WordPress 4.3, the next major release, is coming soon.

We’re pleased to be able to say something very simple: the current release of UpdraftPlus is fully compatible with it, and so is the development version that will become our next release. This is based upon extensive testing with the first release candidate of WP 4.3 (which has presently gone through 4 betas and 1 release candidate, and so final release is expected very shortly).

You should certainly make sure that your WordPress install is backed up before you update it to WordPress 4.3, when the time comes. If you’ve not yet got yourself a copy of UpdraftPlus Premium, then take a look today!

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

As UpdraftPlus keeps growing, and as we anticipate even faster growth after the launch of UpdraftPlus Vault, we’ve been working on a server upgrade. In case you noticed 5 minutes of down-time earlier today – that was it!

So far, our servers have been supporting half a million active UpdraftPlus sites and their users for documentation, purchases, account management and plugin updates checking. These upgrades will hopefully help us be ready for the next half million more.

When updraftplus.com began back in February 2013, it was at first on shared hosting – we grew out of that quickly. Since then, we’ve been managing our own servers with Digital Ocean, and have been very pleased. If you’d be meaning to check Digital Ocean out, then you can share the love by using our referral link – it’ll give you a free $10 in credit when you sign up for a Digital Ocean account.

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

In case you’ve not spotted it, WordPress 4.2.3, has been released – and it contains two important security fixes, stopping privileged but non-admin users from upgrading to admin level without permission, and stopping any logged-in user from creating draft posts. And there is the usual collection of bug-fixes; full info here.

For most users, WordPress should automatically update itself within a few hours; but, you may want to check just to be sure, especially if you have non-admin users. UpdraftPlus.Com has been running WordPress 4.2.3 since about an hour after its release, and all has been going well since then!

David (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

As of today, WordPress.Org is now reporting 500,000+ active installs for UpdraftPlus (up from 400,000+; WordPress.Org only reports installs to 1 significant figure).

That places UpdraftPlus in an elite group of only 28 WordPress plugins. We’ve added the extra 100,000 net sites in slightly over 4 months. i.e. Currently, an average of approximately 1,000 more WordPress sites have UpdraftPlus installed and active at the end of each passing day… and hence we are also the fastest growing WordPress backup plugin (no other backup plugin has matched this rate).

We’re not planning to sit around congratulating ourselves about this – we have a list of things we’d like to do longer than our arms. Half a million is great…. but why not a full million? 14 other plugins have so far achieved that, so let’s make UpdraftPlus the first backup plugin to join them! Next up as we attempt to extend our lead is UpdraftPlus Vault, about which we’re very excited – planned to land at the start of August.

If you want to join in celebrating with us, then we’ve currently got a sale on – use the code prem25 at the check-out off any purchase of our flagship product, UpdraftPlus Premium (which has all our features, and 12 months personal support). But hurry – the coupon won’t be there long!

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

UpdraftPlus Vault is getting very near now. We’re hoping for the first week of July, all being well. Not yet heard about UpdraftPlus Vault? Follow this link for our initial blog post.

Compared to other features, this new feature has involved a lot of working outside of the plugin itself. We need an infrastructure to handle recurring payments, and gracefully happen what happens when someone misses a payment, or fills their quota, etc. – plus a dashboard at updraftplus.com to allow people to download or delete their backups. (If your WordPress site gets hacked or taken off-line by your hosting company, then obviously the fact that you can download and delete from your UpdraftPlus settings page in WordPress won’t help you).

Below is a screenshot of the present, fully function state of the Vault dashboard in someone’s account at updraftplus.com. It shows you:

  • Your purchased quota (note that in the screenshot, it’s a low 40Mb because we’re testing the quota handling, and didn’t want to have to upload gigabytes of data before we could do that! We’re still currently planning that UpdraftPlus Premium customers will get 1Gb of allowance for free – and any and every type of user will be able to purchase quota (i.e. users of our free version can take part too)).
  • A list of sites that are connected to your Vault – plus the ability to remove them from the centralised dashboard. (So, sites that you no longer control / can’t log in to can’t carry on uploading to your Vault forever!).
  • A browser of your backup archives, sorted by site (in the example below, we’ve gone into the subfolder for the one connected site, to see its backups).
  • We’ve not yet got it showing what your current quota usage is. That’s next.

Here’s the screenshot:

 UpdraftPlus Vault dashboard

We know that a lot of you are really looking forward to this feature. We’re in the finishing strait now – all the major code is complete, and we’re just on testing and minor tweaks (for example, adding the showing of the quota usage in the dashboard panel above). Watch this space!

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

Following a support conversation with a customer on a slightly different issue, we realised that there was potential for a signification optimisation in UpdraftPlus’s zip creation engine, when the default engine is being used.

We’ve now implemented and tested it, and the results are really impressive. Using a 180Mb media library that we had to hand for testing, we found that we could reduce the amount of time spent in zip processing by around 50%.

This kind of optimisation brings wins all around. Less CPU is used, more can be done in less time (and so less resumptions are needed on hosting setups where a process gets killed after a defined number of seconds), backups finish quicker, more can be squeezed out of bargain-basement hosting, etc.; everyone’s happy.

This change is in our development trunk, has been tested, and next time there’s a release (hopefully later this month) – if your server supported the default zip engine (most do), then expect quicker and less resource-intensive backups. And if your site is a really large one, with a big media library, then the bigger it is, the more you’ll be gaining from this improvement!

Oh, and – this is one more pay-off from our policy of having our support desk manned by software engineers. People trained and capable for doing support only can keep costs down and maximise today’s profits; but engineers can spot patterns, understand deeper issues, and work out how to turn a simple support question into a gain for everyone. We’ve followed this policy since day one (when it was just me, before we had others), and have no plans to stop.

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

What’s been going on inside UpdraftPlus labs lately?

This has…

  UpdraftPlus Vault

That’s a screenshot of the (extremely simple) setup for connecting your WordPress site to our new product: backup storage for your site.

Also known as “UpdraftPlus Vault”, we’re going to be making it really easy to backup your WordPress site, without needing any other suppliers, or technical skills to set up. Just click and go!

UpdraftPlus will, of course, still be supporting all the existing storage options – Dropbox, Google Drive, S3, FTP, OneDrive, etc. But now we’ll be bringing a new choice to you as well; one that we think you’ll find attractive. Our current plan is that customers of UpdraftPlus Premium will receive 1 gigabyte of storage (i.e. 1024Mb) for free, with an option to purchase more.

Built upon a world-leading cloud providing 99.999999999% reliability and multiple redundancy (using Amazon’s world-class computing farms on the back-end), there won’t be any compromise on quality. What there will be, will be ease of use. Just type in your updraftplus.com password to make the connection, and that’s it. No fiddly keys, no accounting hassles – just easy backups. Moreover, it’ll be storage you can access from updraftplus.com – one central location, including the ability to disconnect any sites you no longer want backing up to your space (e.g. a site belonging to an ex-client for which you handled managed backups).

We’re still finishing the work, working out the exact details of pricing, and testing everything out, but we hope to see this in the next release of UpdraftPlus. Watch this space!

If you not yet purchased our flagship product, UpdraftPlus Premium, then please take a look. When we decide on the free storage allowance, it’ll be received by all current customers – so don’t hold off; get the best WP backup experience today!

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

UpdraftPlus 1.10.3 (free) / 2.10.3 (paid) is in process of being released.

The biggest new feature, for UpdraftPlus Premium users, is the ability to directly send a backup set to a remote site (mentioned here and here). With a few clicks, for example, you can send a copy of the theme on your staging site over to your live site, ready to deploy. This is much more efficient than downloading a backup archive on one site and then uploading it on the other (and more efficient than the other alternative, of configuring both sites to use the same remote storage location, e.g. same Dropbox).

Beyond that, there is the usual collection of tweaks to improve efficiency, usability, to fix bugs, and to work-around corner-cases of weird webserver setups to make sure UD works everywhere it possibly can. Thanks also again to the translators who continue to make UpdraftPlus available in so many languages (13 have >90% available; a further 8 have at least two-thirds. There’s plenty room for more, if you’re interesting in helping!).

As ever, we recommend updating once you see the update available in your WP dashboard – it’s our best UpdraftPlus yet! A full list of changes follows:

  • Feature: Migration component can now send backup data directly from one WP site to another – https://updraftplus.com/shop/updraftplus-premium/
  • Feature: Support active mode FTP servers (extremely rare)
  • Fix: The error message when choosing no components to restore was empty
  • Fix: Restore ability to run on WordPress 3.5 (actually fixed in downloads of 1.10.1 after 2015-05-13)
  • Fix: Some automatic pre-upgrade backups were not marked internally as such, leading UD to delete the oldest scheduled backup prematurely backups prematurely
  • Tweak: Reduce HTTP round-trips when checking presence + downloading backup archives in a restore/migrate operation
  • Tweak: Alert the user earlier if they’re trying to use a database with a character set not supported by MySQL
  • Tweak: Use separate internal jobs for separate downloads, and thus avoid race conditions when updating job data (symptom: download widgets that don’t show current information)
  • Tweak: Add constant UPDRAFTPLUS_SFTP_TIMEOUT allowing users to over-ride (via wp-config.php) the default SFTP timeout (default now: 15 seconds).
  • Tweak: Make Copy.Com filter out non-backups from remote file listings at an earlier stage
  • Tweak: Log more information when a curl error occurs when getting a OneDrive access token
  • Tweak: Code re-arrangement in OneDrive library to deal with sites using the obsolete PHP safe_mode
  • Tweak: Clearer message for users whose access to paid plugin updates has expired (paid versions)
  • Tweak: Improve detection of started pre-upgrade automatic backups in case of webserver misbehaviour
  • Tweak: Fix untranslated message when confirming the wiping of settings
  • Tweak: Replace more non-SSL links to updraftplus.com with SSL links
  • Tweak: Use a POST instead of a GET during one of the restore sub-stages (avoids a false positive on some mod_security setups)
  • Tweak: Improve backup-file-naming routine to reduce the times when no ASCII name can be found (ASCII is preferred as not all cloud storage methods will accept arbitrary characters in filenames)
  • Tweak: Don’t keep a log file (unless debug mode is on) for scheduled tasks that result in the result that nothing needs backing up
  • Tweak: Remove cache files from Cherry Framework child themes upon migration (framework misbehaves if cache files are present after URL change)

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

 

Concerning the “send data from site to site directly” feature, mentioned last week

We decided to make sure that this was in our next UpdraftPlus release. This has caused the next release to be pushed into next week, as we didn’t complete testing in the first half of this week. The feature is now ready and has passed testing. We think this feature will be very popular. Here’s another screenshot of it in action:

Sending a backup

Sending a backup to the destination site requires only that the sending site can reach the destination site (i.e. that it’s not firewalled from visiting the site). As long as that’s possible, and the destination site has UpdraftPlus installed, then it’s just a matter of copy-and-pasting a key in, and that’s all the setup required.

The ability to communicate with a remote site needs to be well protected, so that attackers on the Internet can’t send remote commands to your site. The communications protocol is designed according to best practices, and includes these features:

  • All communications are encrypted.
  • Encryption is industry-standard RSA encryption.
  • Built on top of the most widely used PHP encryption library, phpseclib (in active development for over 6 years). There’s no home-brew encryption here!
  • Encryption uses asymmetric keys, and each site only stores one of the keys. (So, if your WordPress database is broken into and an attacker takes it over, then the hacker can’t impersonate the other site).
  • Protection against replay attacks. (In a replay attack, and attacker who can watch the network communications grabs encrypted traffic, and if he can work out what a message did, later re-sends it to do the same again. This is an attack that someone can use on a protocol without replay protections, without needing to decrypt the messages).

That’s all “under the hood” – as I say, to set up a connection, all you need to do is visit one site’s UpdraftPlus settings, copy the key shown to your clipboard, and then paste it on the other site. Copy, paste, send!

David Anderson (lead developer, founder, UpdraftPlus)

 

 

 

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UpdraftPlus is a trade mark of Simba Hosting Limited, UK registered company number: 8570611, VAT number: 202 1260 80

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