How to Automatically Backup Your WordPress Site to Cloud Storage

As we web host, we understand how important website backups are. While we regularly back up all of our customers’ websites, we strongly urge you to also take your own set up backups.

As a business owner or site administrator, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you have access to a working set of website backups that you can use to restore your site in the event of a serious issue or disaster.

This article walks you through the process of organising automated ongoing WordPress backups, automatically sent to your cloud storage of choice.

The best part is, this method is 100% free.

> Introducing UpdraftPlus
> Step 1 – Install UpdraftPlus
> Step 2 – Configure UpdraftPlus
>> Choose Backup Frequency and Retention
>> Choose Remote Storage
> Finishing Up
> Where Are Backups Stored

How to Automatically Backup Your WordPress Site to Cloud Storage

One of the first things to talk about is why. Why do you need to backup your website?

At the most basic level – it’s just common sense.

Even though we take regular backups of our client data as part of our standard practice, you should never view this courtesy as 100% failsafe.

For example, what if there was a major disaster (fire, flood, earthquake), and our backup servers were unavailable for an extended period?

It should never be assumed that backups from your web host will always be able to bail you out of a website hack or website crash.

Therefore, as a responsible business owner, or website administrator – it’s your responsibility to ensure that you have access to an available backup, that’s reliable and accessible independently from your web hosting.

Luckily, like many things in WordPress, setting up automatic backups can easily be achieved with a plugin.

There are many backup plugins available in the WordPress repository, but the one we regularly use on customer sites, and the one that we frequently recommend is called UpdraftPlus.

Introducing UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus is one of the most popular WordPress backup plugins. It’s very widely used, boasting over 2 million active installations. It’s regularly updated, and the development team have a good eye for top-quality coding and best-practices in terms of security.

You have the option of paying for the premium version of UpdraftPlus for more advanced options and functionality, such as access to their cloud storage and the ability to migrate your site to different domains.

Though, the free version of UpdraftPlus is perfect for 99% of small business owners, who are just seeking a simple way to backup their WordPress site.

Step 1 – Install UpdraftPlus

Firstly you have to install UpdraftPlus onto your WordPress site. To achieve this, log into your site and navigate to Plugins > Add New.

In the search bar, enter “UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin” and wait for the results to populate.

Once you’ve located the correct plugin, click Install. Once it’s finished installing, you’ll then need to click Activate.

Step 2 – Configure UpdraftPlus

Now that you’ve successfully installed UpdraftPlus, the next step is to configure the software to your liking.

Along the top of the admin bar, click on UpdraftPlus > Settings.

How to Automatically Backup Your WordPress Site to Cloud Storage

Choose Backup Frequency and Retention

How to Automatically Backup Your WordPress Site to Cloud Storage

On the next page, you’ll need to configure UpdraftPlus to meet your requirements. Here are our recommendations:

If your site is an eCommerce store or another type of commercial site that deals with transactions (such as a membership site, for example).

  • Set your File backup schedule to (Automatic) weekly, and retain 12 backups.
  • Set your Database backup schedule to (Automatic) daily, and retain 90 backups.

If your site just delivers general information and doesn’t deal with commercial transactions or frequent changes.

  • Set your File backup schedule to (Automatic) weekly, and retain 12 backups.
  • Set your Database backup schedule to (Automatic) weekly, and retain 12 backups.

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By using these settings, you’ll be retaining 3 months worth of backed up website data.

This gives you a good fallback in case your website is hacked or some sort of unexpected serious issue arises. You can also use these files to migrate your WordPress site to another web host if required.

Choose Remote Storage

How to Automatically Backup Your WordPress Site to Cloud Storage

The next step is to choose where your automatic backups should be sent. Obviously, you should choose a service that you have an account with and that you’re already familiar with.

It doesn’t matter all too much which service you choose. The key thing is to make sure it’s one of the large reliable cloud storage providers. Our top picks include (in no particular order):

  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • Backblaze
  • Microsoft OneDrive

Finishing Up

Finally, scroll down the page further and ensure that the option Check this box to have a basic report sent to your site’s admin address is checked. This will send you an email to confirm a successful backup has occurred.

Then, click Save Changes. At this point, you will probably be redirected away from your site, to an authorisation page run by your cloud storage provider.

This will be a basic access request, asking you to confirm that you give permission for Google Drive (for example) to allow access to UpdraftPlus.

Make sure you allow any access requests, otherwise UpdraftPlus won’t be able to push your backups to cloud storage.

Where Are Backups Stored

When you use the free version of UpdraftPlus, all of your backups will be stored in a folder (inside your cloud storage) called UpdraftPlus.

Don’t change the name of this folder, as this will cause issues with deleting old backup files.

Over the next few days, we recommend that you keep checking this folder in your cloud storage. Have a poke around and make sure files are beginning to populate the folder.

Final thoughts: congratulations, you’ve taken appropriate steps to ensure that you have a viable backup plan in place. In the event that your website is hacked or you have a serious issue, you will have a good range of backup data dating back 3 months to help you get your site up and running ASAP.

Shameless promotion: having a strong backup plan is requried, even when you’re using a reliable web host. Our hosting plans are designed with speed, reliability and uptime in mind. We can help you transfer your site over from your current host too! Let us know if you’re not sure what your best move is.
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This article is part of our small business blog.

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