Whether you’re blogging for business or fun, chances are you’d be devastated if your blog suddenly disappeared. All of the hours you’d put into tweaking your theme and plugins, creating original content, and more would be gone. It’s very important to regularly backup your blog so you don’t risk losing your work. There’s always the potential that your blog could be lost, even with the best hosting in the world.
Just like backing up your computer, there are several ways you could backup your website. You could just download a copy of your entire WordPress directory via FTP every so often and manually backup your database. The problem is, most of us are forgetful, and disasters don’t wait for you to be prepared. This is where BackupBuddy comes in. BackupBuddy is a great plugin from iThemes that backs up your entire WordPress install, including plugins, themes and customizations, database content, images, htaccess files, and more. It can do all of this on a schedule, and then will save your backup file to a FTP location or store it on Amazon S3 storage. Let’s look at how you can use BackupBuddy to keep your blog safe.
First, you’ll need to purchase BackupBuddy. You can purchase it from iThemes for $45 for up to 2 personal sites, or you can choose a business or developer license for 10 to unlimited sites. Once you’ve purchased and downloaded BackupBuddy, login to your WordPress dashboard and install and activate it as normal (Read our Step by Step Guide to Install a WordPress Plugin for Beginners).
You’ll need to add your BackupBuddy license before you can get automatic updates to the latest versions, so click Manage Licenses under the BackupBuddy information on the plugins page.
Enter your iThemes account you created when you purchased BackupBuddy, and then click Next to continue.
Now click Create Key, and your plugin will finally be fully activated. You’ll now receive automatic updates for BackupBuddy as long as your license is active.
Backup WordPress with BackupBuddy
Now that you’ve got BackupBuddy installed, it’s time to put it to work. Click the BackupBuddy button on the left WordPress toolbar to get started.
The first page will give you some info about BackupBuddy, with tips and tutorials on getting it setup. You can get started backing up your site by clicking the Backup link on this page.
Alternately, click the down arrow on the BackupBuddy button, and select Backups.
Now go ahead and create a first backup so your site will be protected as quickly as possible. Click the Full Backup button to save an archive of your entire WordPress site. While you’re at it, download the ImportBuddy.php file and save it to your computer; you can use this to re-create your site from your backup if you ever need to.
You’ll now see the backup progress listed on the top of the page. When it’s done backing up your site, you can download a zip archive from the list of backups on the bottom of the page. Do note that a full backup may be quite large, and may take a few minutes to process and longer to download, depending on the size of your site and your webhost’s server speed.
Save Your Backups To External Storage
One of BackupBuddy’s best features is that you can save backups to an FTP server or to Amazon S3. To do this, you’ll need to add your account info to BackupBuddy’s settings. Click the Settings link under the BackupBuddy button.
For most users, backing up to Amazon S3 will be the best option since it offers cheap storage that scales as you need it. To add your S3 account, scroll down and enter your account information. If you don’t have an account yet, check this article to see how to set your S3 account up and find your secret key.
Once you’ve got your information entered, click Test S3 Settings to make sure everything’s ready to go. If the test fails, double-check your information and make sure it’s correct.
On down on the settings page, you’ll have the option to enable or disable other BackupBuddy settings if you want. You can choose to enable or disable ZIP compression on your backups, check backups for integrity, backup non-WordPress database data, and more.
If you’d like to save storage space when creating backups, you can choose to exclude some of your WordPress folders from the backup on the bottom of the settings page.
Once you’re done changing your settings, click Save at the bottom of the page.
Now that you can save your backups off-site like you want, let’s get our site to automatically backup. Click the Scheduling button to set this up.
Now choose the type of database and how frequently you want to run the backup. You can choose to backup the database only, or backup your entire site. Then, select where to send your backup file, choose whether or not to delete the local file after backing up (we recommend you do), and click Add Schedule.
Once you’ve added your backup, you’ll see it listed on the top of the page. You can add multiple backups if you’d like such as a daily database backup and a weekly full site backup.
That’s all! Now your site will automatically backup itself, and you’ll never have to worry that you’ll lose your content.
Restore Your Site From a BackupBuddy Backup
Now, if something goes wrong and your server blows up, or you just want to move your site to a new server, just head over to Amazon S3 and download the latest version of your of your blog backup. If you’re backing up daily, you could even select a previous version of your site if you accidently delete a post.
To restore your full site, make sure you download a full backup from S3. Now, login via FTP to your hosting service, and upload your backup file and the RestoreBuddy.php file you downloaded previously. If you don’t still have it, you can extract it from your BackupBuddy zip file.
Once it’s done, browse to yourdomain.com/importbuddy.php. Follow the steps to restore your site, and within minutes your site will be up and running again, just as before! You won’t need to install WordPress, themes, plugins, or anything else; it’ll be just like nothing ever happened.
We’ve found BackupBuddy to be a very helpful plugin, and think it’s well worth the price. iThemes’ support is great too, so if you have any problems, you should find it easy to get an answer. It is a great alternative for users who do not want to pay monthly for backup services such as VaultPress. Let us know if you use BackupBuddy and what you think about it! If I were you, then I will purchase this plugin right now to give my self a peace of mind with a complete automated backup plugin.