Your alarm clock goes off, so you roll out of bed, rubbing your eyes and shuffling your way to the computer. Another day of online business awaits, and you’re excited to see how many sales your online store has made, or how many visitors your blog has obtained.

You try to open up your WordPress admin area and…Error.

Something’s wrong.

You’re not quite sure what, but something is horribly wrong. A quick call to your hosting company lets you you know that the site has been crashed due to a hacker. Unfortunately, you didn’t have a backup WordPress plugin. So, not only did you miss out on all those visitors and sales, but your databases, content and just about everything from your site is gone.

Time to start from scratch.

This is an extreme example, but it’s not too far-fetched if you don’t prepare yourself for malware, brute force attacks and SQL injections.

Therefore, it’s essential that you defend your hard work with one of the best WordPress backup plugins on the market. Here are the ones you can choose from.

How I’m Testing These Backup Plugins

Since backup plugins more or less complete the same task, we’re going to look into three areas:

  • The types of settings offered.
  • My overall experience with the UX.
  • The speed of my website after installing each backup plugin.

I’ll be using Pingdom and GTmetrix to evaluate the site speeds, with comparisons of metrics like load time, Google’s PageSpeed performance grade and the YSlow score.

Starting out, my test website has the following speeds:

  • Pingdom performance grade: 78
  • Pingdom load time: 601 milliseconds
  • GTmetrix page load time: 1.5 seconds
  • GTmetrix PageSpeed score: 91%
  • GTmetrix YSlow score: 77%

01. UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin

updraftplus-wordpress-backup-plugin

My Experience With UpdraftPlus

Upon landing on the settings screen, I noticed that the primary dashboard asks if you’d like to make a manual backup right from the start. You also have Restore, Clone and Migrate buttons right there. All of the existing backups are stored on the dashboard for you to access at a later time, all of which you can restore or delete.

The main settings module is where the meat of the plugin resides. It lets you make an automated file and database backup schedule anywhere from hourly to monthly. You can also tell it how long to retain the backups. Remote storage is available in places like OneDrive, the UpDraftPlus Vault, Dropbox, Google Drive and dozens more. I like that you can select which of the files you’d like to include in the backup, and you receive an email report when the backup is done.

Overall, UpDraft Plus has one of the more simple, yet powerful, solutions out there, and it doesn’t seem to affect your page load speeds.

How Does This Backup Plugin Affect Your Site Speed?

  • Pingdom performance grade: 78
  • Pingdom load time: 607 milliseconds
  • GTmetrix page load time: 1.5 seconds
  • GTmetrix PageSpeed score: 91%
  • GTmetrix YSlow score: 77%

So, this plugin didn’t slow down my site at all.

02. Duplicator

duplicator

My Experience With Duplicator

Unfortunately, scheduled backups, email notifications and cloud storage to places like Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 and FTP are only available through the Pro version, which starts at $39 for one site. Although some people may be willing to pay this, the plugin we just looked at gives you all of this for free.

However, Duplicator does the job once installed, and you even get some fancy tools for copying and cloning sites. The only problem is that the wordage used in the Settings page is a little confusing. Instead of simply using the word backup, they walk you through a process of creating “packages,” which is strange at first.

The good news is that Duplicator didn’t slow down my site at all. In fact it seemed to have gotten faster.

How Does This Backup Plugin Affect Your Site Speed?

  • Pingdom performance grade: 78
  • Pingdom load time: 601 milliseconds
  • GTmetrix page load time: 1 second
  • GTmetrix PageSpeed score: 91%
  • GTmetrix YSlow score: 77%

03. BackUpWordPress

backupwordpress

My Experience With BackUpWordPress

The only part that I didn’t like about the BackUpWordPress plugin is that the settings are stored in the Tools tab in WordPress. Other than that, it’s a rather intuitive tool, with rudimentary settings for even the most inexperienced of developers. Complete a manual backup from the dashboard, and schedule when you’d like the automated backups to occur.

You can select to backup only files or the database, but I’d recommend doing both. Along with that, you can specify when you’d like the backup to start, along with the number of backups stored on your website. Finally, it’s nice to get an email notification without having to pay for a Pro plugin.

How Does This Backup Plugin Affect Your Site Speed?

  • Pingdom performance grade: 78
  • Pingdom load time: 735 milliseconds
  • GTmetrix page load time: 0.9 seconds
  • GTmetrix PageSpeed score: 91%
  • GTmetrix YSlow score: 77%

04. WP DB Backup

wp-db-backup

My Experience With WP DB Backup

WP DB Backup is yet another plugin that you have to access through the Tools tab. Although the developers have the main Settings page broken down into Tables, Backup Options and Scheduled Backups, the interface is a little too complex and messy for my taste.

You actually receive a nice feature to omit some of the tables from your database backup, but they really should put this in a separate tab for the beginners who will get far too intimidated by the table listings. Anyways, it’s important to mention that this is only a database backup, so I’m not a huge fan of a plugin that skips all of your site files. Other than that, you get to schedule the backup, download it to your computer and even send yourself an email with the files.

The speed doesn’t change much, but this is expected because the backups are emailed to you and not stored.

How Does This Backup Plugin Affect Your Site Speed?

  • Pingdom performance grade: 78
  • Pingdom load time: 599 milliseconds
  • GTmetrix page load time: 1.4 seconds
  • GTmetrix PageSpeed score: 91%
  • GTmetrix YSlow score: 77%

05. VaultPress

vaultpress

My Experience With VaultPress

Backing up your site with VaultPress costs $5 per month, but you can opt to receive more security features by paying for a premium subscription (starting at $9 per month). VaultPress is far more powerful than most of the other backup plugins, and because it’s so cheap for a premium theme, and you get to eliminate the need to go out and get a high-powered security plugin, it’s hard to pass up VaultPress.

The only problem is that you have to open up a completely separate dashboard to manage things like your backups, security, stats and activity. My favorite part is how the backup center is laid out with calendars. This way I have a more visual look into what’s happening with my storage. Also, you can restore files from the dashboard, monitor your site activity in real-time and cut out threats without having to hire a pro.

What’s interesting is that VaultPress seemed to slow down my site more than any of the others I’ve tested so far.

How Does This Backup Plugin Affect Your Site Speed?

  • Pingdom performance grade: 78
  • Pingdom load time: 1.54 seconds
  • GTmetrix page load time: 2 seconds
  • GTmetrix PageSpeed score: 91%
  • GTmetrix YSlow score: 77%

06. WordPress Backup to Dropbox

wordpress-backup-to-dropbox

My Experience With WordPress Backup to Dropbox

As the name states, this plugin only works with Dropbox. That’s not a huge deal for me, but some people may want to utilize other storage services such as Google Drive or Amazon S3. So that’s my primary complaint, since there’s no reason to force people to create a new account when they have a tool that does the same thing. A manual backup button comes along with the plugin, and you can go into the settings to configure your automated backups as well.

I do enjoy the organization on the Settings page, because it consolidates the files in which you may want to exclude from the overall backup. Overall the WordPress Backup to Dropbox plugin has simple functionalities, but you shouldn’t expect anything in terms of email notifications, multiple storage options or security. I would only recommend it to people who are super into Dropbox.

How Does This Backup Plugin Affect Your Site Speed?

  • Pingdom performance grade: 78
  • Pingdom load time: 597 milliseconds
  • GTmetrix page load time: 0.9 seconds
  • GTmetrix PageSpeed score: 91%
  • GTmetrix YSlow score: 77%

07. BackWPup

My Experience With BackWPup

backwpup

The Pro version of BackWPup starts at $69 for one site. I consider that to be rather pricey for a simple backup plugin, but you also have access to the free version without the Pro features. With the free plugin you still get backups to places like S3 services, an FTP server and Dropbox. You can make backups of your database and files, and data compression comes along with the plugin for free. It’s also nice to see that an email backup is an option.

I will say one thing. The Settings page is far more interesting and intuitive than any of the other backup plugins on this list. They have visuals, icons, descriptions for each button and tabs to keep settings separated. The backups are called “jobs,” which is kind of annoying, but it doesn’t really affect you once you get use to the terminology. Although walking through each job will be confusing for beginners, I like it for more experienced developers.

Not only can you set a job destination and send an email to yourself, but they have options for database backups, file backups, WordPress XML exports, installed plugin lists and an area to check database tables. Keep in mind that it slowed down my site more than others.

How Does This Backup Plugin Affect Your Site Speed?

  • Pingdom performance grade: 78
  • Pingdom load time: 1.72 seconds
  • GTmetrix page load time: 1.9 seconds
  • GTmetrix PageSpeed score: 91%
  • GTmetrix YSlow score: 77%

08. BackupBuddy

My Experience With BackupBuddy

backupbuddy

As the most expensive backup plugin on this list (starting at $80 per year) I put this one way down at the bottom, since I feel like you can get what you need from other free solutions. However, if you have the cash to spend, and you’ really want to ensure that every single one of your files is backed up, it’s not a bad idea to look into BackupBuddy.

Similar to VaultPress, you also receive tools for security. So, for example, if you’d like to run a malware scan, it’s only a click away on the dashboard. In terms of backing up data, it’s the most complete solution out there, since you can go to the Settings page and backup items like the WordPress core, widgets, users, the media library, comments, posts and the database.

Also similar to VaultPress, BackupBuddy seemed to hurt my page speeds a little more than average.

How Does This Backup Plugin Affect Your Site Speed?

  • Pingdom performance grade: 78
  • Pingdom load time: 1.1 seconds
  • GTmetrix page load time: 2.1 seconds
  • GTmetrix PageSpeed score: 91%
  • GTmetrix YSlow score: 77%

The Final Comparison

PluginsPingdomGTMetrix Page load time
My personal experience (10 being the best)
UpdraftPlus607 milliseconds 1.5 seconds 10
Duplicator607 milliseconds1 second 7
BackupWordPress735 milliseconds0.9 seconds8
 WP DB Backup 599 milliseconds1.4 seconds 6
 VaultPress1.54 seconds2 seconds 9
WordPress Backup to Dropbox 597 milliseconds 0.9 seconds5
BackWPup1.72 seconds1.9 seconds8
BackupBuddy 1.1 seconds 2.1 seconds8

Seeing as how YSlow, PageSpeed, and Pingdom performance grades never changed during my testing, there’s no reason to include these in the comparison chart. However, keep in mind that I used a site with minimal content and the lightweight Sixteen theme, so if you add some conflicting plugins, more content and a clunkier theme, you could see those scores change.

UpdraftPlus provides the best value for the number of features included for free, and it’s rather easy to understand the settings area. BackWPUp and BackUpBuddy and VaultPress have the worst load times, but they all make up for it with additional features, like security.

WordPress Backup to Dropbox resulted in the best speeds, but it’s so watered down in the feature department that I have a tough time recommending it.

If you have any questions about the best WordPress backup plugins or would like to share your experiences with the plugins we talked about, please let us know in the comments section below.

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