How many hours total have you spent working on your website?
Not just writing blog posts, but configuring your settings, choosing themes and plugins, moderating comments, searching for the perfect image for each post etc., etc.
If you’ve had your website for any length of time, the number of hours spent on it is probably mind-boggling, if you could even come up with a ballpark estimate.
Do you know how easy it is to lose all those countless hours of work, for good?
Imagine going to your website tomorrow and finding it completely gone. Just a blank screen greets you, and when you go to troubleshoot the problem, you find every single file and database missing.
It may sound far-fetched, but it happens more often than you think. There are plenty of causes for website failure, including:
- Your website gets infected with malware, so your host takes care of the problem by shutting down your site.
- Your credit card quietly expired and your payment for hosting didn’t go through, so your host deletes your account.
- A fire, flood, blackout, or security breach affects the data center that houses your server.
- Your host accidentally deletes your files (yes, this unfortunately happens more often than you’d think).
- A misplaced comma in your website’s code brings your whole website down, but you can’t find where the problem lies.
Why your host’s backups aren’t enough
If you’re relying on your web host’s backups to protect your site for you, you may be out of luck when disaster strikes.
They may promise backups on their front page, but look carefully at the terms of service. You’ll notice that most hosts put the ultimate responsibility and liability for backups solely on the customer — you.
And even if you’re paying extra for guaranteed backups, guess where they’re stored? If something happens to the company or their datacenters, there goes all your data, including your guaranteed backups.
You need to be prepared
If you don’t want to lose countless hours of work, you need to have full backups of your website ready to be restored when you need them.
There are tons of WordPress backup plugins out there, but many of them only create partial backups of your website.
They may backup your database, but what about all the images you painstakingly created, or your customized theme files, or all your plugins?
In order to be 100% prepared for the worst case scenario, you need a plugin that:
- Creates thorough and complete backups of your entire site; not just your database, but also your media library, themes, plugins, etc.
- Is completely automated: you should be able to set automated backups to run at regular intervals.
- Makes it easy to restore from backup, whether you need just one file or your entire website.
We rounded up the top 5 WordPress plugins that fulfill those requirement — check them out below.
Top 5 complete backup plugins for WordPress
A premium plugin available from iThemes, BackupBuddy allows you to set up automatic backups on a schedule you choose.
You can opt to backup just your database, or all your files as well. You can also pick and choose certain tables or files to exclude from your backups.
This is a great way to save resources, by, for example, backing up your database on a daily basis and your media library on a weekly or monthly basis.
BackupBuddy also includes some great bonus features like malware scans, database scan and repair, and a database mass text replacement tool (very handy for developers).
Included with your purchase, you also get 1GB of free storage space from BackupBuddy’s “Stash Storage” service, and you can purchase more space as needed.
- Complete backups of your database, media library, theme files, plugins and everything else you need to restore your site from scratch.
- Easy to set up and configure in just a few minutes — no complicated settings.
- Set automatic backup schedules on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
- Set up multiple separate automatic backups with their own options and settings.
- You can save backups to BackupBuddy Stash, Amazon S3, Dropbox, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, or email.
- Restore your site by uploading a ImportBuddy file which walks you through the process, step by step, or restore individual files right from your WordPress dashboard.
- Test updates to your site before they go live
Price: Starting at $80/year
MyRepono is a web-based backup tool that also has a WordPress plugin available. It can backup everything including your database, themes, and plugin files.
Setup is quick and easy, so you can create automatic backup schedules in under a minute. You can choose how often to backup, how many backups to keep in storage, and exactly which files and database tables you want to include.
Once you’ve installed the WordPress plugin, you can manage your site and backups from a dashboard on MyRepono’s website.
There you can easily restore your entire site, or individual files. They store your backups for you, and keep your backups secure using 256-Bit encryption and AES encryption. They’re also automatically compressed to save on storage space.
A MyRepono account allows you to backup an unlimited number of any kind of website — not just WordPress sites.
- Storage is included, and your backups are compressed and encrypted automatically.
- Web-based management, so you can restore even if you can’t access your WordPress dashboard.
- Backup individual files or entire file directories, entire databases or individual tables.
- Schedule automatic backups to run every hour, day, week, or month.
- Backup an unlimited number of websites — just pay for the storage space you use.
- Technical support available to help you backup and restore your site or files.
Price: Per-gigabyte fees for data transfer and storage, with discounts for higher volumes. You can estimate your cost on their website.
VaultPress is a backup and security scanning service and plugin developed by Automattic, the creators of WordPress. If you’ve activated Jetpack on your site, you’ve probably noticed that VaultPress is offered as a premium module.
The plugin itself is free on WordPress.org, but you’ll need to subscribe to the service in order for it to work. There are three different levels of plans you can subscribe to: Lite, Basic, or Premium.
The Lite plan includes daily backups for one site with a 30-day archive, and an automatic restoration tool. The Basic plan offers real-time backups, and a full backup archive. With the Premium plan, you get priority support and daily security scans.
- Backs up your site automatically every day.
- Storage is included.
- One-click restorations and repairs from your WordPress dashboard, or your dashboard on the VaultPress website.
- Customer support included to help you restore or repair your site.
- Scans your site daily for malware, vulnerable code, and other threats, and offers one-click repairs for most issues (Premium plan only).
- 30-day money back guarantee.
Price: Starting at $5 per month for the Basic plan.
The free version of UpdraftPlus, with just its basic backup features, is the highest-ranking backup plugin on WordPress.org, and the premium version has a ton of extra features to keep your site safe and secure.
One of the great features of this plugin is how extendable it is to fit your site’s needs. There are also plenty of addons available that give you even more functionality, such as a site duplicator and migrator, multiple backup storage destinations, and an advanced reporting tool. It also integrates with a huge variety of storage services to enable you to store your backups pretty much wherever you want.
- Backup your whole site, or choose which themes, plugins, content, etc. to backup.
- Restore individual files, just your database, or your entire site.
- Set up multiple automatic backups on different schedules.
- Store your backups with Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud, DreamObjects, FTP, Microsoft OneDrive, SFTP, SCP, WebDAV, OpenStack Swift, send it via email.
- Database backups are encrypted for security.
- Can restore your site using backups made from other plugins, including BackWPUp, BackupWordPress, Simple Backup, or WordPress Backup To Dropbox.
- Any failed uploads are automatically retried.
- Customer support available with the premium version.
- Available translated into over 16 languages.
Price: Free with premium version starting at $70
BackWPUp is one of the most popular free backup plugins for WordPress. This plugin is an easy, simple way to automate your backups and restore them when you need to.
There’s also premium version, BackWPUp Pro, that’s packed with even more features to protect your site, including a tool that can scan, repair, and optimize your database.
- Full database and file backup, plus a list of all your installed plugins.
- Store your backups to Dropbox, S3, FTP, RackSpaceCloud, Google Drive, SugarSync, website directory, and more.
- Create daily or weekly automatic backups.
- Includes a step by step restoration wizard tool.
- Includes a database optimization, scanning, and repair tool.
- Choose to store your backups in .zip, .tar, tar.gz, or tar.bz2 format.
- Customer support available with the pro version.
Price: Free with premium version starting at $75
How do you backup your WordPress site?
You never think a disaster is going to happen to you until it does — and then it’s too late. Be proactive instead, and you’ll be glad you prepared.
Even a simple free backup plugin is better than none, but for true peace of mind, it’s best to get a plugin that will backup your entire site and make it easy to restore what you need.
Is your favorite backup plugin on this list, or do you use another? Add your favorite to the list in the comments below.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we might receive a commission if you make a purchase. Our opinions are our own and we only recommend plugins that we believe will genuinely help you.