BackupBuddy Review

Ever heard of website insurance? For most, it comes in the form of a program that allows them to create backups of their websites. A backup can be one of only the site’s database, but it can also include the website’s files for total coverage. That way, if something nasty ever wipes out part of or even the entire website—a server crash or error, for instance—it’s possible to restore the lost data by simply grabbing the backup copy.

BackupBuddy is such a website insurance program, although it’s for WordPress websites in particular. It’s actually available as a WordPress plugin, and it can be had for a price. Well, any of several prices, to be exact. It depends on the plan you pick.

The obvious question arises: why go with a paid backup option when there are free ones available?

You can, you know—go for the free ones, I mean. But the usual tradeoff is that they have weaker support (someone has to pay the personnel!), fewer features, and generally lighter backup capabilities. You can even skip all the effort of making your own backups by just trusting in your webhost to keep copies of your site for you.

I wouldn’t count on the latter, though. Most webhosts will actually just shrug off accidental data loss with a quick apology to their clients, accompanied by a washing of hands.

Anyway, the point is, if you want a contingency plan, you have to initiate backups yourself. And if you want a better (as opposed to just a minimum) contingency plan, you usually have to shell out a few bucks too.

Here we’re going to determine if it’s worth your while to do just that.

BackupBuddy Costs and Experience

BackupBuddy is a complete database and file backup solution for WordPress users. This means it can create backups of both the database and all other parts of the site, from the media library to the widgets, posts, plugins, theme files, and more.

You aren’t obliged to always use it for total backup creation, though. You can choose to run a backup of only the database, of some files, or all of them. That comes in handy when you don’t have the time to do full backups.

The plugin also allows you to send your backups to offsite storage locations. Options here include Amazon S3, Dropbox, and email. The company that created BackupBuddy, iThemes, also offers its own offsite storage solution, BackupBuddy Stash. All users of BackupBuddy are given 1GB of free space on it by default.

BackupBuddy has backup scheduling for automated operation, quick-restore options for a total website or individual files, and file/table exclusion options for backup speed optimization.

To further ease the process of backing up your site, the plugin allows you craft custom backup profiles. It allows you to place custom limits on backup storage, send you email notifications, and even comes with free malware scanning (so you can identify problems early on) as well as server tools for troubleshooting backup problems.

It also has a Deployment and Migration tool on the Developer plan that allows you to move WordPress sites to new domains or hosts in just a few clicks. The tool offers easy URL replacement and serialized data management.

The plugin is available in 4 plan levels at the moment. The cheapest is the Blogger level, which gives you backup functionalities for 2 sites and costs $80 a year. Then there is the Freelancer, which costs $100 a year and covers 10 sites. Next is the Developer, which costs $150 a year for unlimited sites. Finally, there is the Gold plan, which costs $297 but guarantees lifetime updates.

All of the plans get plugin updates for the plan’s duration, support, 1GB of BackupBuddy Stash space, and 10 iThemes Sync sites.

What We Like

1. The plan-based pricing – Subscription-based competitors actually end up costing drastically more than it does once the number of websites being backed up rises. In some cases, competitors start costing more once you reach 3 sites. In others, it could be as low as 2.

2. Lack of monthly fees – A lot of the competitors for BackupBuddy have monthly fees. BackupBuddy’s yearly fee covers everything.

3. BackupBuddy Stash – This is a fantastic addition to the package. Since it comes for free, you can really cut down on total costs for backups by taking advantage of it.

4. Custom profiles – It’s always nice to save time by having options like these ready. Pair this with the plugin’s scheduling functions and you have some pretty good insurance on hand.

5. Migration feature – This is amazing. It’s among the best migration tools for websites, and it really does make sense to have it in the plugin. After all, migrating a site is basically just restoring it from backup to a fresh domain.

What We Don’t Like

1. Price – Yes, I know—this was in the “What We Like” section too. But something can be both good and bad. The bad about BackupBuddy’s pricing is that its minimum plan is around twice the cost of most of its competitors’ minimum plans. It becomes dramatically cheaper once you go above that, of course, but if you only need to backup 1 or 2 sites, it’s a bit costly.

2. Not the most compatible with GoDaddy’s servers – It doesn’t play nice with GoDaddy’s servers, for some reason. You’ll find yourself having to back up files and the database separately, to lower the load.

3. Has to run on a slower compatibility mode for Windows servers – If your webhost uses Windows servers, the plugin takes slightly longer to perform backups because it has to go into compatibility mode. Linux servers are perfect, though (unless they’re on GoDaddy, as we just noted).

The Verdict: Is it worth it?

In the main: yes. You may think twice about it if you have only one site to back up because of its cost, but if you have more sites, BackupBuddy seems like a great investment. Most of its competitors with similar features and abilities cost a lot more than it does once you get to higher site numbers: the average cost of plans that let you backup 10 WordPress sites is $300, for instance, to BackupBuddy’s $100. The inclusion of 1GB of Stash only adds to its appeal, as does the fantastic site migration tool.

What about if you’re on GoDaddy hosting or a Windows server? The former may be reason to hesitate, but the latter shouldn’t. We found that it still works pretty well even in compatibility mode. That said, the low compatibility with GoDaddy’s servers was a bit more noticeable. Unless you have plans to migrate to a new host soon, you might want to shop around a little more first.

The ultimate determinant of whether or not you should get it, though, is if you think you’d be willing to pay what it costs to get your site back in a disaster. If you’ve already spent years building up a website, $100 seems a light price to recover the fruit of your efforts after a freak storm blows it away and into the sky.