WordPress backups with UpdraftPlus

A meme featuring Anakin and Padme from the Star Wars films. Anakin is saying 'I've reinstated my WordPress install after everything got wiped' and Padme says 'so you've got backups now right?'

It’s a little while until World Backup Day on the 31st March, but I’ve set up UpdraftPlus to create automatic backups of my WordPress installation to my Dropbox account.

It’s a straightforward plugin to set up. You install it from the WordPress plugin directory, select your cloud storage provider, choose what you want to backup, and then run it. If it all goes well, you can then set a schedule for automated backups.

The free version offers Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 and some others, and you can also upload your backups to any FTP server, albeit over a non-secure connection. If you want to use WebDAV, SFTP, SCP, Microsoft OneDrive or UpdraftPlus’ own service, then you’ll need a premium account. At present, it’s £54 per year for up to two personal sites, which is pretty reasonable – the equivalent of a little over £4 per month.

Your backups can include everything if you want, but I’ve excluded plugins and themes from my backups. I haven’t modified the theme that I am using, and I’m not using any custom plugins – everything is from the WordPress plugin directory.

Backing up my files to Dropbox makes the most sense to me. I pay for Dropbox Pro and so have 2 terabytes of storage, of which I’m using less than 7%. Whilst VaultPress is the officially-supported solution for backups for WordPress, it’s not a free service and I’m already paying for Dropbox Pro.

The best time to set up backups is now

There isn’t a ‘best time’ to set up backups for any system apart from, well, now. So, if you haven’t got a backup solution in place, this is your reminder to sort something out. I lost all my blog posts in 2018 because I didn’t have adequate backups in place when doing a server upgrade. I would say I learned my lesson, but I’ve been blogging again for 18 months now and only set up UpdraftPlus last week.

There are many other WordPress plugins that offer backups – some free and some paid. I chose UpdraftPlus as it seemed to be the one which offered the features that I wanted, but you may find another suits you better. Just make sure that you have something in place.