How to Backup WordPress with Free Plugins

How to Backup WordPress with Plugin - How to Backup WordPress with Free Plugins 3

Backing up your WordPress website is one of the most important things you can do to protect your content. Regular backups give you peace of mind and allow you to easily restore your site if anything ever goes wrong.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about backing up your WordPress site using a backup plugin, the best solution for most users.

Why You Should Use a Backup Plugin

While it is possible to manually back up WordPress by copying all your files and database contents, using a dedicated backup plugin makes the entire process much easier. Here are some key reasons to use a plugin:

  • Automated backups – Set up scheduled backups to run automatically on a timeline you define. This ensures your backups stay current.
  • Easy restore – Top plugins include one-click restore features to get your site back online quickly.
  • Offsite storage – Backup and store your WordPress files and database in the cloud for enhanced security.
  • More options – Plugins connect to various storage destinations like Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and more.
  • Better security – Leading plugins leverage encryption and other measures to keep your backups safe.
  • Faster backups – Plugins can perform incremental backups, only backing up files that changed since the last backup.
  • Email notifications – Get alerts if a scheduled backup fails or when backups complete successfully.

5 Best WordPress Backup Plugins

There are many great backup plugins available, but these 5 options stand out from the pack with excellent features, reliability, and value:

1. UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus is the most popular free WordPress backup plugin, used on over 3 million websites. Despite being free, it comes packed with features including:

  • Scheduled and one-click manual backups
  • Backup to cloud storage like Dropbox and Google Drive
  • 1GB free remote storage called UpdraftVault
  • Restores right from WordPress admin
  • Strong encryption capabilities

2. VaultPress

VaultPress is a premium plugin created specifically for WordPress by Automattic, the company behind and Jetpack. Key features include:

  • Real-time cloud backups after every post and change
  • Anti-virus scanning and malware removal
  • One-click restores
  • Point-in-time recovery to undo hacks
  • Priority email support

3. BackWPup

BackWPup is a great free alternative that is almost as fully-featured as premium competitors. You get:

  • Scheduled and one-click manual backups
  • Backup to cloud storage, FTP, email, and more
  • Database optimization
  • Multisite network support

4. BlogVault

BlogVault offers the unique ability to perform incremental WordPress backups, only backing up content that has changed since the last backup. It also features:

  • Scheduled and one-click manual backups
  • Backup to FTP, Dropbox, Amazon S3, Google Drive, and email
  • Free direct restores from cloud storage
  • Staging site support

5. BoldGrid Backup

BoldGrid Backup makes it easy for beginners to backup WordPress, without needing to understand technical details. Benefits include:

  • Simple setup and configuration
  • Scheduled and one-click manual backups
  • Backup to cloud storage
  • Easy restore right from WordPress

Choosing the Best Plugin for You

All five of the featured plugins above are excellent options, but you should pick the one that best matches your specific needs and budget.

Here are some factors to help choose the best plugin:

  • Number of sites – Does the plugin license cover all of your sites?
  • Cloud storage – Which integrations with cloud storage do you need?
  • Budget – Are the extra features of paid plugins worth it for you?
  • Ease of use – Do you want simpler or more advanced backup capabilities?
  • Support – Does the plugin offer documentation and support if you need help?

Once you decide on a plugin, install and activate it on your WordPress site. Then follow the step-by-step guide below to configure your backups.

How to Setup Backups on WordPress

Follow these steps to start backing up your WordPress site with your chosen plugin:

1. Install and Activate the Plugin

Install the WordPress backup plugin you selected using the Plugins > Add New area of your WordPress dashboard. Search for the plugin by name, install, and then activate.

2. Connect Storage Destination

Many backup plugins can send your backed-up site files and database to cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, etc. Connect and configure these destinations in the plugin settings.

3. Create Backup Schedule

Within the plugin’s settings, create an automated backup schedule, like daily or weekly backups. More frequent backups of a live site are ideal to prevent data loss.

4. Backup Your WordPress Site

Run your first manual backup of your WordPress site by going to the plugin’s dashboard and clicking on the option to take a backup now. For large sites, give it time to finish backing up all files and databases.

5. Test Restore

Download a backup file from cloud storage or your website server to make sure your backups are working properly. Many plugins let you restore right from the WordPress dashboard for a faster, simpler test. Delete the restored test site when done.

Be sure to check the support documentation of your chosen plugin for more details on the settings and backup process.

Backup Best Practices

Here are some backup tips and best practices to ensure your WordPress backups are working as intended:

  • Test restores regularly – Restore backups to confirm they work
  • Backup before major changes – Create a backup before themes/plugin changes
  • Limit storage duration – Don’t maintain backups forever, limit to 6 months or a year
  • Encrypt backups – Encryption provides an added layer of backup security
  • Stagger backup types – Schedule daily/weekly backups not to overlap
  • Backup media separately – Store media files separately from web servers
  • Automate everything – Manual backups are easily forgotten or put off


Backing up WordPress doesn’t need to be complicated or technical. With an excellent backup plugin installed, you can schedule automatic backups and restore your site with just a few clicks when needed.

Just remember to pick a plugin that matches your budget, features, ease of use, and site needs. Configure it properly, test it regularly, and follow backup best practices. Your WordPress site will be backed up and safe!