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Lesson 14 – Part 5 – How to Backup your Site Automatically

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Why We Recommend BackupBuddy Plugin

The first part of backing up automatically is having the right plugin for your business/professional services Thesis Theme website. I strongly recommend the BackupBuddy plugin. It is not a free plugin, it does cost you something but it is flawless. It always works, it always restores, I have never had a problem with a BackupBuddy backup.

It has lots of competition, there are a lot of people out there who market something that is less expensive than BackupBuddy. That’s pretty much how they have to market themselves , we’re cheaper than BackupBuddy, because nobody does a better job than BackupBuddy does. BackupBuddy truly is the gold standard of backup plugins.

To pick the right plugin, you have to have a set of criteria. For automatic backups, as far as I’m concerned, the minimum criteria is one that backs up everything, that’s both database and files and that is customizable so you can decide to include or exclude some things.

We’re not going to really care about that at this very moment but for example, at BYOB Website we don’t backup our video directory because it’s huge. We don’t actually expect to ever lose that data and if we did, we just transfer it there again because we have it all on Amazon and we have it all on our server here in the office.

It doesn’t make any sense to regularly backup many gigabytes of video. We specifically exclude the video folder from our backup and I think it’s important to be able to set things that you can exclude that are not efficient to backup.

Criteria for the Right Backup Plugin

One, you should be able to automatically backup everything, it should be customizable so that you can make choices about what gets backed up, you should be able to create a schedule for it so that it will happen on a routine basis without any intervention on your part and finally, it should be able to export its backup to a remote location so that it’s not storing its backup on the server that it’s backing up. Once it does a backup, it stores it someplace else.

That’s what I believe is a minimum criteria in choosing a backup software. You have lots of different options, there are the get-rich gurus out there who are hawking their cloning tools and there are a number of those out there.

You pay $29-$59 for some marketing geniuses’ idea of a quick way to set up a WordPress website and it has an inexpensive tool or it has a tool that he makes money on. There are lots of them to choose from and there are some decent ones to choose from that are free inside the WordPress repository.

There isn’t anybody as good as BackupBuddy though, just in case you are wondering, there isn’t anybody as good as this. The only reason I don’t use BackupBuddy for everything on BYOB Website is that I want to be able to pick a snapshot to backup to that could be just minutes away and BackupBuddy doesn’t really give me that option. Otherwise, we’d be using BackupBuddy for everything because it’s absolutely flawless.

EZPZ One-Click Backup

NOTE: The EZPZ One-Click Backup is no longer available. We suggest using BackWPup instead.

Having said that, there is another option I’m going to talk about here tonight called “EZPZ One-Click Backup”. We’re going to install “EZPZ One-Click Backup”, we’ll configure it and run it. I’m going to install it actually on sbywh13, our site from last week. Go over to Dashboard, Plugins and Installed Plugins. We’ll Add New and search just for “EZPZ One-Click Backup”, install it and activate it.

Once it has been activated, it gives you this dialog down here for you to work on, “EZPZ OCB”, this is where you set it up. We’ll start off with our Options and we’re going to schedule this to go once a week, I’m going to pick 2:00am and I want to be emailed at rick@byobwebsite, and it’s going to run this backup.

This is going to be a full backup, it doesn’t have the ability to do anything but a full backup. You can’t choose just to do a database backup more often as you can in BackupBuddy but nevertheless, here’s a full backup of both files and database.

Database Repair and Optimization Before a Backup

We are going to perform the database repair and optimization before it gets backed up. We have the file permissions as they are. They generate a random name for a backup folder which is fine because it’s going to save it in that random name.

We’re going to pick a timezone for this and I’m in GMT-8 which is the West Coast of the United States and I could just pick Vancouver which is a neighbor or Los Angeles. Anyway, pick that timezone and we’ll save a maximum of 5 backups on the server, they can go up to 10 but let’s just say 5.

I want to change the Date Stamp, you can tell this wasn’t written by somebody in the US because it’s 2012-03-16 and that always confuses me so I like to do day, month and year. That’s not a choice here in the drop down. I suppose you could choose 16 March 12 but you can’t choose 3-16-12 so I did day, month, year as my date.

You could choose only to backup databases that begin with WP, although I don’t think that’s a good idea. You might do that if you were sharing a database with some other software but that’s outside the range of what we’re talking about here. We don’t need to use the Alternate Database Method, you could choose to exclude folder so if I had a videos folder, I could exclude the videos folder from this but we’re not going to do that either.

Send Files to a Dropbox Folder

The other thing I want to do is I want to make it to automatically send the file to my dropbox. Remember that my criteria was that it be automatic, backup everything, you can schedule it, you can customize what we’ve backed up and it can export the files to a remote location.

What “EZPZ” does is you can either have it sent to another FTP Server. It doesn’t make any sense to do this on your existing FTP Server for your site but if you had multiple accounts, you could have this sent to a different FTP Server account. I must have 6 or 7 different hosting accounts so I could always choose a different hosting account to FTP this thing to or you can use the dropbox extension and once it makes the backups, it’ll add it to your Dropbox.

What is Dropbox?

If you don’t know what Dropbox is, Dropbox is a remarkably useful tool. We use it because we have staff in the Philippines that need access to files and we share files back and forth constantly and we need to have a reliable way of storing files on one computer and being able to have access on other computers.

You set up a Dropbox account and then you can log in to that account from any computer that you ever have access to and you can set up the Dropbox on any computer so it will store the same information, it will store that Dropbox on any computer you want it to.

My Dropbox is being stored on our server, on my desktop, on my laptop, on my wife’s computer and that way, we share these things. Our employees each have their own Drop boxes where we share access to these different directories.

I can automatically send it to my Dropbox, I can put my Dropbox email address in, which is rick@byobwebsite.com, put my Dropbox password in and put the name of the folder in the Dropbox where I want the backups stored. Here’s my backups right there, currently it’s empty because we haven’t done this yet.

Then I’m going to say, “Primarily use Windows” and I’m going to save those Dropbox extensions. I should have saved my options first so, once a week, 2:00am, rick@byobwebsite and perform the repair. I’m just going to Update the options now. Those options have been done and we can just do a manual backup.

Transferring Files to the Dropbox Folder

It is done and it’s in the process now of transferring this file to the Dropbox here but you can click on this button and download the backup directly to your computer which is what we’ll do at the moment because I want to be able to show you what this backup contains.

The nice thing about this backup file is that it contains everything you need in order to restore, including instructions. That was really the reason why I’d chose easy “EZPZ” over some of the others that have similar kinds of functionality and it was because inside this zipped folder that you have for restoring from, are instructions on how to do it. That’s not as great an idea as it sounds, it’s not a very common practice.

We’re almost there so we’re just going to open it up so you can see what we see here. It says, “READ_ME.html” file right there and here is, “How do I restore my site from a backup using EZPZ Easy Restore?” It’s telling you how to upload your zipped file, how to unarchive it, what to do if you can’t unarchive it and where this thing should go. It’s very nice to have these clues as to how to proceed.

Exclude Files to Backup

Now, we’re going to do this again with BackupBuddy at Thesis CSS. BackupBuddy gives me the choice of sending email modifications when the backup is completed. I do need to set an import buddy password, backup reminders, I’m going to zipp it up, I’m going to do an integrity check on it and I could choose to exclude some things.

For example, I’d like to exclude cgi-bin because I don’t really need that in this and save those settings. Under Scheduling, I can choose what the schedule is so for example, if I was doing this automatically, I could choose to either do a database or I could do database and files. The database could be scheduled weekly or daily or hourly and the other one could be scheduled monthly, it’s very customizable.

Adding Remote Destination

I can add a remote destination and I can use my Amazon S3 account which is actually what I do. I use Amazon S3 to store this, not in Dropbox but I could use Dropbox if I wanted to or if you use Rackspace Cloud Files or you could have it FTP’d or you could also email it but that’s not going to work with any size of a real backup so it’s not really a good choice.

Amazon S3 is what I do and all my clients are backed up to my Amazon S3 account so anytime I have a failure, I can just go and restore it. If I do a full backup right there and just click that button, it’s going to take a few moments to do its thing. When it’s done, I can just download the zip archive and when that’s completed, I can copy and put it in the folder with the other backups.

There’s your belt and suspenders method, we have critical files backed up three times. I have lots of videos in the site about how to backup and restore for BackupBuddy so I’ve been cursory about it here because I’ve got very detailed videos elsewhere about how to use this tool.

In terms of restoring from the other tool, we can cross that bridge when we have a real crisis. To the extent that you use “EZPZ” and to the extent that you have a failure and you need some help, let me know and we can go through the process of restoring it as well.

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