Backups are one of the best defense against any sort of security threat toward your site. Regular backups are one thing that every blogger/webmaster should have. In past we showed you how to keep your content safe with BackupBuddy, and how to manually create WordPress database backups. However, BackupBuddy costs money and manual backups take time. What if we told you that you can create complete WordPress backup for free? Not only that, you can also store them on the cloud, and schedule to do this automatically. In this article we will show you how to create a complete WordPress backup for free with BackWPup.
First thing you need to do is install and activate BackWPup plugin. Upon activation, the plugin will display a welcome page. It will also add a BackWPup menu item in your WordPress admin sidebar.
Creating Backup Jobs with BackWPup
Click on Add New Job to create an automated backup job for your WordPress website. Under General tab, provide a name for this job. This name will be used internally and will help you identify each backup instance. Under the Job Tasks section, select the type of tasks you want this to perform. Available tasks include database backup, file backup, WordPress XML export, Installed plugins list, optimize database tables and check database tables. If you just want to create backup of your website, then you can select all options except for optimize and check database tables.
Under backup file creation section, choose an archive type. The default option is tar.gz, however you can choose zip archive if you want. Below this, you will see Job Destination section. This is where your backups will be stored. BackWPup provides multiple options to store your backup files. It can store backup file on your server, send it via email, backup to FTP, backup to dropbox, amazon S3, Windows Azure, Rackspace, and Sugarsync. Whatever you do, DO NOT store the backups on your server. For the sake of this WordPress tutorial, we will be using DropBox.
Scheduling Automated Backup in WordPress using BackWPup
Click on Schedule tab and choose how often do you want to backup your site. You can schedule it to run monthly, weekly, or daily basis by choosing WordPress Cron option. Alternatively, you can choose to manually run the job, so that you can create on-demand backups of your site. For advance level users there are more choices like using a URL to start the job externally using some other software or starting the job using WP-CLI, a command line interface for WordPress. For beginner level users we would highly recommend scheduling a daily or weekly backup by choosing WordPres Cron option.
What to Backup?
Click on DB Backup tab to select which tables you want to be included in the backup. Sometimes WordPress plugins create their own tables into your database, most of the time this data is not crucial and you may not need it. Unchecking these tables will reduce your backup size. However if you don’t know what you are doing, then keep all tables selected.
Under the Files tab you can select which directories and files you want to include in the backup job. We would recommend that you do not backup core WordPress files. Instead, only backup your wp-content/uploads folder. Uncheck Backup root folder. Exclude any folders in wp-content folder that you don’t want. For example, sometimes plugins will create their own directories inside wp-content folder to store plugin data. You can exclude these folders if you want.
Saving WordPress Backups To Dropbox
Depending on what you chose as destination for your backup, you will see a tab for it. In this tutorial we will show you how to automatically upload your WordPress backup to Dropbox using BackupWP plugin. So click on Dropbox tab and then click on Reauthenticate (full Dropbox).
This will take you to the Dropbox website where you will be asked to provide your username and password. After signing in, DropBox will ask for your permission to grant BackWPup access to your DropBox account.
After that, the plugin will take care of the rest.
Creating Multiple WordPress Backup Jobs using BackWPup
You can create multiple backup jobs with BackWPup. For example, you can create a scheduled job to run on a daily or weekly basis to backup your WordPress Database and another job to run manually for backing up your WordPress files only. You can see all jobs created by you on BackWPup » Jobs page. You can run any of the backup jobs by clicking on Run Now link below the job, even for scheduled jobs. You can also edit settings for a job or delete it entirely.
Running a Backup Job
When you execute a Backup Job manually by clicking on Run Now link, BackWPup will display the backup progress. Clicking on display working log, you can see what is going on in the background. If for some reason the backup job fails, then this log will also display the reason. You can also abort a job during the progress by clicking on abort button.
Troubleshooting WordPress Backup Jobs in BackWPup
Running a backup job may cause extra load on your hosting server. This may result in unfinished backup jobs. Also on most shared hosting services, there is a limit on how much time or memory a script can consume. When your server stops BackWPup for crossing the time or memory limit, it waits for 5 minutes and then resumes the process. In this case, it would take a while for a backup job to finish.
The first thing you should do is increase your PHP memory limit, then go to BackWPup » Settings and click on the Jobs tab. Increase Maximum number of restries for job steps option. The default value is 3, you can increase it to 5 and see if this works for you. After that scroll down to Reduce server load option and select medium or minimum server load options.
You are probably wondering if a good free plugin like BackWPup exist, then why do people pay for plugins like BackupBuddy or VaultPress. One of the reason is support. When you pay for a product, then you are guaranteed to get support. Another thing that we notice with both BackupBuddy and VaultPress is that they offer malware scanning. We use VaultPress because it is a 100% managed service. The backup is stored in their cloud server, and it is a pretty fool-proof setup.
We can not stress this enough that you need to back up your site regularly. Do not wait for your WordPress site getting hacked or infected with malware, start backing up now, so that you can swiftly restore WordPress from backup when the time comes. We hope that this guide helped you automate your WordPress backups. Let us know which WordPress backup solution you use by leaving a comment below.
Note: Due to a lot of request, we wrote an article about how to restore WordPress from Backup. If you use BackWPup, then you would be following the manual back restore option in the article.