When, in 2010, the original Updraft plugin introduced the ability to restore backups of your files from inside WordPress, this was state of the art. Until this point, restoring a backup meant following a manual guide, fiddling with backup archives by hand and, for most WordPress developers, going far outside of their comfort zones. In 2013, UpdraftPlus took this further by adding the ability to restore your WordPress database – from inside a running WordPress install. With its ability to automatically take care of things like different table prefixes and different/non-default directory layouts, it went into territory that very many WordPress backup plugins still haven’t reached today.
In 2015, UpdraftPlus introduced detection of interrupted restores, and the ability to resume them. There have been various improvements since then (such as taking and restoring incremental backups, and restoring via WP-CLI, and restoring only one site within a multisite install), but we think there are more levels of beauty, convenience, and reliability to reach. As was the case in 2015 and discussed in the above-linked blog post, web hosting companies continue to aggressively squeeze down the amount of resources they provide. At the same time, they continue to aggressively market “unlimited” deals at bargain-basement prices, with many customers not realising that the unlimited storage is normally coupled with quite severe limits on data transfer on and off the disk. That can easily become a recipe for pain: many megabytes or gigabytes of data, but only the ability to shift it on or off the disk in relatively small amounts per second. If the pain bites, they can upsell you a plan with more resources.
In 2019 one of our aims with UpdraftPlus is to “Make Restoration Greater Again”, by taking on this challenge and taking what’s possible up another level. Our end goal is an experience which is seamless and beautiful and reliable on even the worst of resource-starved hosts combined with absurdly massive sites that really should be hosted elsewhere. UpdraftPlus backups are in standard formats (zip and SQL), not something proprietary, that means your data is safe; however bad things may get, you can always restore it manually. However, we want to move things to another level. Just as UpdraftPlus has a deserved reputation for being able to get through and produce the backup, no matter how large the site, where other backup plugins fail, we want to do the same with restores – seamlessly and beautifully.
As part of this aim, our next release of UpdraftPlus includes improvements to the above-mentioned resumption of partial restores. Before, if your backup was made up of multiple zip archives (i.e. was large and needing splitting), UpdraftPlus could pick up at the beginning of the zip file it got up to. Now, it can resume from within a zip file. If the resources on the web hosting were so bad that the zip file couldn’t be unzipped, UpdraftPlus can now do the unzipping in batches, even whilst repeatedly being interrupted and killed as it does so. This should now mean that, no matter how large the backup archive set you are unzipping, it can always reach the end eventually. For now, this is still a partly manual process that involves hitting the “Continue” button. But this is only the first visible step (there were lots of invisible ones in 2018 as the factoring of the code was improved to make this change possible). Fully automated detection without user intervention is the eventual goal. Stay with us as we “Make Restoration Greater Again” in 2019!
David Anderson, lead developer