A few days ago, @bakkel tweeted about WP Time Machine. This WordPress backup solution turned out to be exactly what I’d been looking for. It gathers all the relevant bits (like your blog’s database, uploaded images, etc) and uploads them to Dropbox, Amazon’s S3 or FTP. It even adds a file with comprehensive restore instructions. I’ve argued before that backups need to be absolutely painless, and with this plugin they are.
I’d recommend setting the plugin to use Dropbox. Their free subscription only offers 2 GB of space, but as long as you’re not creating daily backups in seperate folders, that should be plenty. And you probably don’t need seperate folders because Dropbox keeps a 30-day file revision history. My site’s backup files take up around 70 MB of my 2 GB, and I’m able to restore previous versions, up to a month old, through Dropbox’s interface.
A somewhat eccentric options page
Setting up the plugin is very easy, but the options page is a little awkward. For some options, it show a clickable link that toggles the setting to whatever it isn’t currently. There’s no indication of the option’s current state, except that it’s not what the link says. In my opinion, this is poor usability, and I’d really love for the author to change the options page to simply use radio buttons or checkboxes.
Setting up recurring backups
This is the hardest part. The plugin has an option to create a new backup every time a new post is published, but in most cases this is not ideal. The alternative is to set up a cron job on your server. Most hosts allow you to do this, but it can be a little tricky to get up and running. The plugin’s website has a guide on how to set up a cron job, but I think this should probably be made easier.
That being said, WP Time Machine is the best free solution I’m aware of for backing up your WordPress install. It does more that the typical database-only backup plugins, and storing backup files off-site adds extra security. Recommended.