Gorgeous color palettes. Fabulous font pairings. Blazing fast site speed.
If I asked you to choose the least appealing website topic on the whole internet I know which one of the above it’d be.
Here’s the thing, though…
If you have a WordPress website (or any website, actually), odds are you’ll eventually have a disaster.
Wanna take a guess at the quickest way out of a website disaster?
A good backup.
It’s like having an undo button for your whole website.
Hang with us for five minutes and we’ll show you how to choose a backup solution you’ll never need to think about again.
Then you can get back to pondering more-fun things. Like that new headline font.
The two times you don’t need backups
- When you do not have a website in which you’ve invested blood, sweat, tears, time, money, sanity, and never hope to have one.
Why are you even reading this post?
- When your website and every word and image on it is so bad you’d like an excuse to start completely from scratch.
(And you’ve got plenty of time and money to float that endeavor.)
The rest of us creative entrepreneurs and bloggers who depend on websites for our livelihood (or are working toward that end) need the potential bacon-saving power of backups.
What to know about WordPress backups
1: WordPress website files live in two places
Backing up a WordPress site properly requires copying two parts: files and database. Restoring from a backup after a disaster requires a solution that properly reassembles the files and the database.
The best solutions restore backups for you, so you don’t have to figure out how to put them together and get your site back. Nobody needs that kind of hassle.
2: Some backups are hard on your server
Unless they use a smart process, backups can suck up huge amounts of space and server resources.
The best solutions only back up what’s changed. So backups run less often, and backup files are much smaller. Most backup solutions are not this smart.
3: You never know when you’ll need a backup
Just as you can’t predict when your home will go up in flames, you cannot predict when or where a website meltdown will occur. You just have to be ready.
The best solutions offer automatic scheduled backups that jive with how often you update your site. That way you never have to think about it or worry that your backup doesn’t include recent updates.
4: The worst place to store backups is next to your website
Since hosting and server related catastrophes are often at the root of website meltdowns, it’s a terrible idea to rely on either for backup storage.
The best solutions make it easy to store your backups away from your web server and web host, and in multiple locations…just in case.
What plugin is best for WordPress backups? We actually cannot recommend a backup plugin unless you have no other option.
Read on to understand why, what to do if you must use a backup plugin and what option offers the best WordPress backups.
Best free backup solution for WordPress
All free backup solutions are a pain in the rear when you actually have to restore them.
UpDraft Plus is the least worst of the bunch.
Every single free solution we’ve tested or encountered as we work on others’ sites experiences frequent glitches while creating backups.
The way these backups work simply requires more time and resources from the server and related services than the server or service wants to give.
If your budget is $0, use UpDraft Plus, set it to back up automatically, and also set it to purge backups regularly so you don’t use up all of your disk space.
Expect that it will fail from time to time – it’s just too taxing a job when you can’t do it intelligently. None of the smarter backup solutions are free.
Best paid backup solution for WordPress
Site Care. Hands down.
Not gonna lie here – this one is our service. We started it after trying to find a backup solution we could recommend without reservation.
Site Care backups are smart – we only back up what’s changed. This makes file sizes much smaller, so it doesn’t suck up your server space or drag down your performance.
It also means our backups seldom fail to complete – something that can’t be said about Backup Buddy, UpDraft Plus or similar plugins.
We back up off your server. Since we back up only what’s changed and our files are comparatively small, they zip over to our secure storage without fail.
Unlike backup plugins.
If you need a backup restored, just give us a shout and we’ll do it for you. No extra charge. No stressing out about how to actually use your backups.
We’ll put a Support button in your WordPress dashboard that lets you message us if you need us.
Or, if things really go south and you can’t get into your dashboard, just shoot us an e-mail instead and we’ll get right on it.
But wait – there’s more
Smart backups you can depend on was the big reason we created Site Care. But we’re not kidding ourselves. We know backups alone are so unsexy.
So we thought about what other ways we could make your website better or easier if you invited us in to handle your backups.
Y’know…kind of like your mom made Hollandaise sauce so you’d eat your broccoli?
For starters, we’ll do all your plugin, theme and WordPress updates for you and roll back instantly if there’s a glitch (hey, we’ve got the backups – why not?). And, we scan your site daily to make sure bad guys can’t easily get in.
What to do about WordPress backups
If something that works most of the time is good enough, performance isn’t a concern, and free is more important than anything else, use UpDraft Plus.
Be sure to set up automatic backups, schedule them to run in the wee hours, and store them off your server. Also, purge them regularly so they don’t eat up space you’re paying for.
Want backups you never have to think about? Backups that don’t eat up your web hosting server space or drag down performance?
Get Site Care. Or, if you prefer doing your own updates and don’t need all Site Care features, we’ve got you covered with a Smart-Backups-only option.
Anything about backups, UpDraft Plus or Site Care we should have covered but didn’t? Leave a comment below and let us know.