A good WordPress backup strategy is something you should have for all your WordPress websites and blogs. WordPress backups are your safety net in case of either software or hardware failure, in case you make a change and something breaks down, or in case of a malicious WordPress hack attack. It also comes in handy for several other WordPress administrative tasks such as migrations and testing.
Different WordPress Backup Solutions
Before I start evangelizing about WordPress backups, it is important to point out that there are different WordPress backup solutions available on the market. Previously I had written on how to do a manual WordPress backup, and how you to automate WordPress backups with a plugin. There are also a number of online WordPress backup services available on the market, such as blogVAULT.
Each solution has its pros and cons and from my experience I can say that an online WordPress backup service is most probably the most hassle free, reliable, secure and cost effective solution. In this article I will use blogVAULT, a service I recommend and use to backup all my WordPress blogs and websites to highlight some of the features a good online WordPress backup service should have.
Online WordPress Backups with blogVAULT
Getting started with blogVault is very easy. Once you login to the online portal specify the URL of the WordPress website or blog you would like to backup. In the next step install the service’s plugin on the website. The plugin will act as a gateway to the online backup service, from where the service can retrieve all the information about your WordPress installation and back it up.
The plugin can be installed automatically as seen in the below screenshot. Alternatively you can download the plugin and install it manually. Once the plugin is installed and activated the blogVault service will automatically start backing up your WordPress files and database. It is that simple!
Advantages of Online WordPress Backup Services
Remote WordPress Backup Storage
If you backup your WordPress using a plugin most probably you store your backups on the same server where WordPress is installed. Some plugins do have an option to purchase a third party storage service such as Amazon Cloud where store the WordPress backups, but I have yet to see someone who goes that extra step and do it.
At the end of the day it is an additional cost and service to manage. On the other hand if you subscribe to an online WordPress backup service you do not have to worry about additional services and costs. You just pay your subscription and the WordPress backups are stored in a remote and secure location for you.
Secure WordPress Backup Storage
The main advantage of storing your WordPress backups remotely is reliability. If you store them on the same WordPress server and the server suffers a hardware failure you won’t be able to retrieve the backups. But if the WordPress backups are stored in a remote location you can always access your backups and restore your website within a few minutes anytime you want, even in case of a server failure.
By storing the WordPress backups in a remote location you are also ensuring that your backups are not tampered with or deleted. For example if your WordPress website is hacked and the backups are stored on the same server the probability that the attacker tampers or deletes the WordPress backups is very high. But if your WordPress backups are stored in a remote location and your WordPress is hacked you can safely restore the backups. You know for sure that your backups have not been tampered with. It is also important to point out that online WordPress backup services such as blogVAULT have the right and secure infrastructure where your backups are stored.
Reliable WordPress Backups
Reliability is a must when it comes to WordPress backups, and I can speak from my own experience. I used to manually backup my WordPress sites by using cron jobs and bash files but from time to time a problem always cropped up. For example the remote SSH server was not available, or there was a connection problem hence the whole routine failed.
When I switched to WordPress backup plugins things got better but I still had the hassle of dealing with third parties and other problems. I had to buy an additional service and from time to time updates broke the whole process, hence I had to reconfigure everything.
Online services are different by nature. You subscribe to them and everything is controlled at service level, even updates etc. It is all transparent for you. You do not have to maintain the system or monitor it. And it is the same with online WordPress backup services. For example blogVault monitor their own services and should something go haywire with your backups they can notice it and take action to ensure your backups are being done. After all you do not want to stay hassling with managing WordPress backups, you just want to pay a yearly fee for a service and forget about it, like insurance.
Real time WordPress Backups
As soon as you make a change on your WordPress, blogVAULT will automatically back it up. Is this an important feature? It all depends on how busy your website is, or how frequently you publish blog posts, pages or modify any other content. If you have a daily backup schedule and something goes wrong you can easily loose a day’s worth of work. Is it worth risking it? In my opinion it is not, especially if you update the content of your website multiple times a day.
Test WordPress Restores
WordPress backups are worthless unless they can be restored. This might sound like common sense but I have seen way too many backups that couldn’t be restored. There are many reasons why backups couldn’t be restored and are too many to mention in this article. But this can’t happen with blogVAULT; it is possible to test restore your WordPress backup on blogVAULT’s own servers with just one click.
After you initiate the process from the online dashboard you will receive an email with a temporary link from where you can access the test restore and browse the website, thus allowing you to ensure that everything is working as it should be. Should you ever need to restore a backup and have that peace of mind that it will not screw things up, do a test WordPress restore before doing the actual live restore.
Complete WordPress Backup
Don’t you hate it when you do a restore and find out that a file, or a WordPress database table was not backed up because it is not part of a default WordPress installation? This does happen especially if you have customized your WordPress or run plugins which create their own tables in the WordPress database. By default most backup services omit such tables or files but blogVAULT made sure you are aware of which files or tables are being omitted from the backups, as seen in the below screenshot.
Adding Omitted Files and WordPress Database Tables to the Backup
You can easily add the skipped tables and files by just clicking on the notification and tick those tables or files you would like to add to the online WordPress backup. Word of advice; there is no need to backup any temporary files, log files or cache files generated by plugins. Those are all dynamic files that are not needed for restore and can be regenerated by the plugins upon re-install.
Restore WordPress Backups From Different Stages
WordPress backups are not just there for when you have a hardware failure or your WordPress is hacked. I am sure it is not the first time you installed a plugin or applied a customization and the website has gone mad. Or you did a series of changes and you needed to restore an older version of your WordPress website.
You can easily do that with blogVAULT; it keeps a copy and log of all the previous backups, similar to an SVN. If you need to do so, navitage to the history option in the blogVAULT dashboard and browse through all the backups. Once you identify the backup you would like to restore, do a test restore or even make a live auto WordPress restore.
Automatic WordPress Migrations
The main scope of an online WorPress backup service is to backup your WordPress websites and blogs, though backups can also be used for other administrative purposes. The migrate-site option in blogVAULT allows you automatically migrate your WordPress to another server or even to another URL. If you do not find this feature helpful I am sure you will appreciate it the day you try to migrate WordPress manually. It is doable, but not without a good dose of headaches especially when it has a lot of customizations.
Contractors can take advantage of such feature to be able to work more efficiently. If you had to design a new theme for an existing WordPress website, or do some customizations, most probably you setup a copy of the website locally and once ready you manually migrate the website, considering the URL was not changed. But if you backup the staging website with blogVAULT you can use this feature to migrate the staging website to the live website even when you are using a different URL. Useful, isn’t it?
Ensuring Reliable and Secure WordPress Backups
As I always stress out WordPress backups are a must, especially if your business’ shop to the world is your WordPress website or blog. Should you manually back up your WordPress, use a plugin or online WordPress backup service? At the end of the day it all depends on your requirements, budget and time. Yes you can build a robust manual WordPress backup solution but the benefits an online WordPress backup service outweigh anything else; just pay a fee once a year and all is done and being monitored for you, securely.