“I lost all my data.” That phrase strikes fear into every business owner’s heart. One reason: we feel one another’s pain when such an event occurs. Another reason: many of us fail to back up our data regularly, even though we know we should!
It’s even worse when you lose the data on your website or blog – because it’s obvious to the whole world and it affects your credibility. Since there are so many small business owners using WordPress as their main websites, we thought it would be prudent to cover some tools that protect your WordPress content and data. Depending on your Web host or server configuration, you may already have a process for daily or frequent backups, but I would suggest testing them to make sure they are covering all the important parts of the WordPress structure.
We’ve updated this article since I first wrote it to reflect some suggestions from readers (thank you!).
There are roughly two different types of backup tools.
First, there are “comprehensive” backup services designed specifically for WordPress sites. These require some kind of payment – either a one-time license or a small monthly fee. The advantage of the paid backup services is that they tend to be more comprehensive, arguably more secure, and some of them offer support via email and/or phone – critical if you’re a non-techie.
- BlogVault  backs up everything from your site and then lets you test to see if the backup was done correctly (see screenshot above). They have a unique test-restore facility where you can restore the backup temporarily on their server so that you can check it before publishing live. Their migrate tool lets you automatically move the site to a new server or change the domain name, without any downloads. They offer personal customer service via live chat and email. Pricing starts at $9 per month, and currently they have a 7-day free trial. Plus, as you can see in the screenshot, they let you download the entire zipped backup file.
- myRepono WordPress Backup Plugin  is an affordable online backup service which enables you to securely back up your WordPress site files and mySQL database tables using their service. 6 ratings, 1,511 downloads. Here is their public website page with pricing details .
- VaultPress  is the official Automattic (the makers of WordPress) backup service. This one sentence explains their approach: “In the event of an issue, you can request complimentary concierge service from the VaultPress Safekeepers to assist you with your restore needs.” Pricing starts at $15/mo.
- Backup Buddy offers an all-in-one solution for backup, restore, and migration. Back up to your server, Amazon S3 or FTP account, or send backups by email. Pricing starts at $45/yr.
Then there are free plugins that you install with your WordPress installation. However, if you have questions or need support you probably will find yourself searching through online forums for answers, or paying an hourly rate to a tech person to help you with the plugin.
Almost all of these have to be loaded into WordPress from within WordPress. Go to the Plugins section in the WordPress Dashboard and select Add New, then type the term “backup.” You will get 15 pages of results with the word backup in them. I did a short screencast tutorial to cover the basics . Each of these plugins does largely the same thing, so the descriptions on each will be short. There are dozens of backup tools that work with WordPress; the ones highlighted here were highly rated or had tons of downloads (implying that users liked or trusted the plugin application).
- Simple WordPress Backup  promises a one-click backup process. Its name tells the story. Simple. 4 ratings, 10,013 downloads.
- WP S3 Backups  must be run on a Linux server. Other than that, this plugin will let you easily and automatically back up important parts of your WordPress install to the Amazon S3 Cloud. 10 ratings, 4,031 downloads.
- Online Backup for WordPress allows you to easily back up your entire WordPress database to your email, desktop or free 50 MiB on this plugin creator’s secure server. 11 ratings, 18,501 downloads.
- BackUpWordPress  offers a simple automated backup of your WordPress powered website. It will back up your entire site including your database and all your files. 65 ratings, 87,798 downloads.
- WP-DBManager  is probably one of the most popular backup tools. It allows you to optimize a database, repair a database, back up a database, restore a database and more. It supports automatic scheduling of backups and optimizing of databases. 181 ratings, 358,594 downloads.
- XCloner – Backup and Restore  is designed for PHP/Mysql websites. Many WordPress installs reside in one of these types of structures. It works as a native plugin for WordPress and Joomla. 27 ratings, 31,294 downloads.
- WP-DB-Backup  has the highest number of downloads of any backup tool. WP-DB-Backup allows you to easily back up your core WordPress database tables as well as other tables in the same database. 384 ratings, 938,610 downloads.
Let us know in the comments what tools or services you are using to back up and protect your WordPress (or website) data.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are a solo business owner with no tech support, I recommend creating a second site to test on. Many people call this a sandbox. It is often a subdomain of your main site, within your Web hosting server, but since it is a separate testing site you can mess it up and not worry. In this sandbox site, I would load up a few posts, a few pages and some images, and then try out these plugins. Then, if it doesn’t work as expected, you can simply repair the sandbox site or start another one. Or try a solution like Blogvault  (see our review ) that allows you to do a test restore and offers customer service. The small monthly fee you pay would be worth it for those who are not confident in their technical skills.