UpdraftPlus Backup Plugin for WordPress - Review and Configuration for Beginners

Backing up wordpress on a regular basis is imperative. You can do this using various methods which could be manually backing up the files, using an automated script to backup the files or using a plugin. For most of us, using a plugin is the most easy and secure way to backing up wordpress.

There are many backup plugins for wordpress but three of my most favorite plugins are UpdraftPlus, BackupBuddy and BackWPUp. In this article, let's have a look at UpdraftPlus, what it can do and how to configure it to backup and restore the wordpress database and files.

What Can UpdraftPlus Do For You?

UpdraftPlus allows you to automatically or manually take backups of your wordpress database along with your most important folders/directories. This mainly includes the uploads and theme folders. The uploads folder contains all your site's images and media files and the theme folder contains your theme files along with all the custom changes that you have made. The best part about this plugin is that it gives you a variety of storage options to save your backups which includes your email, Google drive, dropbox, Amazon S3, OpenStack, Copy.com or your own server via FTP or SFTP.

Here's a brief overview of setting up the plugin.

Setting Up UpdraftPlus

Setting up UpdraftPlus is fairly easy. After installation, go to Settings > Updraftplus Backups and then click on the Settings tab. This tab allows you to configure auto backups, the files and folders to backup and to set-up remote storage to save your backups in.

A daily backup should be optimal in most cases and this can be achieved by setting the File Backup Interval and Database backup Interval to daily.

Updraftplus backup frequency

In the Include in files backup section, check the themes and uploads checkboxes. If you have added additional directories within wp-content folder, check the any other directories found inside wp-content as well.

UpdraftPlus files to include

In most cases, you need not take backups of the plugins as this can increase backup size and time hugely.

Configuring Remote Storage

Finally, in the copy your backup to remote storage section, select your remote storage option. If you do not select a storage option, all your files will be saved to your web-server automatically in a folder named 'updraft' within your wp-contents folder.

The best free options for remote storage are your Email, Dropbox or your own Server Space. If you are planing to use email, be aware that most mail servers have limits on the attachment size which typically runs between 10-20 Mb. So backups larger than this limit will likely not arrive.

If you think your backups might run above 10 MB, it is best to use your server space to save your backups. To do this simply disable remote storage by selecting None in the Choose your remote storage section. Although, it has to be said that this is not the safest option.

UpdraftPlus remote backup storage options

If you would like to save the backups in a different server (other than your existing server), select the FTP or SFTP option and enter the required username, password and folder name where you want to save the backups. (Create this folder in the root of your server beforehand).

Another free storage option is Dropbox. Dropbox offers 2GB of data storage free and hence if your backup size is less than 2GB (which most often will be the case) you can definitely consider using this option. To use this option, first create a Dropbox account by visiting Dropbox.com. Go back to the UpdraftPlus settings page and select Dropbox from the remote storage drop down menu and then scroll down and click the 'Save Changes' button. Then come back to the settings page again and click on the 'Authenticate With Dropbox' link. This will take you to the Dropbox website where you need to click the 'Allow' button. Once you click Allow you should be returned back to your wordpress dashboard. That's about it. Your backups will now be saved in your Dropbox account in the folder Apps > UpdraftPlus.

Amazon S3 offers 5GB of free storage too, but this is only for the first year. You will automatically be shifted to the paid plan at the end of one year.

If you are looking for a paid option I would suggest using the UpdraftVault which comes at $10/6 months for 5 GB of space. This option is super easy and hassle free to set up.

Tip: Delete all themes that you no longer use to reduce your overall backup size.

Restoring a Backup

To restore a backup, go to the 'Current Status' tab and click on the 'Restore' button. You should be able to see your backups here which you can restore by clicking the restore button next to the backup. If you don't see anything here, you will first need to import the backup files into the updraft folder. To do this, click on the 'upload backup files' link and then select your backup file from your computer by clicking the 'select files' button. You can then restore these files by clicking the restore button.

UpdraftPlus in my opinion is the best plugin when it comes to backing up and restoring wordpress files and folders. Definitely a must have plugin.



  1. Hi I did every step and used my email as remote storage. I am testing the functionality of Updraft by trying to restore my latest backup but this message comes along "Error: Download failed

    backup_2016-07-19-2300_Matias_Travels_39a7db93e2be-plugins.zip: The backup archive for this file could not be found. The remote storage method in use (email) does not allow us to retrieve files. To perform any restoration using UpdraftPlus, you will need to obtain a copy of this file and place it inside UpdraftPlus's working folder (updraft)"
    I dont understand why its not working. Also in the last step you wrote, what file from my computer would I upload?

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