This post is part of a series focussing on the main changes and improvements made at WP Engine throughout 2015.
One feature from WP Engine, which has always been useful is their automatic and on-demand site backups, and in November 2015 WP Engine made the backups even more accessible and useful, launching some new changes.
The changes include:
- Stronger Encryption and Security – You will notice in the User Portal that backups are now downloaded over HTTPS. Also, site backups are now encrypted at the source. That means your backups are even more secure.
- Uploads Directory Now Included – You will now see content from your Uploads directory in your backup files, providing a complete snapshot of your site.
- European Customer Backups – To improve performance, we now store all backups for our EU-based customers in a data center in Ireland. This change is effective immediately for our European customers; no support request is required!
The WP Engine platform still has all the existing backup features, such as the automatic backup feature that ensures that the customer’s data is always kept safe. These daily backups and backup points can be found by visiting the WP Engine User Portal, clicking on your install name, and then clicking on the “Backup Points” button.
These backups not only contain your database, but they also contain your theme, plugin, uploads, and any core files (except those listed as being excluded from backups).
Though the system does do nightly backups of the staging environment, these are not accessible to customers through the User Portal; if a customer wants a backup of the Staging site, it can be restored or made downloadable, but they have to contact the Support team.
The User Portal for WP Engine shows customers the last 40 backup points. Any customer can request an earlier backup point than this; they just need to contact the Support team so they can then see what older backups are available. This is typically a maximum of the last 60 backups done on the website.
How to use the WP Engine Backup functionality
WP Engine has created some detailed instructions on how to use the new features, although we have summarized them below:
Create a Backup Point Manually
From the backup points menu, you can manually download your own backup points by simply clicking “Backup Now” at the top right of the screen. You’ll be asked to give your point a name, and this can help you to keep track of when the point was created.
A notification will be automatically sent to the primary email address that you gave to WP Engine, or another email address if you’ve added one. This method is recommended for any major changes that are made to your site, as it mean you can revert the changes if something goes wrong.
Roll Back To A Previous Backup Point
Your site can be reverted to any available restore point listed in the User Portal. You simply select the needed restore point and use the checkbox on the left side to have the site reverted.
If this is left unchecked, then the database will not be modified, and only the files that are on the server will be restored. This is very useful if you’ve put new content on your website, and your website needs to be kept intact.
Download Your Backup Point
If you’d like to download a copy of the files/ database contained in a restore point, you can select any restore point from the list, and then simply click “Download Zip” on the top right. This then generates the downloadable zip file and then sends you an email containing a unique link to the download.
Excluded From Backup Points
Some folders are excluded from backup points: these exclusions included directories and file from caching plugins, and backups from either WordPress management tools or backup plugins.
- .*~ (These are typically drafts of files edited with a command line text editor)
- .*/_wpeprivate (This directory is typically used for short term file storage)
Though these file types are not supported, all others are, and the 2015 changes promise to make backups to your WP Engine WordPress website far easier, simpler and also more flexible. Customers will be looking forward to making full use of these changes, and they show WP Engine once again listening carefully to customers feedback in 2015.