Searching for the best WordPress backup plugin to keep your site’s data safe?
Every WordPress site needs a safe backup solution. Ignoring backups is fine until something goes wrong – and then you’ll wish you’d implemented a good backup policy before it was too late.
To help you avoid heartbreak, we’ve collected the five best backup plugins for WordPress. All of these plugins let you create an automatic backup schedule – you just need to configure them one time and then your site’s data will be safe for good.
Let’s dig in so that you can get backed up ASAP…
First – Do You Need a WordPress Back Plugin?
Before you go and install a WordPress backup plugin, you should first verify whether or not you actually need a plugin.
Most managed WordPress hosts implement automatic backups for you. As long as these hosts are backing up your site to a secure off-site location, these are probably all you need – you don’t need a separate backup plugin.
Quality WordPress hosts that will do this for you include:
However, you should not trust the backup promises of most cheap shared hosts. While some do advertise automatic backups, the policies usually aren’t great and you’re much better off taking things into your own hands with one of these backup plugins.
Five Best WordPress Backup Plugins
In my opinion, UpdraftPlus is the best free backup plugin for most WordPress users. It’s not the best backup plugin for all situations. But if you don’t want to spend any money and you’re not sure where to start, beginning with UpdraftPlus is never going to be a bad decision.
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With the free version, you can automatically back up some or all of your site to a variety of different locations, including cloud storage locations such as:
- Google Drive
- Amazon S3
- Rackspace Cloud
The paid version adds other destinations such as Microsoft OneDrive, Azure, Google Cloud, Backblaze, SFTP, and more.
You can set up your own backup schedule, including using different schedules for backing up your site’s files vs its database. For example, you could back up your database every day but only back up your files once per week.
You can also restore your site, including an option to restore all or some of your site. For example, you could only restore your database.
I think the free version is all that most average WordPress sites will need. However, if you want more features, there’s also a premium version that adds
- Incremental backups – you can only back up changes to your database/files, rather than backing up the whole site each time.
- WordPress multisite support
- Site migration/cloning
- Automatic backups when updating WordPress
- Option to schedule a specific time (the free version lets you create scheduled backups, but you can’t choose a specific time. E.g. back up at 2 AM).
- UpdraftPlus Central, which is the plugin’s own cloud storage.
Price: Free version at WordPress.org. You can purchase individual pro add-ons from $10+ each or get a bundle of all add-ons starting at $70.
Jetpack Backup is the service formerly known as VaultPress. It comes from Automattic, the same company behind WordPress.com, WooCommerce, and the Jetpack plugin (obviously).
If you’re looking for the absolute simplest tool, this is going to be one of your best options. Pretty much all you do is install the plugin and then it will handle automatically backing up your site to a safe off-site location in the cloud.
In terms of backup frequency, you have two options (with different prices):
- Daily backups – the plugin backs up your site every day and stores those backups for 30 days.
- Real-time backups – the plugin automatically backs up your site in real-time as you make changes to your files or database. This is called real-time incremental backups. It will also store those backups forever and you can restore to any point in time (even a specific file/database change).
Daily backups are all most sites need. However, if you’re running an eCommerce store, membership site, forum, or other types of dynamic sites, you’ll want the real-time backup. Because your database is constantly changing (new orders, new members, etc) you’ll want to immediately back up that information.
No matter which frequency you choose, you’ll be able to restore your site with a single click.
Price: $36/year for daily backups or $240/year for real-time backups.
Like Jetpack Backup, BlogVault is another great option if you just want a simple tool that will do everything for you (and you’re willing to pay).
Once you set it up, BlogVault will automatically back up your site to off-site cloud storage (on both its own server and Amazon S3).
As with Jetpack Backup, you can choose from different frequencies (at different price points):
- Daily backups – with storage for 90 days.
- Real-time backups – with storage for 365 days.
You can also easily restore any backup with a single click.
BlogVault goes a bit beyond Jetpack Backup, though. It can also help you:
- Create staging sites, including an option to push your staging site to your live site.
- Migrate your site.
- Update the core, themes, and plugins from your BlogVault dashboard.
If you want security and malware scanning, as well, BlogVault also has a plan that combines with MalCare (which is a malware scan/security plugin from the same developer).
Overall, I’d say that BlogVault is an excellent option if you’re willing to pay a little more for simplicity and convenience. The staging feature is also great if your web host doesn’t offer staging.
Price: From $89/year for daily backups or $249/year for real-time backups on a single site
WP Time Capsule is a premium WordPress backup plugin that you can use with your own cloud storage. You can choose from:
- Amazon S3
- Google Drive
Unlike Jetpack Backup and BlogVault, the cloud storage is in your name and you retain full control (which some people might prefer)
One of the most notable things about it is that it uses real-time incremental backups by default. That is, WP Time Capsule will back up changes immediately. It will also automatically back up your site before applying any update (and it includes a feature to let you automatically apply updates if desired).
This real-time backup approach is great if your site is constantly changing. For example, if you have a WooCommerce store, you want real-time backups. Similarly, if your blog receives tons of visitor comments, you might want to back those up right away.
In addition to incrementally backing up your site, you can also incrementally restore your site, which gives you a lot of control.
However, if you only publish a few blog posts per week and not much changes, you probably won’t benefit that much from real-time backups. Instead, you could save some money by going with the free version of UpdraftPlus.
Finally, another nice feature is the ability to create one-click staging environments. You can also test updates and restores in your staging environment before pushing them live.
Price: From 49 for a one-year license or $149 for a lifetime license. Prices go up based on the number of sites you want to use it on and your desired restore window.
BackupBuddy is a premium WordPress backup plugin from iThemes, a popular WordPress plugin shop that was acquired by Liquid Web (a web host).
It can help you back up some or all of your WordPress site on a schedule that you choose – anywhere from every hour to monthly and more.
As for where to store those backups, you get two general options:
- You can send them to your own off-site storage such as Amazon S3, Google Drive, Dropbox, and more.
- You can use BackupBuddy’s own cloud storage service called BackupBuddy Stash.
If you use BackupBuddy Stash, you can also implement real-time incremental backups as of BackBuddy 7.0.
No matter where you store your backups, you’ll also be able to easily restore them with just a few clicks. You can also partially restore your site, like just rolling back your database.
Other useful features including:
- Cloning and migration
- Staging sites
One of the notable things about BackupBuddy is that it integrates with the iThemes Sync tool from the same developer. If you’re not familiar, iThemes Sync helps you manage multiple WordPress sites from a single dashboard. With this integration, you can essentially back up all of your sites from one central dashboard.
Price: Starts at $80 for use on a single site, which includes 1 GB of BackupBuddy Stash storage and one year of Stash Live (for real-time incremental backups). If needed, you can purchase additional Stash storage from $35/year for 5 GB.
Which WordPress Backup Plugin Should You Use?
The best WordPress backup plugin for your site will depend on:
- How you’re using your site
- Your budget, and whether you’re willing to pay for convenience
For most “regular” WordPress sites, I think that the free version of UpdraftPlus is the best option – just make sure to use an off-site storage location and set up a backup frequency that works for your site.
If you want something even simpler and handles the off-site thing for you, then you can consider paying for a premium plugin/service such as BlogVault or Jetpack Backup. I don’t think they’re necessarily “better” at backing up a regular WordPress site, but they are a bit simpler and more hands-off. BackupBuddy can also be a good option here, especially with its BackupBuddy Stash feature.
However, if you’re running a WooCommerce store or another type of WordPress site where your database is constantly changing (and those changes are incredibly important), then I think you’ll want to go with a backup plugin that supports real-time, incremental backups. Again, this means that as soon as something changes in your database, the plugin automatically backs that up.
If you’re only publishing a blog post once per day, you don’t need that. But if you’re constantly receiving new orders, you need to make sure all of those orders are safe.
For real-time incremental backups, I think your best options are:
- The real-time backups plan of Jetpack Backup ($240 per year)
- WP Time Capsule (from $49/year, but you’ll need your own cloud storage)
- The Advanced plan of BlogVault ($249 per year)
BlogVault and Jetpack Backup are the simplest options because they bundle in cloud storage. WP Time Capsule will be a tiny bit more complicated because you need your own cloud storage, but it also gives you more control because the cloud storage is in your name.
We have an entire post on WooCommerce backup plugins if you want to learn more.
Do you still have any questions about picking the best WordPress backup plugin for your site? Ask away in the comments!