WordPress backups by WP Engine are generally solid but may not be completely independent of the hosting service. Read on to find out not only if you can rely on their backups but also if the feature is convenient to use?

WP Engine is one of the most popularly used hosting services to host WordPress sites today. It provides its users with an array of features that include robust security, data backups, good speed, & customer service. In this article, we’ll discuss the data backup and restore features of WP Engine at length.

 

A screenshot of the WPEngine website

A screenshot of the WPEngine website

 

Before We Begin: Our Backup Mantra

No hosting service is by itself a sufficient security measure, because all web hosts including WP Engine can be vulnerable. We firmly believe that your WordPress security is best served by a strong combination of actions. At the foundation of that security pyramid must be a robust WordPress backup plan that will allow you to keep your website’s best form online always and solve problems- malware cleaning, compatibility issues, etc., offline, without harming you or your audience/consumers.

WP Engine Backup

Accessing Your Backups on WP Engine

WP Engine backups can be accessed by clicking on your ‘Install’ name and then clicking on ‘Backup Points’. You can also create a ‘Backup Point’ manually at any time you want by clicking on ‘Backup Now’ option before making any drastic changes to your site.

Backup Schedule on WP Engine

WP Engine displays the last 40 backup points at any particular time. They perform automated daily backups of your WordPress site – files and database. However, the backup schedule is automatically set by WP Engine, and there’s no option for you to schedule your backups at a preferred time. To make backups lightweight and fast, WP Engine smartly ignores files like logs, cache, and backup data. Also, to ensure that your backups are safe and secure, they’re encrypted at the source itself and stored in a geographically separate location from your site.

Downloading Your Backups From WP Engine

Moving on, there’s a ‘Download ZIP’ option present next to the ‘Backup Now’ option that lets you download a zipped copy of your site backup. On clicking ‘Download ZIP’, the download process gets initiated immediately. Once the ZIP folder containing the backup archive is ready for download, you’ll get an email from WP Engine containing a link to download it (this, I received within 5 minutes).

 

Screenshot highlighting the discrepancies between downloaded backup ZIP and remote website

Screenshot highlighting the discrepancies between downloaded backup ZIP and remote website

 

Screenshot highlighting the folders missing in the downloaded backup ZIP

Screenshot highlighting the folders missing in the downloaded backup ZIP

 

In addition to Production backups, WP Engine also generates backups of your staging site. Staging backups work the exact same way as Production backups, and can be accessed via the ‘Backup Points’ tab itself, by clicking on ‘Staging’ backups.

 

WP Engine generates both Production backups and Staging backups

WP Engine generates both Production backups and Staging backups

 

The one issue here is that of details of backup points. As you can see in the above screenshot, backup points only have date, time and a short description. You cannot see details of which files/tables were backed up, excluded and what are the specific changes that occurred between the chosen backup and the one immediately preceding it. While the descriptions help, if all you see is ‘daily checkpoints’ in your list you may have to make a few trail runs at times before you find the right WordPress backup version.

WP Engine’s Restore Feature

With WP Engine, you can easily restore to an earlier backup version on your site by choosing a Backup Point and clicking on ‘Restore’. By default, WP Engine restores only files. If you want to restore site’s database too, then you need to select the ‘Restore DB’ option on the pop-up that appears upon clicking ‘Restore’. There is however no direct way to restore only the database (sans files).

 

WP Engine restores the DB files with the sites files

WP Engine restores the DB files with the sites files

 

Once the chosen backup is restored, you’ll receive an email from WP Engine intimating you of the same. WP Engine’s restore process is quick and efficient, although it seems to delete new files in the process. This might result in a loss of data upon restoration of a backup version. One good thing to note here is that when you restore your site to a previous backup version, WP Engine automatically creates a new backup point, so you can easily go back to the way your site was before performing the restore if the your website isn’t functioning correctly after the restoration process.

 

WPEngine creates a pre-restoration checkpoint so you can go back to a version of your site before the restore

WPEngine creates a pre-restoration checkpoint so you can go back to a version of your site before the restore

 

The Last Word

One of the good things about WP Engine is that it prompts you to create a restore point whenever you’re about to make any new change to your WordPress site.

WPEngine prompts to create checkpoints or restore points whenever any change is to be made to your WordPress site

WPEngine prompts to create checkpoints or restore points whenever any change is to be made to your WordPress site

Also, before making any updates on your site, it automatically generates a backup of your site. WP Engine is an excellent hosting provider for WordPress sites, no doubt about it, and if you don’t mind shelling out big bucks for quality service, it’s definitely worth a go!

Here’s a brief summary of the features offered by WP Engine backups:

A summary of WPEngine's backup

A summary of WPEngine’s backup

As can be seen from the above table, WP engine backups are good and do the basic job. The backups are encrypted and are infact stored off-site. Backups are also made daily. However, if you want features like real-time backups, easy automated backup validation and one-click migration of your backup to a different URL or host; if you want to be able to schedule your backups, and control what tables/files get backed up and what get ignored, then you might need to look for a more complete WordPress backup solution other than WP Engine backups.

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