Let me start by saying that the first few posts of this new site is to deal with, what I think is, the big hitters when talking about automation.
These big hitters as I am calling them are the functional core tasks I believe you should have in place.
One of those core tasks is backing up your site. Without a backup plan, you could find your site going down and you would be in a difficult position to recover all your work.
So, establishing a backup process is core to your blogging routine. You could do this manually. You could use a tool that allows you to manually backup your site at a time schedule you would like.
There are plugins and service providers that will aid you in this though, making it automated so that you would not forget or miss a day.
There is a difference, that I see, between using a plugin and a third party service. That, in my experience, is ease of setup and storing your backup.
Let me quickly add, before we talk about each, that when you store a backup; doesn’t matter if automated or manual; you need to store it somewhere other than the drive hosting space you website if running from. It needs to be offsite and independent- which could be your local hard drive or some other space.
Plugin backup tools
Let’s start with examining some WordPress plugins for backing up your site.
Some plugins are completely manual. What I mean by that is, you have to go to the plugin screen and select to backup and download the site by clicking the appropriate buttons.
These plugins have no automated process, they are completely manual only.
There are other plugin’s that have both a manual and automated process. Generally, these plugin’s you can choose to take a manual backup and download.
These plugins also have a section to set up a schedule for automated backups. When these are set you normally have to give it a shared online location for the backup to go. This would be something like your Dropbox or an Amazon S3 space.
Quite often, these plugins will require you to pay for the “Pro” or similar edition of the plugin to unlock this automated process.
As well as that, depending on the frequency of the backup, you may need to pay for some extra space.
These small payments will allow you to set up your automated backup which could save you time and money in the future.
A 3rd party service
One other automated backup process you may want to check out is through 3rd parties.
What these tend to be is a 3rd party, company, that will automate the backup process for you. Generally, you have to install a small plugin that allows them to connect to your site to facilitate this process.
Most often, these 3rd parties will also store your site backup offsite – generally in their own S3 storage space.
Price on these can vary from Free to a nominal amount – which is generally depending on the service.
For example, I use a service called WPManage. They have a free backup service and paid. The free service allows for a single backup a month which is stored on their S3 server. For many a single backup suffices. If you want a more frequent backup, currently at the time of writing this it costs just $2 (plus any taxes for your country) per month for daily (or some other scheduled time greater than that) backups.
Personally, I’ve used their service for a few years now. My site has been backup daily on autopilot (you set the schedule through their site interface including time of day for backup). If you need to redeploy the site from a backup, its done very simply through their site – just a button to click.
I’m not affiliated with their site but I have used and gained great benefit over the past 2 years.
There are other backup services out there that all offer similar benefits. There may be a different service that best suits you. Backup on autopilot is the goal that I want you to think on and not the service provider you use.
Does your web host backup?
Some web host services also have automated backups, or offer them at an extra cost.
In some cases, this offers an easy to use service too and may fulfil all you need. Some of these may offer that service for free.
You may want to consider if the backups are on their own servers – if the issue is with their service farm you may lose the site and backup.
What may be a better solution, is, that, if they offer their service for free – also use the second method of automated backup to ensure you always have a backed up backup.
So, the goal of this post is to get you thinking about your site backup and the process you should put in place to automate this.
Having a manual backup is good. Having an automated backup daily is best. However, you may be able to benefit from the free monthly backup service I mentioned if your updates are more around this frequency.
To backup, your site is an important goal and having it happen without you have to remember means it gets done. This is the important factor here.