If you are a WordPress website owner, then you already know how important it is to run a regular backup — be it manually or with a WordPress website backup plugin. Having a backup of your site is one of the best ways to secure your website in the event that it is hacked or crashes. By having a backup, you’ll never have to worry about rebuilding your website.
But which of the two methods is actually preferable? Ultimately, this is something that you, the site owner, need to decide for yourself. But let’s look at both processes so that you can determine which one will work best for you.
Method #1—Completing a Manual Backup
First, let’s look at how to do a manual backup. It’s probably a good idea to do this at least once, even if you eventually settle on using a WordPress website backup plugin. After all, there’s no way of knowing if that plugin will always work, and it’s a good idea to at least know what goes into the process.
- First, create a folder or directory on your computer’s hard-drive to save the website files. Then, login to your cPanel and go to cPanel Backup. Next, follow the prompts to complete a full account backup
- Once the backup is finished, you should receive an email where you can download the .zip file. See our support center article for more details.
Now, if you want to do this every single time you back up your website, then feel free. You will need to make sure that you do this every time you update content, so if you are doing this on a daily or weekly basis, then you may want to rethink doing this manually.
Method #2—Completing a Backup Using a Plugin
Plugins are designed to save time by automating tasks so you don’t have to do them repeatedly. There are dozens of different backup plugins for WordPress. When you are choosing one, be sure to look for a few important factors.
- First, be sure to check out how many downloads and installations the plugin has. Some plugins have only a few hundred downloads while others have hundreds of thousands. Be sure to go with the ones that have the most installations as these have been tested and found to be some of the best performers.
- Next, look at the reviews including the one-star comments for the plugin. See if there is a common thread or issue in the lower reviews that may have been fixed since the issue occurred.
- Once you start looking at the specifications of the plugins, you should look to see exactly how easy it is to use. Many plugins, such as UpdraftPlus and VaultPress allow you to back up your website with just a click of a button. (It does take some configuring early on, but once this is done you are ready to go.) In fact, many of these plugins don’t even need a button to be pushed—you can schedule regular backups to be done automatically without needing to be online. Some of the plugins will even email you when backups are completed.
- Finally, make sure that your plugin allows for cloud storage of the backup files, using a service such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive. You do not want to slow down your server by trying to store multiple backups of your website on this location.
Choosing the Right Option
Obviously, the use of a WordPress website backup plugin is favorable to do over running backups manually. However, some people prefer the control and assurance of doing the job themselves. Either way, it is essential that you do some form of backup regularly to help protect your website in the event of a disaster.
Correction: InMotion Hosting no longer offers free backups. However, you can now get the feature-rich backup manager service for an additional $2/month.