Let’s face it: backing up a website can take time and can be tedious work. The more time something takes, and the more tedious it is, the less likely it is to get done. The more a website changes the more often the backup is required. A website that changes often doesn’t have the luxury of ignoring a backup. And ignoring a backup is potential data loss. As I’m sure you might’ve guessed, that’s a bad thing.
WordPress Backup Rules You Must Follow
If you want to keep your website’s files and ensure your site is stable and stays live, your WordPress site must be backed up. That’s it. No questions asked. It’s not open for negotiation. But, it’s easier said than done. I spoke before of rules to follow to help keep you on track. These rules still apply. Here’s a shortened version of that list.
- Maintain a backup schedule based on your site update and blogging frequency.
- Backup your site’s database before you install anything new.
- Keep three backups in three different forms and/or places, such as in your email account, on an external hard drive, and on a DVD.
- Only backup those plugins that contain value for your site—not those that bloat your site such as spam filters and stat plugins.
- Schedule manual backups just in case there’s an issue with an automatic backup.
Following these rules will help ensure you never lose your info again.
Now, let’s take a look at a few plugins for Dropbox that will help you prevent losing information and always keep your site live and running. Some of them are Dropbox specific, while others have a wider range of cloud storage solutions that include Dropbox.
First, let’s answer the question: what is Dropbox?
Dropbox is a free secure cloud storage that allows you to access your data from computers, phones, and tablets. You can edit your documents, add photos and video, and share with your team. Dropbox is a great backup solution for your WordPress site. And of course, plugins make the task easy.
The free account, Dropbox Basic, gives you 2 GB of storage space, access from anywhere, and simple file sharing. $9.99 per month upgrades you to Dropbox Pro, which gets you 1 TB of storage, additional sharing controls, and remote wipe. For $15 per month per user you can upgrade to Dropbox for Business, which gets you unlimited space, lots of admin controls, unlimited version history, comprehensive logs, and much more.
For a backup of WordPress to truly be useful, the plugins need to backup all of your WordPress installation files including any theme modifications that you’re done, your MySQL database, and your XML map. It’s also nice to get a list of plugins that you have installed.
There are several plugins, both free and premium, that will automatically perform these backups for you and store them in your Dropbox account. Let’s take a look at several WordPress plugins to simplify your Dropbox backups.
WordPress Backup to Dropbox is free plugin that automatically uploads your entire website to Dropbox, including your WordPress files and your database. You can choose the day, time, and how often it will upload your files. It also lets you choose which folders within Dropbox and on your server that your files are backed up to. You can even choose which files and directories to include, so you can exclude directories if you want. Backups also include any theme changes that you’ve done.
The interface is easy to use. You simply link the plugin to your Dropbox account and you’re good to go. Your information is kept secure because the plugin uses OAuth rather than storing your information in the plugin’s files. Unfortunately, there isn’t a restore feature included here.
BackWPup Free is a free backup plugin that saves your complete installation to Dropbox, or one of several other cloud storage solutions including your own hard drive, FTP, and Rackspace. It creates a backup in .zip and .tar formats so you can easily restore your website.
The free edition includes the database backup, WordPress XML export, it generates a file to show the installed plugins, optimizes and repairs the database, and allows backups to several online cloud backup services including Dropbox.
There is also a pro edition which adds cloud services that your website can be backed up to, sends logs by email, and allows multisite backups.
BackupBuddy is a plugin made by iThemes. It has a comprehensive list of sources that you can backup your website to including your own hard drive, Dropbox, Stash, Amazon S3, Rackspace, FTP, and email. The interface is easy to use. You choose where you want your backups stored and how often you want your backups uploaded. It is easily connected to your Dropbox account for automated backups.
Unlike most of the other solutions in this list, BackupBuddy doesn’t have a free edition. Prices start at $80 per year for two sites, $100 per year for 10 sites, and $150 per year for unlimited sites. For $297 you can get BackupBuddy Gold, which includes unlimited sites, lifetime updates, and one year of ticketed support.
wp Time Machine is a free plugin that creates an archive of your WordPress files and database for storage on several online storage locations including Dropbox, Amazon S3, and FTP. It will create a backup of everything in your wp-content folder. It will also back up your .htaccess file. There is also a process for smooth recovery. Recovery can be automated, though this file is not fully functional as it is still being developed.
UpdraftPlus is another free solution that will back up your WordPress files to multiple cloud storage services, including Dropbox, Amazon S3, Google Drive, Rackspace, FTP, email, and lots more. One thing I like about Updraft is that it keeps it simple. You can restore your backups with a single click. It lets you split large files into smaller pieces to speed up the backup process.
There is also a premium edition called UpdraftPlus Premium. It adds features to the free edition which includes ad-free, automatic backups, multiple storage destinations, importer, migrator, enhanced reporting, enhanced support for Dropbox and others, one year of access to all downloads, and one year of support. Two licenses costs $60, 10 licenses costs $85, and unlimited licenses will set you back $125.
ManageWP Worker is unique among the backup plugins for Dropbox. Its purpose is to provide users a single dashboard to remotely manage multiple WordPress websites. One of its key features is the ability to schedule automatic backups to cloud storage services including Dropbox, Amazon S3, Google Drive, and FTP / SFTP.
There are many other features that a WordPress administrator would find useful. Here’s the full list:
- Manage multiple WordPress sites
- Manage WordPress themes, plugins, users, pages, and posts for all your websites from one dashboard
- One click upgrades for WordPress, plugins, and themes across all your sites
- Schedule automatic backups
- Install WordPress, clone or migrate WordPress website to another domain
- One click to access WP admin of any site
- Bulk install themes and plugins to multiple sites at once
- Bulk publish posts and pages to multiple sites at once
- Add sub-users
- SEO Statistics
- Uptime monitoring
This one is a premium plugin and there are several plans available. The plan that includes scheduling backups to Dropbox is the Professional Plan. It costs $2.40 per month per website and is suited for small businesses, marketers, and web developers.
Snapshot takes, well, snapshots of your site so you can save them and store them anywhere you want. All you have to do is press the Create a Snapshot button to capture everything about your site at that particular moment. And then you can restore back to that version of your site with a single click of a button. This is a good feature if you’re experimenting and you don’t want to have to manually undo everything you just did. You have a simple, one click, restore. You can also schedule these backups to save your files to Dropbox, Amazon S3, or SFTP. You can take snapshots, or “Time Machine” snapshots, of your entire database or just the tables you choose.
This one is not free. The plugin is $20 per year. You can cancel after the first year and keep the plugin without updates or support. There are no license restrictions.
You can also get it as part of the monthly subscription to the WPMU Dev membership. Prices for membership range from $235-$1128.60 for the first year depending on how you want to pay for it. This gets you 350 premium plugins and themes as well as support and updates.
Backing Up Files Only
If you only want to back up specific files and not your WordPress installation you can use one of the following plugins. They provide easy methods to drop your photos, videos, audio, etc., into your Dropbox account.
While it doesn’t have an automated backup system, Out-of-the-Box uses the official Dropbox API that will integrate Dropbox into your WordPress site allowing you to store your files in your Dropbox. It treats Dropbox as online storage that’s integrated into your site instead of just a backup service. It creates the link so you can still use your files within your website. You can view, download, rename, or delete your files and folders directly from WordPress. It also works as a file browser, gallery, and media player. It includes an upload form to make it easy to upload files. You can download files as a zip file. You can also have individual users that only have access to their own folder in your Dropbox.
It is $28 for the regular license.
BOXIT is a Dropbox file upload plugin for WordPress that creates a responsive control where you can drop your files to be uploaded to your Dropbox. Uploads are handled by drag and drop—just like uploading media to WordPress.
The regular license is $15 for one client to be used on one website where end-users are not charged to access to the files. The extended license for one client to be used on one website is $75 where end-users are charged for access to the files.
What if you don’t want to use a plugin? You still have many options for backing up your WordPress site.
Mover is a cloud migration system that works online rather than from your computer. It works with 24 cloud services, referred to as Connectors, including Dropbox. You can transfer files incrementally and set schedules. Your data is protected by military-grade security—the very same used by the banking industry.
Mover is free for personal use. For businesses it’s $4 per month with 3 GB of data transfer. After that it’s $1 per GB. If you pay yearly that number goes to $3 per month.
Another online solution is INFINITEwp. This is a free management platform that helps you manage tasks for multiple WordPress sites easily. It has a long list of features that include:
- One master login
- One-click updates
- Instant backup and restore
- Manage plugins and themes
The backup and restore feature allows for backups to repositories—cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Amazon S3. It allows you to schedule your backups and use it as a recovery disk. This feature is an add-on that costs $49.
Backing up your site regularly is crucial in preventing data loss. Don’t expect that you will never need it. Just be prepared for when you do. Taking the Dropbox approach can ensure that you have plenty of storage for your files. Dropbox gives you plenty of flexibility and allows you to share your files. Plus, there are many plugins and services that play well with Dropbox.
How do you backup your site? Do you use Dropbox? Do you use one of the plugins mentioned here? Something else? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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