There is a saying on the Internet that people are divided into two categories: Those who make backups and those who will make backups. If you underestimate having a backup… You are not alone. This slogan was created as a result of similar experiences of many people, who understood the necessity of having a copy of their data as a result of their loss – often irretrievable.
I also experienced a similar course of events, although it was not so dramatic: Almost 300 GB of the photos was on a drive whose aggressive power management caused it to fail – fortunately, the fault was not permanent and I managed to boot the drive for the time necessary to copy the photos. However, I tasted the feeling of loss, believing that the disk could not be booted anymore and the years of photographic work were lost forever.
Since then, the word backup has become a permanent feature of my dictionary and I can’t imagine not having an up-to-date copy of the data, whether it’s stored on drives of my desktop, portable devices or a web server.
One of the reasons why we are reluctant to deal with backup is because it is a nuisance to do so. This is another task on the list. The ideal solution is therefore to automate this process, but this is not always desirable. Although respectable hosting companies offer an automatic backup of files, mail and databases, for example, the migration of a website may require you to make a backup at a specific point in time. It is therefore good to know the effective tools that facilitate this process.
The hero of this article is the Duplicator plugin, which is available as a free version (also known as “Lite”) or as an enhanced Pro version. However, if you don’t want to automate the backup process and allow the plugin to upload files to Dropbox, Amazon Cloud or FTP server, the free version will suffice.
The Duplicator is a simple tool for backing up the entire WordPress system, i.e. files uploaded to the Media tab, templates, plug-ins and databases. By default, the plugin creates a ZIP archive that contains all the page files and a database snapshot in SQL format.
But that’s not all – the most powerful feature of this solution is the installation script in the form of a PHP file, which allows you to easily restore or migrate the page . The script allows you to:
Apart from the time it takes to upload the ZIP file to the server, installation usually takes 5 minutes to complete and is very easy.
Of course, both the ZIP archive and the installer can be downloaded from the WordPress backend, without the need for an FTP server, which makes it easy to back up and store it on a desktop computer, for example.
It’s worth remembering that the backup stored in the same place as the source files is not much value. It is enough that the CMS be infected by malicious software and the backup that we have created can be deleted or corrupted.Download Duplicator
Literally a few days ago I received a newsletter with information about the new features planned in version 1.3 of the plugin, available now in beta. The new version introduces two fantastic new features, which will appeal mainly to page administrators with a lot of graphics and programmers who often update their pages on production servers from developer or local versions.
Duplicator 1.3, in addition to the standard ZIP archive, introduces support for DupArchive, which, according to the authors, enables efficient backup of up to 1 GB of volume to shared servers or other servers with limited processing times. Anyone who has had the pleasure of backing up a page with a few hundred megabytes of “uploads” folders knows that this is great news. I hope that this solution will make manual copying of the folder with the uploaded graphics via FTP unnecessary.
The second key innovation is the Overwrite Mode. It is based on the fact that the installer does not need a clean folder anymore to perform the installation. If you send the archive and the installer’s script to the folder with the existing WordPress installation, the installer will suggest an overwrite mode, automatically download the data for connection to the database from the configuration file, save wp-config and .htaccess, delete all existing files during installation and automatically install a new version of the page. You no longer need to delete all files and enter data for connection to the database. This functionality is also great for people who have performed a backup before updating the plug-ins and would like to restore the version before the update as a result of errors. In this case it is enough to copy the archive and the installer to the main folder of the page and let the Duplicator overwrite the existing installation. Interestingly, this solution also works with CMS installed by various scripts available in hosting companies, e.g. Installatron.
If you are reading this article in June 2018, version 1.3 is available as beta on the authors’ website. If at a later date, it is quite likely that it will be available for download from the official WordPress plugin repository.Download Duplicator 1.3 Beta
There was time for pros, now it’s time for the flaws in this plugin. Fortunately, there are not many of them.
Timeout, i.e. exceeding the script execution time. Because the plugin creates a complete backup, simultaneously compressing it, in the case of large pages and weaker virtual hosts, the process of creating the archive is often interrupted by the server. Version 1.3 introduces a new type of archive to resist this problem, but if you absolutely need a ZIP file, you can only make a copy without a “/wp-content/uploads/” folder. Because WordPress stores all the files you upload to this folder by default (including your photos in their original resolution), filtering out the folder dramatically reduces the volume of the archive and the plugin keeps up with the creation of the archive at the time specified by the server.
Broken file names, i.e. lack of support for Polish characters and other characters from the Unicode. WordPress saves the files uploaded in the Media tab in their original form. This means that it does not change the Polish characters in the file names to “clean” equivalents. This is a big problem for Duplicator, because when it creates the ZIP archive, it transforms Unicode characters into “bushes”. If someone supports English language pages, this problem will not occur, but in the case of Polish language pages, it is a good idea to enable the filter for the “uploads” folder before creating copies. What’s important – after scanning the installation, the plugin will inform you about finding the files with custom characters in the name and will suggest you filter them out. I keep my fingers crossed for the new DupArchive format – may it eliminate this problem as well.
The duplicator is also available in a paid version as Duplicator Pro. The plugin has all the features of the free version and also has support for multisite installation, the ability to automate the backup (e.g. by cron), and the ability to upload files to Dropbox, Amazon cloud, FTP, OneDrive or Google Drive.
The paid version also has a improved backup engine, which makes it more efficient and allows you to back up larger pages than the free version (according to the authors’ estimates, these are pages of about 2 GB installed on shared servers).
You can read more about Duplicator Pro at authors’ website.
Duplicator is a relatively simple tool that requires no specialist knowledge to back up. Let us know in the comments if you need help and would like to read the guide on how to use this plugin effectively.
There are also other solutions on the market that allow you to migrate and backup WordPress. Do you use a different plugin? Let us know what you think about Duplicator and why you have chosen another method.