Among the various advantages of using a popular platform like WordPress, having a lot of free services is a very obvious one. You can easily get lots of free themes and plugins that will make your job a lot easier. Today, I will talk about a plugin which will help you in creating backups of your site.
While there are lots of free and premium plugins available for backing up your WordPress website, UpdraftPlus is the most popular among them. This free plugin could be used to back up, restore, and copy your WordPress website. Before I begin the actual discussion, make sure that you have downloaded and activated the plugin.
Once you have activated UpdraftPlus, you will find a new sub-menu titled ‘UpdraftPlus Backups’ in the ‘Settings’ menu.
Go to Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups. You will see a screen similar to this –
At the top of the screen, you will see some links to the official UpdraftPlus website, latest news, their Twitter account, premium version, support, FAQ, more plugins etc. Below, you will find a welcome message and then, another link to the UpdraftPlus website.
We are in the ‘Current Status’ tab at this moment. Here, ‘Actions’ is the section you will use most of the time. This section contains three big buttons – Backup Now, Restore and Clone/Migrate.
The next two sections show information about next scheduled backups and the time when last backup was created. And the last section of this page shows the last log message you saved.
Creating a Backup
Just to remind you, we are still in Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups and in the ‘Current Status’ tab.
Now, in order to create a backup, click the ‘Backup Now’ button. It will bring a new pop-up box like the following –
The pop-up box will provide you with three options. The first one, ‘Don’t include the database in the backup,’ does what it says. If you check this box, your database won’t be included in the backup. And the second option allows you to exclude files from the backup. The last option will not send the backup to any remote storage.
After deciding with these options, click the ‘Backup Now’ button at the bottom. This will start the backup and a new section titled ‘Backup in progress’ will appear.
If you have uploaded lots of media files, the backup process may take some time. In that case, wait until the process is completed.
Once the backup is created, the ‘Backup in progress’ section will disappear. Now go to the ‘Existing Backups’ tab. At the bottom of this tab, you will find your newly created backup.
Along with the date and time of the backup, you will also find what the backup file includes e.g. Database, Themes, Plugins, Uploads etc.
Restoring from a Backup
To restore a backup, go to the ‘Existing Backups’ tab. On the bottom of this page, you will find your backup(s) listed. Click the ‘Restore’ button of the specific backup you want to restore. This will bring another pop-up box like the following –
From the options, select the components you want to restore. One you are done, click the ‘Restore’ button. After successfully preparing the components, UpdraftPlus will provide you with another pop-up box.
Click ‘Restore’ again. At this point, the actual restoring process will begin. One the process is complete, you will be provided with a detailed report of the process. By the way, you can perform the restoring process from the ‘Current Status’ tab too. On that page, click the ‘Restore’ button and you will be taken to the Backups section.
If you reload your website now, you will see that you got back all the backed up data. It is very simple, right?
Here’s a power tip for advanced users. If you want to download individual copies of your themes, plugins, database, uploads etc., you can do that from the ‘Existing Backups’ tab too. Find out the backup you want to work with, and then click on the specific component.
After a little processing, you will be provided with a box like this –
You have two options here – you can either download a zipped archive of that component to your computer, or you can delete that component from the web server. Click on the ‘Download to your computer’ button to perform the first operation.
Setting up UpdraftPlus
Now, let’s take a look at the ‘Settings’ tab. This area will allow you to set up the backup schedule, backup content, database options, reporting and other aspects of the plugin. We will discuss them one by one.
Configure Backup Contents And Schedule
The first option of this section is for scheduling file backups. You can set the backup to be performed on manual basis, or every 4, 8, or 12 hours, or on daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. After that, you can save a certain number of backups by specifying the number.
The next option does the same thing for database backups. Like the file backup, you can set up the backup frequency and define how many backups you want to save.
The free version of UpdraftPlus doesn’t allow setting up a specific time for the backups. You have to buy the premium version to enjoy that facility.
The next section allows you to set whether you want to include the themes, plugins and upload files in the backup file. You can also choose to exclude specific directories form the backup by writing their names in the ‘Exclude these:’ field.
Database encryption is another feature which is not included in the free version of UpdraftPlus. You have to go for the premium version in order to have this facility. This section also lets you decrypt an encrypted database. But as we don’t have encryption feature in the free version, this won’t be useful for us at this moment.
This section will allow you to send an email to the admin of the website once a backup is created. A reporting add-on will allow you to send customized reports too.
Copying Your Backup To Remote Storage
This section lets you send your backup files to remote storage services. UpdraftPlus supports most of the popular cloud storage services including Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, FTP, WebDAV etc. If you don’t choose any remote storage, then the backups will be stored in your web server.
Once you have chosen your favorite remote storage service, you have to verify and connect UpdraftPlus with that service. This process varies from one service to another. However, setting up them is rather straightforward. I don’t think you will need my assistance in this regard. And if you want to save your backup file on multiple cloud storage, you have to use an add-on.
This section is targeted at more advanced users and is suggested to leave as they are unless you are facing a problem or feeling adventurous. In simple terms, don’t bother with them now.
At this point, you should have set your backup schedule, your preferred cloud storage and other options. Click the ‘Save Changes’ button to save them.
We have one more tab on top, which is ‘Debugging / Expert Tools.’ The first section of this tab is really not intended for general users, as it clearly states – “Unless you have a problem, you can completely ignore everything here.” We will be very obedient and ignore it.
Then, there’s the next section titled ‘Total (uncompressed) on-disk data:’. This section will show you the size of your backed up components. To view the size, click on the ‘count’ link after the component name.
Then, there are two buttons – ‘Debug Full Backup’ and ‘Debug Database Backup.’ If your scheduled backup is not performing accordingly, you can try to find out the problem from this area. Clicking any of these buttons will start an immediate backup. When these backups work, but your scheduled backups don’t, then you have got a problem with your scheduler. If that is the case, UpdraftPlus has some suggestions for you.
And lastly, the ‘Wipe Settings’ does what it sounds like; it wipes all of your custom settings. To do this, click the ‘Wipe All Settings’ button. This will delete everything except the backup files stored in the remote server.
That concludes our review of UpdraftPlus. I hope I was able to provide you with detailed instructions about setting up and using UpdraftPlus. However, if you are still confused or want to anything else about the plugin, please leave a comment below.
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