UpdraftPlus are thrilled to announce that as part of one of the biggest and most important updates in our history, UpdraftPlus Premium users will now have access to the amazing new UpdraftPlus Incremental Backups feature!
What is Incremental Backups and how does it work?
When backing up your WordPress site content such as images, media, video, plugins, themes, etc. using UpdraftPlus or another backup plugin, you usually have to create a whole new backup file of the entire site – every time! But thanks to UpdraftPlus, this is no longer necessary.
To give the user as much control as possible, you now have the ability to arrange your incremental file backups to the hourly schedule of your choice. Once UpdraftPlus has taken the initial full backup, it will subsequently only backup any new changes that have occurred between the period of hours you have selected. The changes could range from something as small as a new image you added, to something as big as an entire website and theme overhaul.
This is a massive new development from UpdraftPlus that will help to reduce the excessive resources used to perform a full site backup, which will also help users who have low resource servers.
How are UpdraftPlus Incremental Backups different?
Unlike other vendors’ (e.g. BackupBuddy) incremental backups (which use proprietary software and locks you into its service), we have made a point of keeping UpdraftPlus Incremental Backups as regular ZIP files, giving you full control over your backups and website.
By performing incremental backups over the next month following your preferred hourly schedule, UpdraftPlus can offer a cheaper and faster service that only includes the changes made since the original or last incremental backup. To ensure your files are properly backed-up and up to date, UpdraftPlus will run and produce a brand-new full backup of your site at the start of every month. UpdraftPlus will then continue to perform the regular incremental backups as requested.
Yet another amazing benefit of Incremental Backups is the ability to check when your last incremental backup was taken by just checking the existing backups list.
Finally, if you should ever need to restore from an incremental backup due to an issue with your site, you will have the freedom to restore up to a certain point (useful if a recent update was the cause of your problems) or even restore the entire site!
Incremental Backups is available with UpdraftPlus Premium – if you need the latest version you can update it here, and be sure leave your comments and feedback below.
More information on the feature is available on the main documentation page, here.
A handy in-depth guide on how to use Incremental Backups can also be found here
A ‘how to’ video tutorial on how to use Incremental Backups is also available below.
Hi – is this compatible with multisite?
Sounds GREAT! I’m a Premium User; can’t wait to try it!
I’m confused over how to get the new version (which sounds fantastic BTW). If i follow the links I get taken to a download for the standard package not the premium. Doesn’t it get delivered as a notified update to the WordPress Dashboard?
It’s in UpdraftPlus Premium versions 2.16.0 and onwards, released in late December. Do you have that? If not, please do open a support ticket: https://updraftplus.com/paid-support-requests/
First, congratulations on incremental backups. That explains the new files I’ve been seeing the past couple of days.
How about some actual settings advice? We have been backing up daily at 1AM, and keeping a week’s worth. We use the same schedule for the database and files.
Do I want to change that schedule away from daily, and to weekly or monthly for the full backup?
How does this affect retention? (“For backups older than N days/weeks… ” etc).
One of the things I loved about fully daily backups is that if some plugin update crashed the site, I could FTP in and grab yesterday’s plugin set, and easily find/replace the previous version.
If I have (say) a dozen incrementals, how do I go about finding that previous version? How do I know where to look?
My concern is that while asking UpdraftPlus to do a restore will certainly work just fine, I’ve only needed to do that once in several years, whereas the manual replacement of a single item is much more frequent. I don’t want to have to restore everything just to get one item.
Sounds like I’m complaining: I an NOT. I love UpdraftPlus, and consider it vital to my client’s sites.
I just don’t want to mess things up with this new feature. In short, how about an example post of suggested settings, say for a safety net of two weeks?
Thanks: you folks do great work!
How often to run your backups depends on how quickly your site changes, so, there isn’t really a “one size fits all” piece of advice.
If you download backups via FTP, then to do the same with incremental backups download all the ones with “plugins” in the name that have the same 12-character backup identifier. Then, unzip them into the same folder *in sequence* (according to the 2, 3, … in the filename). The filenames of incremental backups, exactly as with regular backups, have the time included in them, so, to work out which to get to restore up to a certain point, read it out of the filenames.
I note that there is still an option to retain the last 5 scheduled backups. What would the point of this be then? Would it not be ongoing?
The option to retain backups refers to backup sets. A new increment is added within the set. So, for example, you could retain 5 scheduled backups that are taken weekly, with daily increments; when an old set is deleted, then all its increments are as part of that.
Thank you for that feature.
So the idea is that I now make a full backup less often and run frequent incremental backups?
Does switching from every 12h to once a week sound reasonable?
Yes this sounds reasonable. You could even do incremental backups of files every hour if you like as if there are no new files to backup, then it’ll be over in a second. Some people will want to do a full backup every week or month as well.
Of course, incremental backups is just of files (e.g. images). Your database is on a different schedule to files, and you should probably backup that more frequently than files.
So I would back up the database more frequently than the “full files backup”?
If you’re using incremental backups then, yes, that would make sense. The DB usually has the content that changes fastest and is most difficult to replace anyway, so it usually makes more sense to backup the DB more regularly anyway.
I don’t find this posting very helpful in implementing the feature. Can you please provide detailed instruction on how to implement the feature? For example there is no mention of backing up the database.
Googling “updraftplus incremental backups” will take you to the main documentation page; I’ll add that to this article now: https://updraftplus.com/tell-me-more-about-incremental-backups/
You say “The incremental backup will only include the changes since the last full backup was run”
That’s not an incremental backup, that’s a differential backup. An incremental backup only includes changes since the last backup of any kind.
So for example, I could run a full backup, make 3 changes, run an incremental backup to capture 3 changes, make 4 more changes, run an incremental backup to capture 4 more changes, then run a differential backup and capture all 7 changes. Now if I make 5 more changes, run a differential backup to capture all 12 changes, then make 6 more changes, the next incremental backup will only capture 6 changes, not 11.
It’s critical to understand this in order to be able to restore correctly. If you’re taking differential backups then a restore only requires the most recent full backup followed by the most recent differential backup. If you’re taking incremental backups then a restore requires the most recent full backup followed by all the incremental backups in the order that they were processed.
Furthermore, if you’re taking a mixture of incremental and differential backups, you have to take the incremental backup first and then you must take the differential backup before any more changes are made. So in a live system that remains online and accessible, it’s not feasible and you need to choose one approach or the other.
Thank you for the feedback. UpdraftPlus is taking an incremental backup under the definition you have explained (“changes since the last backup of any kind”). The writer of the phrase you’ve picked up on was envisaging an incremental backup taken following a full backup; I’ve removed the word “full” to remove the ambiguity.