How Well Does SiteGround Backup Your WordPress Site?

We checked SiteGround’s backup with their most basic WordPress hosting plan, StartUp; and distilled some of the pros and cons. This article will help you decide if you should rely on SiteGround backups as part of your website’s security plan.

It is important to mention right at the start that unless you’re manually downloading your backups and storing them securely, none of your backups are completely independent of SiteGround’s infrastructure. You’ll see what we mean as you read the pros and cons of each of the four options listed below. However, it is important to keep in mind that secure WordPress backups mean that they have to be completely independent of the hosting server. That way you can be sure that you have access to your backups in case of regular needs or during a freak accidents when web hosts lose your data.

A screenshot of SiteGround's webpage showing WordPress hosting details
A screenshot of SiteGround’s webpage showing WordPress hosting details

There are 4 ways you can backup your WordPress site hosted on SiteGround

  • The first way is to manually backup your site– make WordPress database backup using phpMyAdmin and make WordPress backup using a FTP Client
  • The second way is to make backups using your cPanel dashboard. You can click on ‘Create Backup’ under Backup Manager
  • The third way is to use Softaculous. The tool is available on your cPanel dashboard as well
  • Fourth way; you can utilize SiteGround’s paid backup service
  • Lastly, you can turn to professional WordPress backup services or plugins

 

Manual WordPress Backup

Manually backing up up your WordPress files and database has nothing to do with the service SiteGround offers. It is the same process with all services when you are on shared hosting. You can read articles on how to backup WordPress using FTP Client and how to make WordPress database backup using phpMyAdmin.

 

SiteGround Backup – Create Backup Tool

 

Backup options seen in the Create Backup tool which is accessed through your cPanel dashboard
Backup options seen in the Create Backup tool which is accessed through your cPanel dashboard

cPanel backups made with the Create Backup tool are generally similar across hosting services. You create a full backup using the Create Backup tool, set an email notification and wait. In some cases in the past we have not received any emails from the hosting service. With SiteGround however, the notifications were always prompt.

Even with the prompt notification however, you will be responsible for logging in to the cPanel dashboard, regularly downloading backups, and maintaining them in a secure fashion.

 

SiteGround Backup with Softaculous

 

Softaculous is another way you can manually backup your WordPress site if you host it on SiteGround.
Softaculous is another way  you can manually backup your WordPress site if you host it on SiteGround.

In terms of implications to the user, Softaculous backups are no different to making backups with the cPanel. Select the tool in your cPanel dashboard and make a backup. As with cPanel backups, unless you are regularly logging in making backups you’re bound to get in trouble. If you only login when your site has an issue or has been infected with a MalWare then you’ll only be backing up a bad copy. The onus again is on you to regularly make backups manually.

Restoring though is a little easier with Softaculous. Once you access the tool, you’ll have a list of the backups you have generated. Next to each backup is a restore icon. You only have to choose one of the backups and click on the corresponding restore.

Restoring your WordPress site with Softaculous is easier than performing manual restorations
Restoring your WordPress site with Softaculous is easier than performing manual restorations

 

Do You have Control Over Your Backups?

Note that in the case of cPanel backups, you cannot download specific file.  Unless you are dealing with SQL database, you don’t have control over which files to download. Choosing the Full Download or Home Directory means that you’ll be downloading the all the files related to all the domain or subdomain of your account. You have to download it all and sift through it later.

With Softaculous you can specify the domain or subdomain you want to download, and then download all the files related to that domain/subdomain.

While restoring, in the case of cPanel backups you can restore specific files or tables if you know what you are doing. In the case of Softaculous you have restore your entire directory and database, thereby restoring the entire site.

Web host backups generally tend to place an extra layer of burden on you. This is a good example of it. However, you can opt for the paid Backup service as an alternative.

 

SiteGround’s Paid Backup Service

SiteGround offers a paid backup service for users of the StartUp hosting plan. Paid backups are automatic backups carried out daily. 30 versions of backups are stored by SiteGround on their servers. When we got in touch with their customer support via chat, SiteGround informed us that the servers are different from the ones on which  your site is hosted.

As StartUp plan user, even if you have not subscribed to paid backup service, then SiteGround maintains a copy of the backup to your site. We got in touch with SiteGround  to ask how we can access that copy of the backup. We were informed that, that copy is only for ‘technical experts’ of the hosting servers. Users cannot access it. To do so, you’ll have to subscribe to the paid backup service, which is part of the higher hosting plans; but is not included for the basic plan.

 

To restore your WordPress site via the cPanel dashboard, you'll need to subscribe to the paid backup service to gain access
To restore your WordPress site via the cPanel dashboard, you’ll need to subscribe to the paid backup service to gain access

Paid backup service is especially important for sites hosted on SiteGround during restorations. Even if you have manually backed up your site, you cannot restore it via the cPanel’s Backup Restore tool. To access the Backup Restore tool you have to subscribe to the backup service. If you have not subscribed to the paid service you will see the above screen when you choose the Backup Restore tool. Otherwise you have to upload the files using a FTP client, and import the database using phpMyAdmin. This requires some technical know how, otherwise your restorations can be unsuccessful.

 

Why we think you need a professional backup service?

This means that if you have the basic hosting plan- StartUp, on SiteGround, you either have to do all the heavy lifting (manually make backups), give up some of the finer controls over backups and restores (download and restore entire sites), or just pay for their service. However if you run a small service, then some these shortcomings or financial additions may be worthwhile. If you’re looking for a complete WordPress backup solution, then try out BlogVault, to run your small business or blog than you might have to look elsewhere. Obviously we may be a little biased but we think the option is worth considering if you want peace of mind regarding your safety net- your website backups.