the best choice, though for most people I thing VaultPress would be fine.
VaultPress is offered by Automatic, the same people behind WordPress.com. VaultPress stores the backups on Automatic's servers. There is no option to store your backups elsewhere. It can be inexpensive - if you dig a bit you can find the option whereby the charge is only $5/month.
I have several clients using VaultPress and it has always performed flawlessly.
There are two things you should know about VaultPress:
- It backs up the WP-Content folder (and it's subfolders and contents) and nothing else. For most people that is just fine, but I have clients with additional folders in the root of the site containing videos, podcasts, etc. If the site were to go down, restoring just wp-content would not be enough.
- It backs up only tables in the database containing the 'wp_' (or whatever you have chosen) prefix. There is a plugin I use (Digital Access Pass) that creates its own tables in the database with the prefix 'dap_'. Whatever backup tool I use needs to backup everything in the database.
Bottom line for me was that VaultPress did not give me the functionality I needed.
On paper, BackupBuddy looked like the perfect choice.
- It can be configured to backup every file, including custom folders you have created in the root of your website.
- It can be configured to backup the entire database.
- If offers several options as to where it stores the backups.You can store the backups on your website, or offsite in Amazon S3, Dropbox, etc.
- In fact, you can have it store multiple copies of the backups in multiple different repositories for redundancy.
One negative: BackupBuddy does not support WordPress Multisite.
After using BackupBuddy for a few weeks however, I found that it simply was not robust. I have a couple dozen little websites and blogs. Almost every day, I would receive error messages telling me that the backup process failed on at least three of them, which meant I would have to go investigate and manually re-initiate the backup process. If it was always failing on the same three websites then I could find the problem and fix it. Not so however. I frequently had failures one sites that had run fine to several days. When I explained the problem to their support guy, his response was:
"My own personal approach is that if the hosting can be a bit flakey sometimes then I don't bother with chasing up the occasional backup failure on a site"
I'm sorry, that doesn't cut it. Not only is the backup process not robust, I found that the Restore process suffered from the same non-robustness. I was in the process of moving some of my websites to a different hosting company, and found that the backup files created by BackupBuddy were so large that I could never get them to successfully upload to the new server without timing out.
The bottom line with BackupBuddy was that I had to babysit it way too much.
UpdraftPlus is the premium version of the free Updraft plugin. I offers several features that the free version does not have. (You can find a comparison chart here.)
UpdraftPlus offers all the features that BackupBuddy does (or at least the features important to me) and it just works. (It also supports WordPress Multisite but I have not tested it there.)
I've been using it for about a week now on over a dozen websites and it has operated without a hiccup. I've used the Restore functions to move websites between servers and it worked very smoothly (UpdraftPlus divides the backup into several zip files instead of one huge one, thus avoing the timeout issue.)