Why I Changed My Backup Plugin

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A wordpress backup plugin is an important piece of your blogging puzzleBackups are very important. And I’m sure that you have a backup for your blog. You need a WordPress backup plugin of some sort — don’t rely on your hosting provider’s backups although they’re great in a pinch.

For a long time I’ve been using a good plugin for my blog backups. It is called WP DB Backup. It backed up the blog tables on a schedule that I set (usually daily) and emailed me the backup file. I could even go in and request a backup right now if I wanted (e.g. before an upgrade).

WP DB Manager - MenuBut I discovered another plugin that I like even better. WP DB Manager steps things up a notch or two. It will also allow me to schedule backups and have them mailed to me. But in addition, it allows me the opportunity to optimize and repair the database amongst other things.

But the really special difference for me is that WP DB Manager will default to backing up all tables in the database while WP DB Backup does not. So, if a plugin or theme creates a new table it will automatically become part of the backup scheme.

Installation Gotchas

There are a couple of things to watch out for when you install the plugin.

.htaccess File

First, it may ask you to copy the htaccess.txt file from the plugin directory into your backup-db directory.

WP DB Manager - Warning

Click for a larger image if needed

This is easily done using an ftp client or the file manager from your hosting provider. But keep in mind that the file should be renamed to .htaccess if your hosting is on a UNIX or Linux system. This will protect your backups from being accessed by the public.

MySQL Paths

Secondly, it may have trouble finding the path to some of the mysql utilities and give you a warning that looks like this (the error messages are in red):

WP DB Manager - Status Error

If it is having trouble finding the MYSQL paths, you can just try running a backup. If it works then you don’t need to worry about this message.

Scheduling the Backups

The first thing that you’ll want to do is schedule your backups. This is done on the DB Options page. You can leave the settings on the top half of the page alone and scroll down. Simply enter the frequency of backups, whether or not to use Gzip to compress them and make sure your email address is correct.

That’s all it takes!

You’ll also notice that you have options to automatically optimize and repair the db. You can change those if you want, but I left them as is. You may find that they slow things down when they’re running but for most blogs it shouldn’t be a big hit.

What’s Missing?

A savvy user will have noticed that something is missing from this backup scheme — the WordPress files and all your downloaded files are not backed up. Both of these plugins focus solely on your database.

You will need to ensure that the file structure of your blog is also regularly backed up. Your hosting provider may have backups that you can access, but you don’t necessarily want to trust them.

For me, I usually keep an ftp copy of my themes, etc. on my development computer. But it isn’t the best way to approach this. So I’m going to be looking around at plugins and other options for backing up the filesystem as well. Stay tuned for a report on that soon.

Oh, yeah. If you have any suggestions or comments you know where they belong! Share your experience and knowledge with us all below.

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Why I Changed My Backup Plugin — 9 Comments

    • I’m glad that you found it valuable. I think too many people forget about backing up their blogs to either a remote server or to their own machine. It is so valuable if you have some sort of crash or get hacked.

      When I was first starting out in the web design business I had about 4 sites up and running (old fashioned, hand coded HTML). Then my hosting provider went belly up and shut down all the servers! Thankfully all my sites were safely backed up on my dev machine.
      Bill (LoneWolf) Nickerson recently posted…Why I Changed My Backup PluginMy Profile

  1. Hi Bill
    I have this plugin but I was thinking of cloning my entire website with WPDolly. That way I just click a button to restore the whole thing to the way it was. This would also be great for moving your websites to a different server! 🙂

    • I’ve looked into Backup Buddy which is a premium plugin. It can backup the whole site and restore it elsewhere and now works with multi-site installs as well. It is one of my “wish list” plugins when I get the cash flowing.

      But in the meantime I’m pretty well covered between the WP DB Manager and keeping an archive of the file structure periodically.
      Bill (LoneWolf) Nickerson recently posted…Why I Changed My Backup PluginMy Profile

  2. I’m definitely looking for quality backup software. I’m concerned about the hosting providers and so many updates that appear to corrupt something else. WordPress 3.3 arriving I know I better fully backup before upgrading.

    Mr MakingUsmile

  3. I have heard “WordPress Backup to Dropbox” recommended by others. Anyone use it or know about it?

    I am actively looking for good backup solutions.

    • Hi Jim

      I’ve not heard of that plugin, but if it does back up your entire database to Dropbox then it would be a good fit. I’d suggest that you try it out and see if it works. Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t drop the ball at some point. I had one backup plugin that stopped backing up at one point and I had to reset it.

      Just remember, most backup plugins will only backup your database files, not your themes and media directories. Make sure that you keep any modified files you might need to reinstall somewhere safe as well. Your hosing provider may have backups that take care of that but you’re better safe than sorry.
      Bill (LoneWolf) Nickerson recently posted…Is My Spellchecker Trying To Tell Me Something?My Profile

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