CodeGuard: The Best Backup Service for WordPress?

CodeGuard: The Best Backup Service for WordPress?You may recall an article I published back in July entitled Should WordPress.org Host Premium Subscription-Based Plugins?, in which I named and shamed a backup plugin known as CodeGuard. I therefore don’t blame you for being surprised that CodeGuard is the subject of today’s review.

However, I am all for giving second chances, and further to my aforementioned article, the team at CodeGuard worked quickly to make amends for their previous misdemeanor (which in fairness, did seem to have been committed in ignorance, rather than with intent). And as they once did before, they now again offer a free option to WordPress users.

So with bygones being bygones and a forward-facing attitude, today I want to introduce you to what is a rather unique backup service for WordPress.

Featured Plugin - WordPress Facebook Plugin

Would you like to add Facebook comments, registration, 'Like' buttons and autoposting to your WP site? Well, The Ultimate Facebook plugin has got that all covered!
Find out more

Dime a Dozen

Whenever I stumble across a new backup plugin, one question always immediately springs to mind: “What does this plugin do that a hundred other backup plugins don’t?”

So let’s take a look (in no particular order) at what I consider to be the key selling points of any backup service:

  • Simplicity
  • Reliability
  • Affordability

You need to trust a backup service. You need to have confidence in their service. You need to be able to use such a service without needing an instruction manual. And preferably, such a service shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Having been using CodeGuard for several weeks now, I believe that it delivers on all three fronts, and is well worth investigating if you are in the market for a backup service.

Simplicity

To give you an idea of CodeGuard’s feature set, check out this brief promotional video:

The concept is simple – CodeGuard takes periodical “snapshots” of your site, informs you of any changes, and provides you with the ability to reverse any changes made between each snapshot.

Not only is this simple, it also highlights one of CodeGuard’s unique selling points – its ability to spot changes made to a site. With the daily reporting system, you will never be far away from knowing if someone (or something) malicious is interacting with your site. And if no changes are made, CodeGuard won’t take a backup. Therefore, every backup you see on your account represents a unique iteration of your site.

Here’s a screenshot of backups of my blog from the last few days:

CodeGuard

As you can see, you get an intuitive overview of all of the changes that have been made to your site. You can click for more details on any specific day and browse through a list of every single file that has been added, changed or removed.

If you need to restore your site to a previous iteration, you have three options:

  1. Request a ZIP file of your backup and manually overwrite files as you see fit
  2. Automatically restore your site to a previous version
  3. Select specific files to overwrite
The second and third features are beta only, and are also only available on the paid plan.

Reliability

This is where CodeGuard really shines, because it has nowhere to hide. Every single backup ever made, with full details on the changes within, is available within a few clicks:

Backups

This kind of transparency can only serve to fill you with confidence, because let’s face it – reliability is an absolute must when it comes to choosing a backup service. If you choose to receive daily emails, you will be able to see that CodeGuard is working every day to log and store changes to your site.

Affordability

This is where CodeGuard’s very reasonable and relatively simplistic payment plan comes to the fore. First of all, there is a free option available, offering the following features:

  • 1 website
  • 1gb storage
  • Weekly backups
  • Manual restore

The pro plan, starting at $5 per month, offers a more feature-rich service:

  • Up to 50 websites
  • 5gb storage
  • Daily backups
  • One click automatic restore

If you require more space, each gigabyte will set you back another dollar a month. If you need to back up more than 50 sites, you will need to pay another $4 per site (or $3 per site once you go over 100).

It might get a little bit convoluted for power users, but for the rest of us, CodeGuard is a very reasonably-priced and well-featured backup solution. However, there are some curious anomalies regarding the service. For instance, I am using the free plan, which is supposed to provide weekly backups and 1gb of space. But for some reason, I am getting daily backups and 2gb of space (I’m not complaining!). Furthermore, if you attempt to upgrade your plan from within your account (as opposed to signing up as a new user), you get offered completely different payment plans. I have contacted CodeGuard regarding these issues, so it will be interesting to see how they respond.

In conclusion, whilst defining one backup service as “the best” is essentially impossible, I do believe that CodeGuard is an excellent option. I wouldn’t hesitate in trusting it with my own sites.

Download CodeGuard here.

Tags ,

Comments (10)

  1. Tom,
    How do you think this stacks up and compares with something like backup buddy? I’m just in the process of purchasing a backup solution for a client, and all my research has pointed to backup buddy, but code guard looks like a viable alternative and i guess your provocative title for this article peaked my curiosity.

    In terms of cost this wins, and this looks like vendor supplied storage, which means there no need to get extra storage with dropbox et all.

    The snapshot ability seems useful, but is it practical? what happens when you update plug ins? Does this fire off a lot of warning that you manually check to confirm nothing sinister is afoot?

    The anomalies you mention have slightly concerned me, as it indicates to me they’re still in that learning curve phase ( and even if they rapidly fix issues) problems are still occurring. so is my backups really safe?

    Would appreciate your thoughts….

    • Hello,

      There is no doubting the fact that Backup Buddy is well-established. And one could argue that price is not necessarily an area in which you want to compromise when it comes to backing up your valuable data.

      However, Backup Buddy is a *lot* more expensive. I think that Code Guard is definitely viable alternative, and it has worked for me perfectly so far. Having said that, I understand your sentiments regarding the anomalies. Ultimately, it’s up to you!

      Cheers,

      Tom

    • Hi,

      I use CodeGuard on 60+ sites and get a handful of update messages each day. They are not painful to deal with. It’s just a note that files on the site were changed/added/deleted and list of up to 10 files, and a link to more info. It takes me less than a minute a day to see what changed where, recognize that they are usually all good changes and move on to the next task. It’s actually reassuring to know what my staff are doing–yes they did the edit that Ms. McGillicudy requested on her site. Once in a while I see something fishy, like a .php file added to a site I know doesn’t use php, or a weirdly named file. Then I look and holy crap, it’s malware. Usually we fix the problem before any search engines even notice or users are heavily impacted. Our clients use a lot of different hosting providers and tons of people have access, so there are many ways for security to break down. CodeGuard also reassures me that if I or staff screw up a site while making changes we can go back to a good version.

      I’m not just a founder, I’m also a client.

      -Jonathan Hochman

  2. Tom-
    I wanted to respond to two of the anomalies you identified: daily backups with 2GB occurring instead of weekly with 1GB, and a different set of pricing plans appearing within the application for those interested in upgrading. The answer to the first anomaly is almost the same as the answer to the second: we were in the midst of conducting an A/B test on our pricing plans, while continuing to offer daily backups with 2GB to all users.

    In the last 2 months, we’ve conducted a series of tests to determine what users wanted. Instead of relying on surveys, we allowed users to vote with their wallets – as surveys can often produce misleading results. What you saw within the application was the result of yet another A/B test. As of today, we are satisfied with the results of our latest test, and you should see consistency across the application on product pricing for some time.

    2GB of storage with weekly backup will most likely be our free offering, while paid users will get daily backup and monitoring.

    Hopefully, this makes some sense!

    -David

  3. Is Codeguard the best cheap option for backing up your wordpress site on a budget?. I want to use this to back up my site until it grows bigger, and later on I’ll move to a WordPress dedicated server like WPengine, just curious.. good post!.

Participate