Welcome to the Snapshot Pro user guide! This document explains each of the Snapshot Pro features and provides instructions on how to create and store backups of your website and quickly restore it.

If you haven’t installed Snapshot Pro yet, visit the Snapshot Pro product page to download or to get a quick overview of the many available features. If you are a WPMU DEV member, use one-click installation to install Snapshot Pro directly to any connected site.

NOTE:

If your site is hosted with WPMU DEV, multiple backups, including daily backups, are created for you automatically. See our Hosting Backups guide for a thorough explanation of the backup system in place for sites we host. Snapshot 4.0 backups are in addition to hosted backups and are not needed for most WPMU DEV hosted sites.

13.1 Getting Started

Link to chapter 1

As of version 4.0, Snapshot Pro’s backups are incremental and support both scheduled and manual backups from the Hub, for both sites hosted with WPMU DEV and on third-party hosting.

Snapshot Pro uses the WPMU DEV API to create a secure connection for backup and restore. The API is connected by installing the WPMU DEV Dashboard plugin and connecting your WPMU DEV account. To learn more about the WPMU DEV Dashboard plugin and connecting your site to the WPMU DEV API, visit the WPMU DEV Dashboard documentation.

Get started by installing and connecting the WPMU DEV dashboard plugin and the latest version of Snapshot. This will add a new menu item to your WordPress dashboard. Go to the Snapshot menu item to configure your Backups.

13.1.1 Setup Wizard

Link to chapter 1

The Setup Wizard/Welcome Guide will open the first time you click into Snapshot.

Snapshot 4.0 setup wizard

Click the Get Started button to open the backup scheduler and select the desired storage region for your backups. Then click Continue.

Select storage region in Snapshot 4.0 setup wizard

The wizard’s backup scheduler lets you choose to create a “Daily”, “Weekly”, or “Monthly” schedule. Choose the day, day of the week/month, and time you want backups to be scheduled. You can also choose “None” and create a schedule later if you prefer. See the Backups section for more.

Set backup schedule in Snapshot 4.0 setup wizard

If you do not want to schedule a backup at this point, you can also just click the “X” icon in the upper right corner to close the wizard and continue to the Snapshot Dashboard.

Click Save to schedule your managed backups. When saved, the wizard will close with a notification at the top of your screen about when your first backup will run.

Backup schedule confirmation in Snapshot 4.0 setup wizard

NOTE:

The first time backups can take some time to complete, though subsequent backups will be much faster. Apart from scheduled backups, you can also run backup manually. For more information, see the Backups section below.

13.2 Dashboard

Link to chapter 2

The Snapshot Pro Dashboard provides an overview of your scheduled backups, what third-party destinations are linked, and when your last backup was run. The dashboard has three modules:

This chapter provides information about what is available in the Snapshot Dashboard section.

13.2.1 Overview

Link to chapter 2

The Overview section is a quick way to see what settings and destinations are set up and active with your Snapshot backups. Available information in the Overview section includes:

  • Backups Available – Number of backups currently being stored in your cloud storage
  • Available Destinations – The number of connected backup locations. A full explanation of what destinations are and how to configure them can be found under the Destinations section of this guide.
  • Last Backup – Lists the date and time of your most recent successful backup
  • WPMU DEV Storage Space – Available WPMU DEV Storage Space included with your plan and how much storage has been used (upgrade plans for increased storage are available in the Addons section of your Account page). If you are running both Snapshot version 3 and version 4, this includes the total storage used across both versions.

13.2.2 Backups Overview

Link to chapter 2

The Backup overview module is a quick way to see information about your latest backups. For more information about configuring Backups, visit the Backups chapter. The Backup Overview module shows:

  • Title – This is the date of a scheduled backup or the title you entered for an on-demand backup
  • Destination – Tells what storage solution is being used

Overview of backups in Snapshot 4.0 dashboard

Clicking the “View All” button redirects you to the Backups section where you can get more detailed information about all available backups.

Click the “Backup Now” button to trigger an on-demand once-off backup. In the Creating Backup modal that pops open, you will add a title or a note about the backup to help make your backup easier to identify. For more information about creating Backups, visit the Backups chapter.

If you would like to apply global file exclusion settings, check the box next to the “Apply global file exclusions set in the settings page.” For more information, see the Global Exclusions section in Backups Settings.

13.2.3 Destinations Overview

Link to chapter 2

The Destinations Overview module lists all your connected cloud storage accounts where backups can be stored.

  • Active Destinations – Name of connected cloud storage destinations
  • Type – Note about where the backup is stored

Overview of destinations in Snapshot 4.0 dashboard

Click the “View All” button to open the Destinations tab where you will be able to connect other destinations and get more information about your connected accounts.

Learn more about Destinations and configuration options in the Destinations chapter.

NOTE:

Snapshot 4.0 does not currently include additional destinations. Dropbox integration is coming soon. Earlier versions of Snapshot include additional destinations. These can run in parallel to Snapshot 4.0 until additional Destinations are added to version 4.0.

13.3 Backups

Link to chapter 3

The Backups page has everything you need to view, manage, configure, run, restore, delete, and download Snapshot 4.0 backups. At the top of the screen is an overview showing the following information:

  • Backups available – Number of backups currently being stored in your cloud storage
  • Last backup – Lists the date and time of your most recent successful backup
  • Next scheduled backup – The date and time of next backup according to the schedule you set. If no schedule is set yet, this will indicate “Never“.
  • Backup schedule – The currently set backup schedule. If none is set yet, this will indicate “None“.

Backups overview in Snapshot 4.0

13.3.1 Backups Tab

Link to chapter 3

Create a manual backup

The first time you visit the Backups tab, you’ll be greeted with a prompt to run a backup now if you haven’t already. Click the Backup Now button to get started.

No backups yet in Snapshot 4.0

Enter a title for your manual backup and check the box to Apply global file exclusions if needed and if you have added any under the Settings tab, then click the Run Backup button.

Enter a title for a manual backup in Snapshot 4.0

The modal will close and you’ll see a progress bar indicating at which step the backup is currently at. Once that has completed, you’ll see your new manual backup in the list of Available Backups.

Manual backup progress in Snapshot 4.0

Create a backup schedule

If you have not yet set up a schedule for your backups, or wish to modify your existing backup schedule, click the Manage link in the Overview section next to Backup schedule.

Create or manage backup schedule in Snapshot 4.0

This will open a modal just like the one you saw when you went through the Setup Wizard. The backup scheduler lets you choose to create a “Daily”, “Weekly”, or “Monthly” schedule. Choose the day, day of the week/month, and time you want backups to be scheduled. Click the Save Schedule button to finish.

Set backup schedule in Snapshot 4.0

Available Backups

Once you have at least one backup completed, you’ll see a list of all your available backups with the most recent one at the top. You can create a new manual backup at any time by clicking the Backup Now button at top-right.

Create a manual backup in Snapshot 4.0

Like the Backups section on the overview page, the Title is set as the date of a scheduled backup or your custom title for once-off manual backups. The Destination is what cloud service your backup was pushed to. Frequency notes if the backup is a Daily, Weekly, or Monthly backup, or a manual backup, as indicated with the label None.

Click on a specific backup to open more information and actions. Additional information includes:

  • Current Schedule – Clicking on the schedule opens the schedule modal for you to change the frequency, day, and time your backup runs.
  • Global Exclusions – A list of any global exclusions applied to your backup at the time of the specific backup. Get more details about setting and understanding Global Exclusions in the Settings chapter of this document.
  • Date – When the selected backup ran.
  • Size – This notes the size of the selected backup.

Backup details in Snapshot 4.0

Additional actions per available backup

There are four action buttons along the bottom of the details section for any backup:

  • Delete
  • Restore
  • View Logs
  • Download

Delete
Click the Trash icon to delete the most recent backup, or you can delete all the backups on your site from the Backup > Settings tab.

Because backups are incremental, you must delete them one at a time, beginning with the most recent backup, or delete them all. Members can store a maximum of 30 manual and 30 scheduled backups, for a total of 60 backups. More information can be found in the Backups Settings documentation below.

Delete a backup in Snapshot 4.0

Restore
Click the Restore (semi-circle with an arrow) icon to open the Restore Backup modal.

Restore a backup in Snapshot 4.0

The Restore Backup modal indicates the directory where the backup will be restored. Click the “Restore” button to restore to the selected backup. Keep the page open until the process has finished.

Directory where backup will be restored in Snapshot 4.0

During the restoration, a progress indicator will let you know where the restore is at, and which steps have already been taken.

There are 5 steps in restoring your site:

  • Backup exported
  • Download backup
  • Restore files
  • Restore database
  • Finalize restoration
NOTE:

The restore process will overwrite the database and restore all files contained in the backup, but it will not delete any files uploaded to the site after the backup was made. So any plugins, themes, media, etc, added to the site after the backup was made will still be there once the restore completes. Please keep this in mind and know that you would need to delete those files manually before or after the restore if you don’t want them anymore.

Progress of backup restore in Snapshot 4.0

This process could take a few minutes for small sites and up to a few hours for larger sites. A notification will appear at the top of your screen when the restoration is complete, and will include a link to view the site.

Backup restore success message in Snapshot 4.0

NOTE:

To protect your site during the Restore process, if an error occurs while a backup is being exported or downloaded, the restoration will pause, cancel the restoration process, and leave your site as is. If the errors persist, use the Logs to locate the issue or contact your support team.

View Logs Button
Clicking the View logs button opens the backup log in the Logs tab. Get more information about the logs tab in the Logs section of this document.

View backup logs in Snapshot 4.0

Download
Clicking the Download link will prepare an export version of the selected backup for download and email a link that allows you to download the backup. The link expires in 7-days, but the backup will be stored for 30-days.

Download backup in Snapshot 4.0

13.3.2 Logs Tab

Link to chapter 3

Clicking the Logs tab opens a history of all the backups for the site. You can use these to debug issues and see what’s happening behind the scenes with each backup.

The Available Logs section is an overview of all backups with the most recent backup at the top. Backup information includes the Date and Destination.

View all backup logs in Snapshot 4.0

Clicking a backup will open the full log for that backup. Sort the information from your log with:

  • All – Display the entire report
  • Warning – Only display warnings and errors
  • Errors – Only display errors

Sort backup logs in Snapshot 4.0

Click the “View Backup” button to jump to the backup on your Backup list. Click the “Download” button to download your log file to your computer. Log info includes each action and when it was actioned.

Download logs in Snapshot 4.0

13.3.3 Settings Tab

Link to chapter 3

The Backups Settings tab allows you to set exclusions and view the number of backups your site will save.

Global File Exclusions

This setting allows you to choose specific files or folders you want to exclude from your once-off and scheduled backups. Enter the relative path to the file or folder you would like to exclude from your backup and press enter to add an exclusion; for example: /wp-content/custom-folder/ or /file.php.

You can currently only add one exclusion at a time. You can remove any of the added exclusions by clicking the [X] icon next to your list of added exclusions.

Global file exclusions in Snapshot 4.0

Storage Limit

Backups on WPMU DEV’s cloud storage will keep the most recent 30 backups before removing the older ones. Currently, this limit cannot be changed.

WPMU DEV cloud storage limit in Snapshot 4.0

Storage region

You can select which storage region you prefer for all your backups:

  • United States – This region is recommended for better performance.
  • Europe – This region is EU data protection directive compliant.

Select WPMU DEV cloud storage region in Snapshot 4.0

IMPORTANT:

If you switch to a new region, your existing backups will be deleted, and any new backups will be stored in the newly selected region.

Delete Backups

Delete is a one-click option to remove all backups. Clicking the Delete button will open a modal where you will need to confirm your action by clicking Delete. Click cancel or the close modal icon [X] to close without Deleting remote backups.

Delete all backups in Snapshot 4.0

13.4 Destinations

Link to chapter 4

A destination is a location where Snapshot backups are stored.

NOTE:

At launch, Snapshot 4.0 only supports backups to WPMU DEV secure cloud storage. Dropbox support is coming soon.

At the top of the Destinations screen, is an Overview module with:

  • Number of destinations
  • Last backup destination
  • Available WPMU DEV storage space

Destinations overview in Snapshot 4.0

Below is the Destinations module with a list of connected destinations. Hub connected sites are automatically connected to WPMU DEV cloud storage and do not require any additional setup to connect.

The Destinations module lists:

  • Name – Name of the destination, provider, or location where the backup will be stored.
  • Directory – This is where the backups are being stored. WPMU DEV cloud storage does not allow you to change directories.
  • User – This is the email address or account or username associated with the destination.
  • Backups – This is the number of backups currently being stored on your account.

Destinations list in Snapshot 4.0

13.5 Settings

Link to chapter 5

The Settings screen is where you will find your Snapshot API Key, Site ID, options to manage what happens to content if Snapshot is deleted, and gives you the ability to reset your plugin settings.

13.5.1 General

Link to chapter 5

The General tab is basic information about your Snapshot connection, including your Snapshot API Key that connects to your cloud storage and your website ID.

Snapshot API Key

This unique key is used to connect Snapshot on your site with WPMU DEV cloud storage. Click the copy button to copy the Snapshot API key to your clipboard if needed.

WPMU DEV API key in Snapshot 4.0

Site ID

This is your website’s WPMU DEV ID. Click the copy button to copy the Snapshot API key to your clipboard if needed.

WPMU DEV site ID in Snapshot 4.0

13.5.2 Data & Settings

Link to chapter 5

The Data & Settings tab is where you manage how Snapshot stores and handles information created by the plugin.

Uninstall

The Uninstall module allows you to configure what you do with backups when Snapshot is uninstalled. You can choose to either Keep or Remove backups.

Be sure and click the “Save Changes” button after making changes.

Uninstall options in Snapshot 4.0

Reset Settings

Use the Reset button in the Reset Settings module to roll back to default Snapshot settings.

Reset settings in Snapshot 4.0

NOTE:

The Reset Settings option will instantly reset all settings back to their defaults, and remove any destinations you have active. It will not delete existing backups though.

13.6 Special Notes about Snapshot 4.0

Link to chapter 6
  • For Snapshot 4.0 to work, your site needs to be connected to the Hub via WPMU DEV Dashboard.
  • Version 4 requires your website to be publicly accessible on the internet. Snapshot version 4 will not have a backup to local feature. This is by design, and there is not a plan to add this feature.
  • Third-party destinations (i.e. Dropbox, Google Drive) are planned but not part of 4.0. This is still in the development phase, and multiple approaches are being investigated. More information about this will be available when it comes closer to a release.
  • Partial backups (i.e. your theme only) are planned for a later release.
  • Snapshot begins iterating files at the WP root. Everything at that level and beyond, is iterated and included in the backup. Example: If your website has an abc/public_html/wp-config.php, an abc/public_html/exampleA path will be included in the backup. An abc/exampleB file path will not be included the backup.
  • Snapshot will backup any file added to your filesystem no matter how it was added – whether uploaded through the WP admin page, FTP/SFTP, SSH, or another method. If a file exists on the server, it will be iterated and included in the backup.
  • Snapshot does not currently have support for websites on a host using the Windows operating system.
  • PHP version requirement: 7.0 or above.

13.7 Incremental backups

Link to chapter 7

Snapshot cloud backups are incremental. This means the only time Snapshot iterates over all files and db tables is the very first backup (unless a site is changed drastically between backups). The first backup in each site (manual or scheduled) is a full-site backup. We call that the base backup. All later backups — both scheduled and manual — are incremental backups, and understanding what that means is important.

In simplest terms, an incremental backup copies and stores only data that has been changed since the last backup. When you look at your backup list and see multiple backups created during the past several days, you are not looking at multiple copies of your full site, but rather the incremental changes that have been backed up since the last full backup.

Incremental backups are superior to traditional backups in a number of ways; perhaps most importantly, they are small and fast. This allows you to backup your site more frequently.

Example: A 500MB site was backed up last night and today you added 5MB of data. You want to protect the new data, but why backup the entire site when 99% of its data hasn’t changed? An incremental backup only includes the new data, will have the smallest possible impact on your storage capacity, has a lower impact on server load, and is much faster.

When a backup is restored or downloaded, these incremental backups are merged with the full backup (base backup) to produce an up-to-date copy of the site. You can download the exported up-to-date backup from the Backups page and also from the Hub.

As noted above, Snapshot has a 30-day backup rotation schedule and a 50-day time to expiry. When the oldest backup is removed from our storage, Snapshot automatically converts the next oldest backup to the new base backup. No action is required on your part.

What will happen to my current backups?

Managed backups

Upgrading to Snapshot 4.0 will have no impact on the managed backups we automatically create for our members. However, upgrading to Snapshot 4.0 will impact any additional backups members may have created with previous versions of Snapshot, as noted below.

Snapshot backups

Snapshot 4.0 is not simply an update of the current version, but an entirely new and improved plugin, so installing 4.0 will not replace a previous version currently active on a site. In fact, both versions can be active on the same site at the same time, with the following caveats:

  • Snapshot 4.0 cannot be used to restore backups created with a previous version and vice versa.
  • Snapshot backups stored locally–on your site’s WPMU DEV server–are not deleted when 4.0 is installed, but are deleted and unrecoverable when v3 is uninstalled. If a site has no locally-stored Snapshot backups, v3 will be automatically uninstalled when v4 is activated. If local Snapshot backups do exist, members will be given the option to leave v3 installed and active.
  • For the time being, v3 will continue to work independently of v4.0, but at some point in the future, this may cease to be true.
  • Snapshots created with v3 then uploaded to a third-party provider or downloaded to your computer cannot be uploaded and restored with v4.0. Once v3 has been uninstalled, these backups can only be restored manually. See our Manual Restore Instructions for guidance.

Are destinations still available?

Destinations are not available with the initial Snapshot 4.0 release, although third-party destinations will be added in subsequent releases. Backups that have been uploaded to third party providers will not be affected by installing v4.0 and should still be available in those third-party accounts. However, backups created with previous versions cannot be restored with v4.0. Once v3 has been uninstalled, these backups can only be restored manually. See our Manual Restore Instructions for guidance.

Does Snapshot 4.0 support partial backups?

The initial release of Snapshot 4.0 does not support partial backups, although this feature is slated for a future release.

Does Snapshot 4.0 support subsite backups?

The initial release of Snapshot 4.0 does not support subsite backups, although this feature is slated for a future release.

Do I have to update to PHP 7.0 or higher?

Yes. Snapshot 4.0 requires PHP 7.0 or higher. If you are running an earlier version of PHP and do not wish to update to 7.0 or higher, you should not upgrade to Snapshot 4.0.