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.
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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:
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.
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:
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:
- Request a ZIP file of your backup and manually overwrite files as you see fit
- Automatically restore your site to a previous version
- Select specific files to overwrite
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:
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.
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.