UpdraftPlus 1.9.26 is being released today.

The reason for this release is because a very small number of users have not been successful in connecting to Amazon S3, due to SSL certificate validation failures.

We were able to investigate the cause of these failures, and found that:

  • Some Amazon S3 servers’ SSL certificates are signed by a 1024-bit key. These keys are now considered weak by cryptographic experts.
  • Consequently, Mozilla Firefox (the browser) has begun the processing of dropping support for SSL connections secured by 1024-bit keys (see: https://blog.mozilla.org/security/2014/09/08/phasing-out-certificates-with-1024-bit-rsa-keys/#comments). (They are not alone – browser vendors generally are in process of doing this).
  • This affected UpdraftPlus, because UpdraftPlus uses Firefox’s set of root SSL certificates in order to validate its SSL connections.

UpdraftPlus 1.9.26 re-adds support for these Amazon S3 SSL certificates (via re-adding the root certificates which Firefox have dropped). If you had this problem, then you can visit the “Updates” page in your WordPress dashboard, and update to UpdraftPlus 1.9.26.

Ideally, if you had this problem, you should contact Amazon S3 and ask them to update their servers. 1024-bits is not considered sufficient for security on the 2014 Internet. But, since for the affected users the choice was this or no encryption at all, for now, we’ll have to wait longer until these certificates can be dropped.

David Anderson (lead developer, founder, UpdraftPlus).

We are seeing a small number of users who are receiving errors when backing up to Amazon S3, that a SSL certificate presented by Amazon S3 could not be validated.

This issue is not unique to UpdraftPlus – we have found other reports from users of other tools that use S3. The problem appears to be new in the last week.

It is only affecting a tiny number of users, so we suspect one of these two things:

  • Amazon have a rogue server somewhere on their S3 network that does not have a proper SSL certificate
  • A web hosting company is using a proxy server that intercepts SSL traffic.

SSL is intended to ensure not only encryption (your data cannot be read in transit), but verification (your data really is being sent to the person you think it is).

If this is happening to you, then you could turn off SSL (no encryption at all), or (slightly better) turn of the verification of SSL certificates, in the “expert settings” section at the bottom of the UpdraftPlus “Settings” tab.

This it not optimum, however. It would be best if the root of the problem could be discovered.

Update: The problem has now been uncovered. Please go here for the outcome.

Yesterday’s release of UpdraftPlus 1.9.25 triggered a new record for downloads of UpdraftPlus (free) in a single day – 11 thousand! Or to be precise, 11,262.

UpdraftPlus continues to grow and grow – and grow! Over 10k downloads in a single day is a pretty elite group: using plugintable.com‘s chart of all-time downloads and then referencing the current figures for different plugins suggests that it means UpdraftPlus is in the top 30 of most-installed WordPress plugins on current sites.

11k downloads in a day is fully half as many as WooCommerce make when they make a new release (on the most recent spike on that chart, where they get 27k, that’s due to three releases of updated bugfix versions in a single day – the 19k and 22k spikes are where there’s just a single release). WooCommerce powers around 11% of all eCommerce on the web. Thinking about this makes us feel a bit dizzy.

The boss of all free WordPress plugins is “Contact Form 7″, which gets over 60k downloads a day when they make a new release. (The official number one, Akismet isn’t really comparable, as it is bundled with WordPress). We’ve used CF7 a lot of times – but nowadays, if you’re in the market for a contact form plugin, then personally we think that a general form-building plugin can be a better bet (more flexibility and extendability, and avoids having two separate solutions if you need a form-building plugin somewhere else on the site). Visual Form Builder is one we’ve got comfortable with and been happy with the Pro support for, though a lot of people consider Gravity Forms to be the ultimate (we’ve not tried it, or its competitors).

This isn’t a victory lap before we go off to rest. In terms of active users, UpdraftPlus may be the boss of WordPress backup plugins now… but we’ve only just begun. Back to work!

Have you checked out UpdraftPlus Premium yet? It’s what makes it all possible, and where the ultimate WordPress backup, restore and migrate/clone experience is.

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus).

UpdraftPlus 1.9.25 has been released, and should appear in your WordPress dashboard sometime in the next 48 hours.

The biggest new feature is support for copy.com as a storage backend, in UpdraftPlus Premium. Copy.com give 15Gb of free storage, and the documentation and our experience whilst developing were confidence-inspiring – definitely worth checking out.

A new Portuguese (Portgual) translation has been added, courtesy of Pedro Mendonça; and the translations for Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Russian, Czech, Greek, and Portuguese (Brazilian) have been updated (many thanks to the respective translators).

Other than this, there are a number of small tweaks for better performance, ease of use, and small bug fixes (e.g. more flexibility in the expert “search/replace” tool, less HTTP calls to the backend when using the dashboard page, more options for specifying items to exclude from backups, more information if you are trying to restore on a server that has a much older PHP version than the source site had; etc.). A full changelog is here (it may take a few hours from now to update).

In our next release after this one, we intend to add a huge new feature to UpdraftPlus Premium – incremental backups. This will be UpdraftPlus 2.0 – but we follow the WordPress convention of “add on 0.1″, so 2.0 is just the number between 1.9 and 2.1. But it’s one we’ve been looking forward to for a while. UpdraftPlus is now 41st in the all-time list of most downloaded WordPress plugins, and this should take us to the next level! We have working and tested code for incremental backups now; what we’re finishing off is support for incremental restoration, and the user interface. But until then, enjoy 1.9.25 – it’s our best UpdraftPlus yes.

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

Back at the start of 2014, Bitcasa cloud storage support was a popular request from our users, and we added support for its platform.

The ride since then has been rather bumpy. Obviously, Bitcasa are growing fast, and they keep seeking to launch improved services. The problem has been continuity, and clear communications with their users.

Currently, it looks like it is not possible to create a new Bitcasa application for your personal Bitcasa drive – which means that you cannot link UpdraftPlus to it. This change has not been announced anywhere; the buttons have just disappeared. Bitcasa are currently giving a lot of attention to their new “CloudFS” product; but developer support for this is labelled by them as “beta” (and a toolkit that PHP programmes can use, like WordPress or WordPress plugins, is currently non-existent).

This is not very satisfactory, as it is not clear to us whether Bitcasa are intending to phase out their “Personal” product and “CloudFS” is going to take over, or if it’s just one more glitch / badly communicated mistake (there have been a few). When they did release a developer kit for their “Personal” product, it had no support from them afterwards – it is still available in the same form which it was released in, and bug reports are ignored. Will CloudFS be different? At UpdraftPlus, we intend to wait for a while to see before we invest time in supporting it.

For these reasons, if you are currently looking for a cloud storage provider, we recommend not using Bitcasa, and definitely not relying upon future support for Bitcasa in UpdraftPlus.  We hope they will make things clearer and fill in their gaps soon – they look like they could really go places if they can sort some of these growing issues out.

David Anderson (lead developer, founder, UpdraftPlus)

The most popular e-commerce solution for WordPress – and one of the most popular e-commerce solutions on the entire Internet – is WooCommerce. We use it on updraftplus.com – and our sister company produces some WooCommerce add-ons.

WooCommerce are getting ready to release their next major version, version 2.2. It is intended to be out in the next day or so. Coming only a few months after their last major version, the pace of development means that improvements are coming thick and fast. This has its benefits, but may not be to everyone’s taste – nobody likes to have to do a major upgrade of their store too often.

Woo don’t appear to have officially announced the arrival of this release on their blog yet – but their mailshot has already been archived by Google, here. You can read that to get an idea of what’s coming (this mailshot is orientated largely towards developers and site builders – which is probably you, is it not?).

Included in there is this excellent advice:

Once available, be sure to upgrade a test copy of your website (on a staging server, preferably) before upgrading your website. Also, remember to upgrade your extensions before upgrading WooCommerce core itself! We’ve found this to be the smoothest upgrade routine.

It’s always a good idea to have a development copy of your site (and if you’re really serious, a staging copy too: “development” is where you work on the site and might just be your laptop, but “staging” is an environment that reproduces the live site, so that you can test everything, including the upgrade process. That way, you can make sure that there isn’t some subtle difference in your live webserver compared to your development setup that is going to break everything). And if you’re running a shop, then it moves from “good idea” to somewhere near “you’d be a bit mad not to”.

With this excellent advice, though, Woo don’t mention how to carry it out. How do you clone your site? Well, you, dear UpdraftPlus user, of course know how very well. Now, don’t forget! WooCommerce 2.1 broke several things on many peoples’ sites, when it was tested – extra work was needed on many sites to make sure the upgrade of the live site went smoothly (we needed some here).

Sometimes we get asked, “is UpdraftPlus compatible with WooCommerce?” It certainly is. WooCommerce uses WordPress in standard, well-behaved ways. All of its data is stored using official WordPress methods. Therefore, UpdraftPlus can handle copying WooCommerce websites with no extra steps or special magic needed.

Just one other thing: don’t upgrade WooCommerce before you know all your WooCommerce extensions (i.e. extra plugins) are compatible with the new version. Above, we quoted Woo as saying “Also, remember to upgrade your extensions before upgrading WooCommerce core itself! We’ve found this to be the smoothest upgrade routine”. If there’s no upgrade available for any particular extension, then you should check at the author’s website. New major versions of WooCommerce, unlike WordPress, tend to introduce incompatible changes. We don’t like that much either, but it’s the way it is. So, don’t get caught out!

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

The most frequently requested cloud storage provider that UpdraftPlus doesn’t yet have is copy.com. We expect that the 15Gb of free storage has something to do with it. :-)

We hear you! All being well, support for copy.com will be in the next release of UpdraftPlus Premium. Watch this space for further announcements!

Copy.Com support

David Anderson (lead developer, founder, UpdraftPlus).

WPMU have published a guide on how to backup to Google Drive, as their “weekend WordPress project”. You can see it here.

Alternatively, our own guide is here: http://updraftplus.com/support/configuring-google-drive-api-access-in-updraftplus/

Setting up Google Drive is not the easiest (Dropbox is) – Google’s setup gives you with a few hoops to jump through. But, as the WPMU guys say, it’s not hard either. And on the other hand, they do give you 15Gb for free. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, it starts to make sense.

If you get stuck, then there’s a “Google Drive” section in the FAQs (and our setup guide mentions the most common mistakes at the relevant points too) – so do double-check; Google Drive is very popular, so the chances of you coming across something that’s not been come across many times before and documented in there is very low.

David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)

At UpdraftPlus, we really like Dropbox. Easy to use, a couple of gigabytes of free storage, easy sharing, reliable, and good documentation for us developers. UpdraftPlus supports more cloud storage options than any other backup plugin – but when someone says “do you recommend one in particular?”, and specifies no other specifics, we say “Dropbox”.

We know a lot of you feel the same. If you need more space in than Dropbox’s free tier, then you may find the following news very interesting. Dropbox have made a big drop of their prices, and you can now get 1 terabyte (i.e. 1024 gigabytes) of storage for only $9.99 a month – or $99 a year if paying up front. They’ve added a few other useful features too. Read more about it here.

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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