I’ve tried most of the free backup plug-ins for WordPress, and I have to cast my vote for BackWPup as the best. Let me state up front that I’m not affiliated with this plugin in any way. I’m just a happy user who has tested many of these plug-ins and find the utility and reliability of BackWPup second to none.
One of the key features of BackWPup is that most of the other plug-ins don’t offer is the option to upload your backups to Amazon S3 and other storage sites. This is critical because it ensures that you always have backup copies stored in a safe and secure location that can always be accessed if something catastrophic happens on your server.
Most of the free backup plug-ins for WordPress offer either the ability to download the backup directly to your computer’s hard drive, or have the backup sent to your email address. While these are obviously better than having no back at all, there are a few drawbacks to these methods.
Having the backup sent to your email works well if the file size of your backups are small. But once your site starts to get larger and you have backups that take up many megabytes, you may run into problems. I learned this lesson the hard way when I found that the backups for one of my sites were being rejected by my email client because the file sizes were too large. So, even though I saw the files in my inbox and assumed that everything was okay, when I actually needed the file went to access it, the file was unavailable. That could have been catastrophic.
As I see it, there are two problems with downloading backups directly to your computer’s hard drive. The first is that it requires you to manually download the file, rather than have regularly scheduled backups. Most people will forget to do regular backups, and less the plug-in allows them to have them automatically scheduled.
The second problem is that the files take up valuable space on your hard drive, and there was always the chance that your hard drive could fail and the backups would be lost. It is much better, in my opinion to upload the files to Amazon S3, as it is much safer and the cost is minimal.
BackWPup has way more customizations and options than the other free backup plug-ins for WordPress. You can actually specify exactly which files to include or exclude from the backup file. You can also set up different schedules to back up the WordPress database and files. I, for instance, have my database backed up every day, whereas my entire file structure is only backup once a week.
Not every free backup plug-in for WordPress even offers the option to back up your files, as some of them will only backup the database. Having all the files backed up is critical because that means that all of your plug-ins, themes, and WordPress settings can be easily restored in case of an emergency.
You can download BackWPup free here or by searching for it in WordPress. Just click on plug-ins, add new, and enter BackWPup into the search box. I encourage you to give it a try. Let me know in the comments below if you agree or disagree with my opinions on BackWPup, or if you believe there is another free backup plug-in for WordPress that is better. Thanks.