There’s an often-repeated saying among system administrators that if data doesn’t exist in at least three places, then it doesn’t exist at all. Data is ephemeral, and the media we use to store it is by no means immune to corruption and degradation. For personal sites, and even more so for business sites, spreading the risk of data loss by backing-up to multiple locations should be a top priority. Imagine what would be lost should your blog or website be hacked, suffer hardware failure, or fall victim to an editor who tinkers with more enthusiasm than expertise. All decent hosting providers will backup your site for you, but that should not be regarded as sufficient protection. Those backups may not be recent enough, or of a type to enable easy restoration of a particular site.
By ‘multiple locations’, we do not mean on a USB drive stuffed in a drawer somewhere, on the old wheezing file server that was last serviced in the previous decade, and on a spare laptop. To be truly secure, the data has to exist on technologically sound equipment, located in at least three geographically separate locations.
Just a few years ago, decent multiple off-site backups would have been an expensive or time-consuming proposition. But with the advent of cheap infrastructure outsourcing, offering both virtualized hardware and platforms as services, the cost in time, effort, and money is almost negligible when compared to the risk of data loss and the costs that could bring.
We’re going to have a look at four WordPress extensions that will allow admins to simply and quickly get their data off-site and ensure that it is kept with a reasonable degree of reliability.
BackWPup is the preeminent backup solution for WordPress. It is capable of backing up both the files and the MySQL database to a number of locations, including a local folder, Amazon S3, Google Drive, SugarSync, and Dropbox. It can also make sure your database is healthy, carry out some database repairs if it isn’t, and optimize it.
If you’re not familiar with Dropbox, it’s a very handy service that allows users to share folders across devices and the cloud. This extension will, at preset intervals, automatically upload a copy of your WordPress files and a database dump to a Dropbox account.
Many businesses have Google Apps accounts, which makes Google Drive a handy cloud service for backing-up files. Google Drive for WordPress will compress and then backup files and the database to a chosen folder.
While the above plugins are free, BackupBuddy is a premium (not free) service that offers features that the others don’t. Given that BackupBuddy backs-up to the same services as we have already mentioned, people will have to decide for themselves whether the extra features and support are worth the price of the license.
While these services are pretty reliable and usually have redundant copies behind the scenes, none should be relied on alone. Spread your backups across several services.