Protecting your investment is a top priority for every business site owner. Backing up the files regularly and storing them offsite is must-do task that just got a whole lot easier and less expensive. Discover my top three picks for a solid backup solution. No matter your budget or file size, at least one of these solutions will be a perfect fit for you and your site.
Three Combos of Backups
The three backup combinations discussed in this post are:
- BackupBuddy to Amazon S3
- WordPress Backup to DropBox
- Google Drive for WordPress
There are a few things you need to know about backing up your site that will figure into which of the solutions listed here works best for you.
Offsite storage is a must!
The rule of thumb among IT professionals is that if you don’t have three copies, you don’t have any. So, count your site as one copy, the backup your host does as another (although it is not 100% guaranteed), and your offsite copy as the third.
If you store your backups on your hosting and the host space is compromised, you’re up a creek without a paddle. You just lost at least two, if not all three of your site copies.
How big is your site? It includes more than you may realize. I recommend doing a full site backup, which includes:
- all of the files in the root directory
- all of the core WordPress files
- the full database
But, if you have to reduce the size, the files you must get are:
- the wp-contents folder
- the full database
file-size.png Most hosts provide the full file size of your site. If you are on a host with cPanel, like HostGator, you’ll find the file size in the left sidebar under Backup Status. Keep in mind that this is every file associated with that domain, including your site email, if it is kept in host mailbox that you retrieve. So, your actual site files may be a wee bit smaller, but not by much.
Also, you’ll want to convert MB to GB, because that’s how many of the storage providers list their space. In the example at left, the total size is around 10GB, which is too big for free storage options if the file is not compressed. More on that in a moment.
How many backups do you intend to keep before overwriting? This is very important because if you only keep one, then you may very well overwrite the only good backup you have with one that has a problem. You’ll need to figure this in to your total file size for storage.
Following are the top three combos I recommend for automated site backup and storing the files offsite.
BackupBuddy with Amazon S3
I use BackupBuddy with AS3 for a couple of reasons. BlogAid is big and includes multiple sub-domains like the WordPress Video Tutorials membership site as well as demo sites of the premium Prelude theme. Plus, I need secure storage for the tutorial videos. So, Amazon S3 is the natural choice. With all of those files, and the traffic (bandwidth transfer requests), it only costs about two or three bucks a month. (Your first year is free!)
The cost of this combo is in the plugin. It’s $75/yr for a two site license. Because it is a super backup tool that is highly configurable, and because it offers other features that I use constantly, like a simple restore tool, malware scanner and site migration tool, it is more than worth the cost to me. My site is my business! (I actually have the more expensive developer’s license so that I can install it on my client’s sites.)
BackupBuddy compresses the site files into a .zip file, which has two advantages. One, it saves on storage space and two, it speeds up transfer time to AS3, which is very important. You don’t want a slow transfer that could time out.
The plugin also has configuration settings for the backup interval, how many to store before overwrite, and notification emails, all of which I use and recommend.
The only complaint I’ve heard from anyone using this solution is that figuring out AS3 can be a bit of a puzzle. It’s really not hard if you narrowly focus on the one product you need. Below are the tabs of the products you’ll get when you sign up for an AS3 account.As3-tabs.png
The S3 tab highlighted in red is the only one you need. You’ll also need to set up a bucket for your files, which is the AS3 word for folder. Then simply tell BackupBuddy your account keys and bucket and you’re all set.
FYI, BackupBuddy can integrate with AS3, Dropbox and Rack Space Cloud. I’m betting they will be developing an integration for Google Drive.
WordPress Backup to DropBox
The reason the WordPress Backup to Dropbox combo is in my top three picks is because both the plugin and the storage space are tried, true, and inexpensive. Plus, the plugin developer has recently made significant improvements to the plugin based on user feedback.
There is now a free version plus two paid extensions that you can add, which I suggest you do. One extension is for creating a time-stamped compressed .zip file of the backup before transfer. This will save on storage space, but more importantly, it will help overcome the 128Mb transfer limit imposed by Dropbox.
Because of that limitation, this plugin with the .zip extension is the only combo I recommend using with Dropbox.
The other extension is email notification that the backup has completed successfully, which you definitely want to know. Adding both extensions is a one-time fee of $28 and can be purchased separately as well.
The plugin can backup all files and your database, or any files that you choose.
There are a couple of caveats to this combo. It overwrites the old backup with the new one. The free DropBox account only allows 5GB of storage.
So, if you have a small site and a tight budget, this is a good backup solution for you. Having at least one offsite backup is better than having no backup, or backups stored on your hosting.
You’ll find the plugin listed in the WordPress plugin repository, so it’s easy to install.
Google Drive for WordPress
Google has recently created a free 5GB storage option for their Google Docs and other apps that you can also use to backup your WordPress files to as well. The new plugin, Google Drive for WordPress, was created by SecureNext and makes it easy to automate storage of your backup to Google Drive. (That link goes to the developer’s site. For installing the plugin, go to the WordPress Plugin Repository as usual.)
You can select the files you want to include from your WordPress installation, and whether or not to include your database, which you should.
This combo is great for smaller sites, but won’t work on bigger sites as the plugin does not offer a compressed .zip file option. So, be sure that your file size is smaller than 5GB. If you use Google Drive for anything else, like Google Docs and such, you’ll need to figure that in to your total file size as well.
To set up this combo, you’ll first need to log in to your Google Account and go to the Google API settings. There you will find your Client ID and Client Secret API key, both of which you will need.
The plugin has its own tab in the admin sidebar of WordPress. Go there to enter your Google info and backup options.
This is a new plugin, and the only one that integrates with Google Drive at the moment. But, don’t count on that staying the case, as more folks look for alternatives to DropBox.
You can find the Google Drive for WordPress plugin in the WordPress plugin repository.
What Backup Solution Are You Using?
Are you using one of these backup combos or something else? Leave a comment and let us know what’s working for you.
How to Backup Your WordPress Site is a free report that covers 16 plugins and storage solutions, plus more info on everything you need to know about setting backup intervals and frequency.