Recently, the WordPress team has been pushing out new releases rather quickly, making it advisable to upgrade your installation fairly regularly. The WordPress wiki includes some pretty good instructions explaining how to backup your install and how to upgrade. However, with the EZ WordPress Backup plugin, you can backup and upgrade with even more ease.
Installing the EZ WordPress Backup plugin is just as simple as installing any other plugin. Simply go to your Plugins menu and click the “Add New” link. In the search box, type in “EZ Backup” and the EZ WordPress Backup plugin will be the only result that appears. Click the Install link and then activate the plugin.
Once activated, you will see a new menu in your admin panel called “EZ Backup.” Within that menu, you will see an item called “EZ Backup,” which is where the main settings are for this plugin. When you first install it, you will need to configure it by entering various information such as which directory you want to backup, where you want the backup files saved, which database to backup, etc. You can even set up EZ Backup to e-mail the backup as an attachment if you want.
Note: At the time of this writing, although the EZ Backup settings ask for a database username and password, it seems to use the database username and password from your WordPress configuration rather than the one you added in the settings. I’m not sure if this is a bug, if this is an old feature that’s been removed without updating the settings area or if this is a new feature that hasn’t yet been fully implemented.
Update: As outlined in the comments, the plugin was actually using the custom database user and password I entered in the settings, it was just displaying the wrong database username and password on the “confirm your settings” screen. Shortly after SangrelX responded, he released an update to the plugin that fixed this issue.
Once you save the settings, simply click the “Create Backup” button and wait for it to finish backing up the files you selected. This plugin, if configured correctly, can actually back up your entire Web site (not just the WordPress installation). In my case, our backup is about 16 gigabytes, so it took a few hours to complete the backup. The EZ Backup popup window timed out while trying to create the backup, but the background process continued until the backup was completed. To make sure the backup was still running, I opened my FTP program, logged into the site and refreshed the directory listing every 15-30 minutes to watch the file size and the “last modified” date. Once both of those indicators stopped changing, I knew the backup was complete.
Once the backup was completed, upgrading was simple. I returned to my Dashboard, clicked the “Upgrade” button and then clicked “Upgrade Automatically.” Once that was complete, I made sure that all of my plugins were up-to-date and then checked my WordPress site to make sure everything worked properly. It’s as simple as that.
Of the backup plugins I’ve seen, EZ Backup seems to be the most powerful. It allows you to backup more than just your WordPress site, allows you to schedule weekly backups and allows you to e-mail the backups to yourself (or any e-mail address of your choosing). This plugin also includes a browser to inspect and even restore the backups you’ve performed.
There are a few things I would like to see added to the EZ Backup plugin, though. For one, it would be great if it included some sort of a file browser so that I could select or deselect multiple directories for the backup. It would also be awesome if there was some way to select multiple databases to backup, but that is probably beyond the scope of a WordPress plugin. Finally, I’d love to see the ability to choose a different backup schedule, as this plugin currently only allows weekly backups. It would be nice if the plugin somehow allowed the fully flexible scheduling that the cron daemon actually supports (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, irregular scheduling, etc.).
All-in-all, though, if you don’t install any other plugins on your WordPress blog, I would absolutely recommend you install this one, as, assuming you actually use it, this could save you a lot of trouble down the line.