In WordPress 3.7, WordPress introduced a handy new feature – automatic background updates.

These are currently only active for minor WordPress releases – i.e. bug-fix and security updates, like yesterday’s WordPress 4.0.1. But, if you like them, then you can configure them to automatically update every component on your site.

It’s a useful feature – you can know that when there’s a new security release for WordPress, then you should be up-to-date within 12 hours, without doing anything.

One problem, though, has been that a lot of people like to back up their WordPress install before updating – and indeed, the official WordPress documentation recommends that you do. How can you do this, though, if WordPress updates itself without asking you? Conversely, if you turn off WordPress’s automatic updates, then you’re in danger from unfixed security issues in the meantime whilst you learn about them and go to manually update.

With the next release of UpdraftPlus, this is a solved problem. UpdraftPlus already had an “automatic backup” feature which could take a backup before you updated your plugins, themes or WordPress core in your WordPress dashboard. In a major update of this feature, it can now do the same for WordPress background updates. Before WordPress updates itself, UpdraftPlus will back it up for you. And if you’ve enabled WordPress’s automatic updates for plugins and themes too, then it’ll cover those also.

UpdraftPlus is the only WordPress backup plugin with this feature. If you’re not yet a Premium customer, then please take a look at our flagship offering, today!

David Anderson (lead developer, founder, UpdraftPlus)

WordPress 4.0.1 – a security and bug fix release – is now available. Everyone should update immediately; some of the security holes are rated as critical, and allow site compromise.

Don’t forget to take a backup first! Since this is just a point release, the changes are only fixes: there are no major changes that should carry any risk of incompatibility. The current releases of UpdraftPlus are fully compatible with this release; you do not need to update UpdraftPlus either before or after upgrading.

If you’re on an earlier WordPress release from 3.7 upwards, then corresponding points releases are also available (3.7.5, 3.8.5, 3.9.3). Most peoples’ sites should update automatically if they are on 3.7 or later – and you should get an email about the success or failure of that. That update, however, could take up to 12 hours before it happens; which, on the modern Internet, you can’t be sure is enough. (With a recent critical security vulnerability in Drupal, an alternative popular PHP-based CMS, the first exploits were happening within 7 hours). You can always make the update happen now by visiting your WordPress dashboard.

Full details here: https://wordpress.org/news/2014/11/wordpress-4-0-1/. I am the David Anderson credited for discovering one, very uncommon, security hole that will only affect a tiny number of people. The other issues discovered and fixed are rather meatier! We discovered this particular issue in the WordPress core code whilst researching why someone was having trouble logging into UpdraftPlus.Com.

That’s all there is to say about WordPress 4.0.1 – happy upgrading!

David Anderson (lead developer, founder, UpdraftPlus)

UpdraftPlus has been very popular with website builders and developers – many of whom continue to provide service to their customers, by managing their backups for them.

Sometimes, you want the website owner to have admin access to the WordPress dashboard – but not to the UpdraftPlus settings. You don’t want them to be able to mess with backups, or backup settings.

WordPress has ways, and plugins, for very fine-grained control of users’ capabilities. These, though, can be time-consuming and fiddly to set up – you get to know quite a bit about WordPress’s innards. Some users just want a simple facility to lock UpdraftPlus and move on to other work. And here it is…

Locking the UpdraftPlus settings page

It’s a simple password for your UpdraftPlus settings. Nothing else is touched or changed. You can set a password – and then not worry any more about the client fiddling with the backups. The settings to create it are found in the “Debugging / Expert Tools” tab:

Debugging / expert tab

(scroll down the page a bit…)

Lock settings

Of course, a WordPress administrator, by default, has power to do anything. So, this is not Fort Knox – it’s not intended to secure against someone technically skilled; someone who could, for example, install another plugin, edit the WordPress database, etcetera. It’s meant to be a simple and convenient feature to secure your UpdraftPlus settings and backups against mishaps.

This feature will be part of the next release of UpdraftPlus Premium, and hence will be inherited by all current customers when they next update.

David Anderson (founder, leader developer, UpdraftPlus)

The following applies to paid versions of UpdraftPlus only…

In the next release of UpdraftPlus there will be no separate page for connecting to your UpdraftPlus.Com account. Currently, this is found in Settings -> UpdraftPlus Addons.

That page will cease to exist.

Instead, it will be a separate tab on the Settings -> UpdraftPlus Backups page (i.e. the only page there’ll be for UpdraftPlus). This is a natural evolution since we added tabs to organise that page, a couple of releases ago.

The tab will appear on the far-right, as in the following screenshot. So, don’t get confused!

Addons - moving to a tab

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

The next version of UpdraftPlus has one small tweak that some of you will find quite useful – the full log file display panel now updates in real-time.

i.e. As your backup progresses, the new lines to the log file will appear without you needing to do anything. If you’re someone who likes to read the full log file for their backup in the dashboard, then now there’s no need to keep hitting reload!

David Anderson (founder, leader developer, UpdraftPlus)

 

If you use Bitcasa for cloud backups, then note that you must, within the next 2 weeks or so, login to Bitcasa and press some buttons – otherwise they will delete all your existing stored data (not just UpdraftPlus backups, but anything else you had there).

To get the full information, read the following FAQ on Bitcasa’s site: https://support.bitcasa.com/hc/en-us/articles/203936983

Note… for any support related to this issue, you’ll need to talk to Bitcasa – we’re just passing this on as a “community service announcement”. As previously noted, it won’t be possible to send any new backups to Bitcasa at all after 15th November 2014 – so you’ll want to reconfigure your sites to use a different cloud storage provider by then. But even if you’ve done that, you’ll still want to act now to preserve your existing backup sets.

Sadly, Bitcasa have been a major disappointment to us and others, with their ever-changing setups, and very short notice periods, or no notice at all for some things. This kind of FAQ makes us shake our head in wonder again at what they’re thinking:

Why is there such a tight deadline? Why not more time? We feel like we are giving users a fair amount of time. Our priority is to get people on to the new system as soon as possible so they can start benefiting from the new performance and security enhancements that it offers. We are communicating heavily with our users, sending information and reminders to ensure they don’t forget to make the switch before the deadline.

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

UpdraftPlus 1.9.31 is now available as an update for paying users. The main reason for this unscheduled release was to prevent the display of notices from PHP when performing a site migration. (The notices didn’t affect the success of a migration, but might make you think there was a problem).We’ve also taken the opportunity to add in 3 other small tweaks – support for Amazon’s newly announced Frankfurt region for their S3 storage cloud, a warning message for Bitcasa users (Bitcasa are closing down API access to their consumer product shortly, so you will need to find another storage provider), and a work-around for a bug in a very ancient version of PHP (5.2.6, from May 2008 – which WordPress still supports, and hence so does UpdraftPlus).

David Anderson (lead developer, founder, UpdraftPlus)

UpdraftPlus 1.9.30 is in process of being unleashed upon the world.

This release contains…

  • a new feature for Premium users to label their backups (see: http://updraftplus.com/labels-backups/)
  • a lot of small tweaks for usability
  • a handful of small bug fixes
  • a new Farsi (Persian, fa_IR) translation – thanks to Jamshidpour, Ashkan Ghadimi, Mohammad (2online4.ir) and Nasiri Amirreza
  • a new, prettier log file viewer
  • the capability (Premium users) to restore database backups created by the BackupWordPress plugin (other backups from that plugin were already handled, so now UpdraftPlus can handle them all)

So, there’s nothing earth-shattering in there; but another month’s worth of incremental improvements that, we believe, make this our best UpdraftPlus yet. We recommend updating to everyone. The update should begin to appear in your WordPress dashboard in the next 48 hours. (As ever, premium users should only update their plugins whilst they are active).

Not yet upgraded to UpdraftPlus Premium, our flagship product? Please do take a look – it’s the best version of WordPress’s most popular backup plugin (and we have the stats to prove it, which we’ll get round to blogging on soon, all being well!).

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

One occasionally requested feature has been the capability to enter your own label for a manual backup, before creating it. Not everyone can remember the time when they took a backup. Adding your own text would allow you to remember more easily.

We’ve added this feature to our development version of UpdraftPlus. It will be available to all UpdraftPlus Premium users in the next release. Here are a couple of screenshots:

1. Adding a label for your backup:

Setting a label for your backup

 

2. Seeing your backup labels in the list of available backups:

Viewing your backups with their labels

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

 

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UpdraftPlus is a trade mark of Simba Hosting Limited (www.simbahosting.co.uk), UK registered company number: 8570611

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