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)

 

 

 

When cloning a website, you have to get the backup set that is created on the source website into UpdraftPlus on the destination website.

There are currently a few options you can choose from to do this…

  • Use the same remote storage (e.g. same Dropbox) for both, and press the “Rescan remote storage” link on the destination website.
  • Set the remote storage for the source website to use the FTP details for the destination website’s UpdraftPlus directory. After backing up, press the “Rescan local storage” link on the destination website.
  • Just download the backup by hand on the source site, and upload into UpdraftPlus on the destination website.

We think (and some of you think) that this still leaves room for something more convenient. Wouldn’t it be handy if you could just press a button and send a backup, once, directly to the destination site?

Even better would be if UpdraftPlus could remember several remote destinations (each set up only once), and you could choose to send to whichever you wanted (e.g. development site, staging site, live site)?

And how about if the setup only involved copy and pasting one key, and all communications were encrypted with industry standard encryption, and required nothing special to be set up on either end apart from UpdraftPlus?

You’ve guessed it – we’ve been working on it!

It’s not finished yet, and we’re not yet sure if it’ll be finished for the next release (which should be next week); but if not then it’ll be close. (For those who don’t know – we aim to release every 3-4 weeks). Here’s a screenshot of the new window that’ll open when you press the “Clone/Migrate” window, when this feature is done. We’ve worked hard to try to keep up UpdraftPlus’s reputation for making complicated things simple, and this is what we’ve come up with:

Direct site-to-site transfers

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

Just a quick note…

Our Google Drive setup guide used to have a note saying that Google did not allow WordPress installs hosted on ‘localhost’ (i.e. a development machine not reachable from the public Internet) to access Google Drive.

This restriction was arbitrary, and we never knew why they had it. It appears that they no longer do. We didn’t spot notice of this anywhere, but Google no longer sends back an error if you try – it works.

You don’t need to update UpdraftPlus to be able to do this – the restriction was always at Google’s end. You can just use it!

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

UpdraftPlus 1.10.1 (free version) / 2.10.1 (Premium version) is in the process of being released.

The biggest new feature is in UpdraftPlus Premium, and is support for Microsoft OneDrive. Microsoft’s Dropbox/Google Drive/etc. competitor gives you 15Gb of free storage (or more for completing some simple steps), and is backed by the strength of one of the world’s largest companies. UpdraftPlus now includes full OneDrive support.

It’s also now possible to totally exclude the backup of a particular table, if you wish to.

Beyond that, there are a number of small tweaks and fixes, to make sure your backups keep running smoothly and quickly. The fuller changelog will appear at this link.

As ever, we recommend everybody updates – this is our best UpdraftPlus yet!

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

 

Microsoft OneDrive

It’s coming – support for Microsoft’s Dropbox/Google Drive/etc. competitor (with 15Gb of free storage, or a bit more for completing some simple steps) is coming to UpdraftPlus.

There’s currently an FAQ that says that we can’t support Microsoft OneDrive, because they forbid backup utilities by policy.

This information is out of date – Microsoft have removed this policy and been encouraging use of OneDrive for all sorts of storage needs.

We currently have a working Microsoft OneDrive storage module for UpdraftPlus. We need to complete the documentation, and change how one of its capabilities works… but all being well, this will be in the next release of UpdraftPlus Premium. We know that some of you have been waiting for this for a long time – it’s nearly here!

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

UpdraftPlus version 1.9.4, release almost exactly a year ago (23rd April 2014), introduced an all-new back-end for Google Drive.

One of the reasons we did this, was because Google had previously announced that in April 2015, they would be shutting down one of their interfaces for programs to use Google Drive.

Google have now done what they said they would. Their old way of accessing Google Drive has now been permanently removed. If you are still using a version of UpdraftPlus from before 1.9.4 to use Google Drive, then you must update to be able to carry on doing so.

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, 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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