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There are many WordPress backup plugins out there and WordPress users always ask us, “What is the best FREE WordPress plugin?” Notice the word “free” in the question. Even though WordPress is a “free” open source software, when it comes to backups and restores free is not necessarily the case.

There is no way to evaluate every WordPress backup plugin out there but we took a look at three very popular ones:

a) BackupBuddy by iThemes (paid version only)

wordpress backupbuddy plugin

b) WordPress Backup to Dropbox by Michael De Wildt (free and some paid options)

wordpress backup to dropbox plugin

c) UpDraftPlus Backup and Restoration for WordPress by UpdraftPlus (free and some paid options)

wordpress updraftplus plugin
When it comes to a WordPress backup plugin, you should make sure that the backup plugin is capable of easily performing the following critical functions:

1) Backup Your Entire WordPress Website

A WordPress backup plugin should be able to backup your entire WordPress website, including the WordPress core files, to a remote location. You want to be able to restore your entire site, not just individual files. WordPress can store several versions of your posts and pages if you ever need to restore an individual page or post. BackupBuddy and WordPress Backup to Dropbox backup the entire site. (updated 09-24-2014 : the paid version of UpDraftPlus allows you to backup WordPress core files. )

2) Schedule Automatic Backups and Store a Given Number of Backups

This will allow you to schedule the backups during the middle of the night when your site is less busy and also allow you to store a certain number of backups. You want to store from 10 to 14 days of daily backups but not too many so that your storage site does not get full. All three plugins allow you to schedule the backups but only UpDraftPlus and BackupBuddy allow you to select the number of backups to keep.

3) Send the Backup file(s) to a Remote Storage Location

This is important because if your hosting account gets erased or compromised for whatever reason, you do not want the backup file to be on your hosting server. A WordPress backup plugin should allow you to backup remote location like Dropbox or even better to an Amazon S3 server. All three plugins allow you to select a remote location. UpDraftPlus and BackupBuddy give you additional locations besides Dropbox.

4) Restore Your Entire WordPress Website from inside and outside the WordPress Dashboard

What good is a backup if you can’t easily restore the website? A WordPress backup plugin should be able to restore your entire WordPress website, including the WordPress core files, from inside your WordPress dashboard with a simple click of a button. It should also allow to restore your site from a command line (this is needed if you can’t access your WordPress dashboard). It should allow you to do either type of restore without you having a PHP programming degree or being a WordPress guru. WordPress Backup to Dropbox does not have a restore option – you have to restore the files manually using an FTP program. UpdraftPlus has a restore option inside the WordPress dashboard. BackupBuddy has the easiest restore procedure and most options of the three plugins when it comes to restoring individual files or the entire website.

So if we were a WordPress novice user and had to choose a WordPress backup plugin, we would pick BackupBuddy for all the reasons mentioned above.

wp-monitor wordpress backup restore your website easily

However, WordPress novice and expert users have an even better choice which is allowing WP-MONITOR to do all the backups and restores for you. In less time that it takes you to setup a WordPress backup plugin, you can signup for WP-MONITOR and leave the rest up to us. We setup your WordPress site not only with automated backups, but we can restore your site fully in minutes. In addition, all WP-MONITOR plans include WordPress security hardening, WordPress Database Optimization, WordPress Security Scanning every 4 hours, WordPress Updates, Website Uptime Monitoring, Malware Monitoring and Malware Cleaning, Blacklist Monitoring and Removal, Weekly and Monthly Google Traffic Reports via email, Broken Links reports via email, Plugin installation, Manual Changes to your WordPress site, Post and Pages creation, WooCommerce changes, Website Restoration when needed, and so much more. We provide more features than any other WordPress Plan.