I made a fun video with my friend Lydia at Expresso Designs today about backing up your site and safely updating, and I realized I was overdue for a website backup post. Basically, you should not work without a net. Two nets, actually – a staging site and regularly scheduled backups of your site. The staging site you can try your updates out on first (and with Gutenberg coming, it’s a great idea for everyone) and if something does go wrong, you can revert back to an earlier copy of your site. Thanks to Bonbon Lang-es for the beautiful safety net photo for the featured image*** – which is what your staging site and more importantly, your back ups, are for your business: your safety net.
I usually do backups via .xml export, or the host or All in One WP Migration, which really is terrific…but you can’t automate your backups with them. I spent the morning trying out Updraftplus (I am apparently the last person with a computer and a website who hasn’t, but there ya have it) and I like it! I backed up a really large site and a small nimble one, and it worked great for both. Fair warning – it took about 35 minutes to do the back up for the larger site. It’s free and you can schedule your backups (and store them in the cloud) and move on to other tasks. The scheduling part is huge, because you want to find that you have been making backups regularly, not just when someone remembered to.
You need to keep in mind the storage limit of your chosen place for sending your backups, and you can choose any schedule you want and how many to keep. You may choose to do at least a weekly backup, as is recommended at wpbackitup. Another client makes very few changes to their site, so they will be happy with biweekly backup, and only keeping one or two of the backups. If you do that, I recommend setting a backup that cannot be deleted except manually, just as a backup to the backup. It also doesn’t hurt to occasionally download one of the backups to a different place than you usually store them – again, just as a backup to the backup.