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How to use UpdraftPlus for WordPress

How to use UpdraftPlus for WordPress

UpdraftPlus is a plugin that we like to use on our WordPress sites. In this blog, we’ll give you a rundown on what the plugin does, why it’s useful, and how to use it on your website.

What is UpdraftPlus?

UpdraftPlus is a plugin that makes backup and restoration of your WordPress site simple and easy. You can use UpdraftPlus to manage your backups either manually or on a variety of automated schedules. This plugin makes complete backups to S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, FTP, SFTP, email and other locations. From any of these storage spaces, you can quickly restore with one click.

Why use it?

As an indication of how popular this plugin is, UpdraftPlus is the highest ranking backup plugin in the WordPress directory. In 2014, it ranked in the top 40 out of 30,000 WordPress plugins for quality. UpdraftPlus has been widely tested and has had over 2.4 million downloads.

At Digital Lamb, we like to have it installed on our sites because it is reliable and straightforward to use. From a functional perspective, it’s an essential plugin for any WordPress site. If your site or hosting company gets hacked, for example, you’ll risk losing everything without a backup.

An added bonus with choosing a popular plugin like UpdraftPlus is that it comes with professional support in the WordPress forums, and is undergoing constant development to improve user experience and the quality of the product.


The basic version of UpdraftPlus is both free to download and install from wordpress.org, and it fully functions as a backup/restore plugin. If you want extra features, you can opt for the premium version or select add-ons for the base plugin (both of which come at a cost and are available from updraftplus.com).

The features of the free version include:

  • Backup of WordPress files and database
  • Select which files to backup (e.g. plugins, content, themes etc.)
  • Restore from backup
  • Select which components of a backup that you want to restore
  • Backup to remote storage
  • Download backup archives direct from your WordPress dashboard
  • Compatibility with Dropbox, Google Drive, FTP, S3, Rackspace and Email
  • Basic email reporting
  • Scheduled backups (files and database backups can have separate schedules)
  • Failed uploads are automatically resumed and reattempted
  • Large sites can be split into multiple archives
  • This plugin is also available in over 16 language translations
How to install UpdraftPlus:

See our How to Install a New Plugin tutorial for instructions on installing UpdraftPlus.

Once you’ve installed and activated UpdraftPlus, it’s easy to set up and use on your site. Below we have some screenshots of the basic functions of UpdraftPlus to help familiarise you with the plugin.

1. Main Console

This is the main console that appears when you go to the settings for UpdraftPlus. It shows you when you last ran a backup, and the schedule for your next backup. It also has three big action buttons: Backup Now, Restore and Clone/Migrate.

2. Backup Now

To perform an instant backup, click on the Backup Now action button. A dialog box will open (see below) giving you options for running a backup.

To run a standard backup, don’t check any of the boxes and simply press the Backup Now button. UpdraftPlus will run (this may take a few minutes depending on the size of your website) and the details of your current backups will be available under the “existing backups” tab on your toolbar.

That’s all you need to do for a basic backup, but you can make more advanced changes by configuring the plugin.

3. Configure Backup Contents and Schedule

To configure a backup schedule for your site, visit the settings tab on the toolbar that appears at the top of your page.

Here you can choose when to run a backup, what files to include in the backup, and how many backups you store. Underneath “Reporting” you can choose to have a report sent to you each time you run a backup.

4. Another example of scheduling options

Above is an example of a manual backup schedule. Below it is set to perform weekly backups. There are a variety of other options for you to choose from the dropdown menu depending on your preferences.

5. Remote Storage Options

Below you can see the range of storage options in the dropdown menu.

6. Restore a Backup

To restore a backup, choose the “Restore” option on the main console.

You will be taken to panel which shows your existing backups. Here you can select which backup to restore (or delete). When you click “Restore”, a dialog box will open and you can select what files you want to restore (e.g. select all or only select to restore “plugins” etc.)

And that’s how you use UpdraftPlus!