It’s hard to settle on a good backup solution for WordPress. Each method comes with its own drawbacks. I thought I’d found the perfect solution in DropMySite, but they closed their service to new retail customers, and we’re left without a good option. In this article, I’ll explain what’s wrong with Jetpack Backup, and why I abandoned it, despite really wanting to like its features.
Why is Jetpack Backup Attractive?
For me, the most attractive part of Jetpack Backup is its real-time cloud backups. Other backup solutions like UpdraftPlus, for example, take snapshots of your site at specific times of the day, so whenever you restore something, you lose whatever changes you made between the present and the last time you backed up your site.
Another reason why I want to like Jetpack Backup, is that it doesn’t strain your server while taking backups. Backups and restorations are some of the most resource-intensive processes on your site. If you’re on shared hosting, your host can severely curtail your account because of the high number of Input/Output (I/O) operations, causing some backups to run for hours. All the while, your site slows to a crawl, and you might even negatively affect the performance of everyone else on the server.
Jetpack Backup relies on SFTP (or FTP if you’re feeling brave), which is very resource friendly.
So Why Don’t I like Jetpack Backup?
There are two reasons why I don’t like Jetpack Backup.
1. Additional Costs for Every Site Covered
With Automattic’s solution, you pay for every site covered by Jetpack Backup, instead of being able to back up everything on a fixed amount of storage. When you purchase a backup plan from NameHero you get a fixed amount of space, and you can back up as many sites as you want. So if your plan allows you to host multiple sites, your costs don’t increase linearly with the number of WordPress installations. And incremental backups help you save space.
Jetpack Backup costs the same amount to back up every additional site. So if you have 5 websites, you spend five times more on backups than on a solution like NameHero.
To make matters worse, it’s expensive! The minimum option is to purchase 10 GB of space, while with the NameHero backup add-on, you can purchase an additional 5 GB of space for a lower cost, as shown here:
This is in addition to the free nightly and weekly backup on NameHero.
2. Jetpack Backup Doesn’t Backup Core Files
Jetpack Backup’s documentation states that they only back up the plugin, themes, and upload folders, along with select files from your root directory like the wp-config.php file. The official reason is that these files can be easily downloaded from the WordPress repository, so they don’t need to be backed up.
I worry about the implications if malware somehow infects a core WordPress file. One of the benefits of having a backup is the ability to restore your site in case it gets hacked. And for me, that means completely restoring every folder, file, and database entry. From the looks of it, Jetpack Backup won’t be able to restore a malware-infected site if one of the core files is affected.
A secondary concern is if someone modifies a core file with custom functionality. I know this is a bad practice, but I don’t think the backup solution for WordPress should take that into consideration. Since Jetpack Backup doesn’t back up WordPress files, I don’t feel confident in its ability to successfully restore a severely hacked or modified site.
Bottom Line: Jetpack Backup is Insufficient
For the above reasons, I don’t recommend Jetpack Backup. Until we have a solution that lets you back up as many websites as you want in a given space and one that comprehensively stores each and every file and folder, I won’t consider it to be an optimal solution for restoring websites.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!
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