Regularly backing up your website is one of the most important things you can do to guard against losing all your data. After all, no one plans to be hacked or for their server to crash.
Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent, not to mention free, WordPress plugins available that will back up your posts, pages, product descriptions, and whatever else you have on your site.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at the best 11 we could find.
Premium vs. Free Plugins
Although many backup plugins are free, there are also some that will cost you money. Before we look at the free ones, it’s worth considering the pros and cons of both types.
The biggest – and most noticeable – benefit of a free plugin is, of course, the price (or lack thereof). However, it’s always best to remember the phrase: “You get what you pay for.”
That said, the free backup options are rated by other users. In some cases, they’ve been downloaded and installed by hundreds of thousands of fellow WordPressers. That should give you some peace of mind knowing that other people have gone on before you and found that the plugin was, at the very least, satisfactory.
Premium plugins typically offer a better support program. If something doesn’t seem to be working as it should, you can contact support and get the issue resolved. Support from companies that price their backup service on a monthly basis are usually very good at responding to your questions because they don’t want to lose you as a customer.
When would you pick a free backup plugin over a premium backup plugin? Typically when your budget constraints demand that you do so. If you simply don’t have the money for a professional backup service, then your best (and only!) option is to go with a free solution.
Key Backup Plugin Features
When scoping out your backup plugin options, there are a few features that all backup plugins should come with:
- Automation. To be honest, there’s little point going for a backup plugin if it’s not automated; you may as well conduct the backup manually every time.
- Ease of use. Depending on how tech savvy you are, the easier it is to restore from a backup, the better.
- The ability to backup your entire site. You don’t just want your database, but also all of your media files, themes, etc. A backup that only restores part of your site leaves you with a lot of work to do.
- Support. If you suddenly encounter a problem when restoring your backup, you need to have a resource to turn to. Whether it’s a well-stocked FAQ (a good start) or dedicated support (now we’re talking) – check that help is at hand.
With the above said, let’s take a look at those aforementioned free WordPress backup plugins!
UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration is one of the most popular free backup plugins available for WordPress. With more than half a million installs and an extraordinarily favorable 4.9 (out of a possible five) star rating, it should definitely make your shortlist.
You can use Updraft to back up your files to the cloud via Amazon S3, as well as other popular online file storage solutions including Google Drive, Dropbox, Rackspace Cloud, and DreamObjects. You can also backup your files to the server of your choice with an FTP transfer.
UpdraftPlus is also offered as a premium version. That gives you a gigabyte of backup storage on the Updraft Vault, additional backup options (including Microsoft OneDrive, SCP, WebDAV, and OpenStack Swift), secure FTP, the ability to clone databases, automatic backup when updating WordPress themes, and the ability to send backups to remote destinations. The premium version costs between $70 and $145, depending upon how many sites you’re planning on installing the plugin.
Very little is written about WP-DB-Backup on its plugin page. However, its lack of a thorough marketing message apparently hasn’t diminished its popularity. The plugin has been downloaded more than half a million times and enjoys a 4.6 star rating.
Code geeks and those who like to tinker might appreciate the fact that the source code is available on GitHub. However, as with all plugins, the source code is also visible within the WordPress installation itself once the plugin has been installed.
WP-DB-Backup, as the name implies, backs up your database, not your files. If you want your files backed up as well, you’ll need to look for an alternative solution.
Duplicator is a backup solution that not only backs up your data, but also duplicates your entire WordPress site. As you can imagine, it is a powerful backup solution. Maybe that’s why the plugin has been installed more than half a million times and currently enjoys a 4.9 star rating.
This plugin gives you the opportunity to migrate, copy, or clone your entire site from one location to another, which is a great solution if you’re looking for complete redundancy in the event that you need a failover option if your primary site goes down.
As a disclaimer, the author advises that the plugin requires above average technical knowledge. So, if you’re someone who is unskilled in software configuration, you’ll need to delegate the administration of this plugin to a professional. That will cost money (unless you’re friends with a tame WordPress developer).
It should also be noted that, as of this writing, the project is in beta. You have been warned!
The appropriately named BackUpWordPress is another excellent option if you’re looking for a free WordPress backup system. It’s been installed more than 200,000 times as of this writing and enjoys a 4.7 (out of a possible 5) star rating.
Be advised, though: This plugin requires PHP version 5.3.2 or later. It’s not too likely that your WordPress installation is using an old version of PHP, but you’ll want to ensure that your version is compliant with this plugin before you install it.
BackUpWordPress will back up your entire site, including your files and your database, at a schedule that suits your needs. It requires no setup and works on low memory – an excellent advantage if you’re operating on a shared host environment.
The plugin also gives you the option to use zip and mysqldump for faster backups. That can be a significant benefit if time is of the essence.
Keep in mind that if you want to store your backups anywhere other than your hard drive or in your email, you’ll have to purchase an extension. The plugin offers numerous extensions for various cloud storage services, such as Dropbox and Google Drive. You can also purchase a bundle option that will enable you to back up your files to multiple locations.
Finally, BackUpWordPress offers support for multiple languages.
Consider blogVault if you’re looking for a free solution that offers automated daily backups of your WordPress site. It’s a solution that has 9,000 installations as of this writing with a 4.5 star rating.
The tool does offer an automated backup solution directly to Dropbox, if that’s your tool of choice for online file storage. However, blogVault requires some setup, though the documentation claims that the setup is “easy” and that it will require a minimal investment of your time.
This plugin also boasts that it doesn’t use any local storage for backups. Instead, all storage is handled offsite, ensuring that the resources for your WordPress blog aren’t consumed with costly backups.
The blogVault solution also offers incremental backups for huge websites. Nice touch.
The myRepono WordPress Backup Plugin is a less popular yet well-rated solution for your WordPress backup needs.
myRepono enables you to get your automated backup process set up in a matter of minutes. It also provides a series of backup and restoration tools via its website, myRepono.com. That solution will cost some money, but it’s a pay-as-you-go solution, enabling you to budget your backup needs according to your financial constraints.
The myRepono tool gives you the option to backup your website every hour, day, week, or month.
The plugin supports hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly backups with varying intervals. For example, you can create backups every four hours or every two weeks.
CYAN Backup also enables you to specify which files and directories you do and don’t want to back up.
BackWPup Free is a very popular solution with more than 300,000 installations. However, it’s not as well rated as some of the others, with only a 3.8 star rating as of this writing.
The plugin gives you the option to use an external backup service such as Dropbox, Rackspace Cloud, SugarSync, or S3. It also allows you to FTP the backup files to the server of your choice.
As the name implies, BackWPup is free. However, there is a premium version that’s offered with support. The premium version also supports backups to Google Drive and Amazon Glacier.
BackWPup will also give you the option to optimize, check, and repair your database. That’s a feature that isn’t advertised with many other solutions.
You won’t be surprised to learn that WordPress Backup to Dropbox is a backup solution that works with Dropbox. It’s also a popular solution with more than 100,000 installations.
With this backup, you’ll obviously need a Dropbox account for your backup. That will cost money if your backup is more than 2Gb. Setup is easy – you just authorize the plugin with Dropbox. Once that’s completed, your backups are fully automated.
This plugin requires PHP version 5.2.16 or higher with cURL support. Check with your host administrators to check you have the required versions installed.
The tool also claims to have premium options available for people who need additional functionality, and also offers support for multiple languages.
If you’re looking for a solution that only backs up your database but not your files, then have a look at WP Database Backup.
This plugin boasts that you can create backups with just a single click. It offers support for Dropbox, FTP, and even email. The tool also requires minimal configuration. It’s simple, but it gets the job done.
XCloner is a solution that not only works for WordPress, but also works for Joomla!, if you’re interested in that kind of thing (traitor!).
The plugin uses open source technologies, such as TAR, to back up your important content. You can rest assured that your redundancy is handled with prevailing, popular standards. XCloner has been downloaded more than 60,000 times and has a 4.2 star rating.