The Best WordPress Backup Plugin (Updated 2019)

The Best Wordpress Backup Plugin

In this article, we’re going to talk about WordPress plugins, and specifically, the one we consider the BEST solution for backing up WordPress sites. Unlike other articles around the web, this is one we’ve used for 5+ years (after trying almost everything on the market) across 1000s of websites: BlogVault

The BEST Backup Plugin For WordPress?

We’ve tried pretty much every plugin on the market and settled on BlogVault.net – we’ve done 100s of successful restores (big and small single file restores) and used it on over 2000 sites both for our SEO agency and in other services like WPSpeedFix.com our site speed optimization service.

Below we’ll explain why we chose Blogvault specifically, the features that tipped the scales and why you might want to consider it. Your backup needs may differ from ours as a web agency so if you’re shopping for a WordPress backup solution make sure you check out some of the other popular options on the market including:

Why Use a Backup Plugin at all?

Why backup up all? Well good question. In as nutshell – if your site is commercial in nature then no doubt a lot of time, energy, effort and money has gone into building the site. Dataloss does happen and hacked WordPress sites is a very common problem. A backup plugin or solution is effectively an insurance policy that protects the valuable asset that is your website.

Also, your SEO and Google rankings are directly tied to the content on your website – if you lose that data then you’ll lose those rankings.

Important Backup Plugin Features

Lets talk through the key features we looked for in a backup plugin and why. We’re a web agency and managing 100s of sites on a daily basis so our needs might be a little different to yours.

Important to note here that you should NOT choose a solution based on price or whether the plugin is free. Free is not really free if you need to restore the site and can’t – remember your SEO rankings, your marketing, your enquiries, calls and sales are all tied to your website so even if it’s only down for a single day that’ll likely cost you a whole bunch of money!

We recorded a short 5 minute audio of these points to talk through WordPress & also Woocommerce backups, click play below to listen:

Click play to here about backup plugin features in more detail

1. Do you need realtime backup capability?

BlogVault offers realtime backup capability in some of its higher plans. What is realtime backup capability? It basically means that changes to the site are being backed up as they happen.

This is particularly important for Woocommerce and Membership sites where changes are happening 24/7, all hours of the day and night as opposed to a typical backup that happens only once a day. If you’re only backing up your Woo website nightly you can potentially lose upto 24 hours worth of data with a successful restore.

The realtime version of BlogVault will back up any changes as they happen – as soon as an order comes through, when users make comments or when you get new membership signups! There will be a little lag (a few minutes or so) for the backup to happen as the change queues the backup which then needs to pull the updated files and database changes from the site, but the changes are being backed up as they occur.

This is probably the biggest reason why we love BlogVault as for our agency business we manage a number of Woocommerce sites and a handful of membership sites with changes happening 24/7

2. Do You Know What Your Backup Plugin is NOT Backing Up?

This is another really important reason! Pretty much all backup plugins have exclusions, which means they have things that they don’t back up – things like log files, or cache files, for example.

This also goes for hosting providers – they say they’re doing backup, but if you read the fine print you’ll likely find that they’re not backing up MP3 files, or MP4 video files, for example. So they usually have a long list of things they don’t actually back up, tucked away somewhere.

**IMPORTANT NOTE HERE – never rely solely on a web hosts backup solution. There’s a rule with backups, two is one and one is none which is a fancy way of saying have 2 backup solutions. Without visibility into the hosting provider’s backup solution you have no idea whether or not the backup is actually working.

An example where backup exclusions *almost* screwed us…

We’ve had a bad experience with VaultPress, another backup plugin where we *almost* lost the members database for a membership site.

Unknown to us, VaultPress wasn’t backing up any database tables that didn’t start with the prefix “WP_” (by default WordPress database tables have names like wp_posts, wp_options and so forth).

The particular site we wanted to recover had a whole bunch of tables starting with DAP_, which related to a membership site plugin, Digital Access Pass.

In this case, at least we were fortunate that the hosting provider had another backup which we could use to fill in the gaps, but it was definitely a bit of a scare! The website in question was a really important site, a membership site (DidgeridooDojo.com in case you’re wondering, 10000+ users in the DAP database), and we got very close to losing a serious amount of data there.

An important lesson learned that has no doubt saved us many times since. It’s important that regardless of what solution you use, you’re aware of any exclusions in the backup software.

A BlogVault feature we love is that it will specifically tell you what it is and what it’s not backing up, and it will give you the option to include database tables and to include files that it has automatically excluded.

This is another important reason why we love using BlogVault and why it stands out from other similar plugins.

If you have a custom WordPress solution where folders are sitting outside the regular /wp-content folder this feature is really key as most backup solutions won’t pickup those folders by default.

Screenshots below of the include/exclude screens for both files and database tables.

Blogvault file exclusions
One feature we love is that it tells us exactly what it’s NOT backup up. In this screenshot the red folders are excluded from backup. If we want to backup them up we can click to select them (click image to enlarge)


Blogvault database exclusions
This screenshot shows us the database tables Blogvault is NOT backing up, again you can click to select them and back them up. In this case they’re log tables we don’t need a copy of. (click image to enlarge)

3. Reliability, Alerting & Offsite Storage

We strongly recommend you use a cloud based backup solution.

A lot of other plugins, like Updraft and Backupbuddy, are not really cloud-based – they’re really more like standalone plugins that can backup to cloud based services like Amazon S3 and Dropbox.

The problem with that is that there’s no real monitoring capability, so there’s no real alerting if something goes wrong like the plugin being disabled, you’re effectively flying blind.

The bottom line is this – we’ve never had a backup issue with BlogVault. BlogVault is a cloud-based service which always tells us when the plugin might be disabled or disconnected. So if something fails, or the site hasn’t been backed up in 24 hours or a few days, it will tell us.

Other Backup Plugin Features

Blogvault Admin Console
Blogvault provides other important metrics around site performance, uptime and reliability (click to enlarge)

The team behind BlogVault has been expanding the product over the last few years – there’s a bunch of other handy features that are fantastic and help us monitor the health of the sites we’re managing – elements like uptime, performance and reliability.

The screenshot above gives you a quick overview of the features. The features we like are:

Staging Sites – They’ve got a staging functionality built in. A staging site is a website clone where you can test changes, updates and essentially do risky things that might break the live site.

Plugin Updates – You can also deploy patches from the BlogVault console, so it has almost become like a management tool.

Site Migrations – You can do site migrations with it – we use it all the time to migrate sites, and not just for backing up. A lot of hosting providers use it as well: WP Engine, Cloudways, and a few others are actually using a white label version of BlogVault plugin to do backups.

Malware Scanning – They’ve got some additional options concerning malware; they’ve got malware scanning, with which they can scan for malware, hacked sites, and things like that.

There’s a bunch of other minor features that might be useful; for example, you can give user’s access, that sort of thing.

In short, BlogVault is a fantastic plugin – they’ve also got a free trial so you can give it a try and test it out for yourself, log into the console and get comfortable with it (it’s really easy to use, not technical at all). And please don’t hesitate to give us your feedback once you’ve tried it – we’d love to hear it! You can post in the comments below and let us know what you think once you’ve given it a try!

If you want to check out WordPress & Woocommerce backup plugin alternatives to BlogVault we can recommend UpdraftPlus and BackupBuddy

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