Amazon’s S3 is one of the biggest names in cloud storage. True to its name, Amazon’s Simple Storage Service provides a secure, low-cost, and easy to use storage facility. You can upload any file to your S3 account, including backups. Let us have a look at how the two popular WordPress backup plugins, BackupBuddy and blogVault, use Amazon S3 for storing backups.
Like in any other case, transferring a file out of BackupBuddy requires you to a remote destination. In this case, it’d be your Amazon S3 account. Apart from specifying the access and secret keys, you can optionally configure archive limit and chunk size.
Once after you’ve added the S3 account, you can directly send a backup to this location. You can even configure S3 account as your default storage location.
You can also use the S3 account to restore a backup when your site goes down. The process is again similar to that of any other remote destination. You must first download the backup to your local system, upload it to the server, and the restore it using the importbuddy.php.
Though most WordPress plugins allow you to use your own S3 for storage, they store the keys used to copy the backup on the site itself. BackupBuddy also follows this approach while using S3 storage. If your site gets hacked, the hackers gain access to your keys too. The hackers will not only destroy your site but your entire S3 account using these keys. Your S3 backups are not as safe as you think.
A lesser issue is that of backup management. If you use your own S3 account as the offsite storage location, you are also required to manage the backups. If you go with daily backups, we are talking 30 backups a month and 360 in a year. Rummaging through 100s of backups to locate the right one when the need for a restore arises can be quite a challenge.
blogVault also uses S3 as an offsite storage location but not that of its customer’s. blogVault maintains multiple copies of backups on its own servers as well its own Amazon S3 account. It provides a complete backup service by managing the backups for you. Since it uses its own S3 account, the keys are stored in a secure location and not included within the site. Backups are entirely independent of your site and hence 100% safe.