Incremental Backups

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was your WordPress blog, or website. As more and more new content is added to it, every website evolves with time. This is what makes WordPress backups even more relevant. To see the practical advantages of Incremental backups for yourself, sign up for a 7-day free trial of BlogVault!

How does it work?

The thing is, WordPress backups can be of two kinds:

  1. Complete backup – This process copies the entire website with all of its content every time a backup is performed. This is the strategy used by most WordPress backup plugins, whether free or paid.
  2. Incremental backup – The incremental backup process ensures that the whole WordPress site only the first time. Every backup after that is only of the new changes made to your site.

BlogVault’s backup plugin uses the incremental backup process, which is far more intelligent than the complete backup process. This method reduces the load on servers, as well as efficiently backups even very large WordPress sites.

Our incremental backup process is depends on the data being backed up. You see, every WordPress site consists of two parts- files and databases.

  1. To backup files: The plugin creates an index of every file. This index is then used to identify the parts of the site that change.
  2. To backup databases: Here, the plugin breaks down the database into small chunks. It then calculates a hash of each of these chunks. BlogVault then goes on to compare the hash of these chunks with what has been stored on our servers. Only the changed chunks are backed up.

When the original site needs to be recovered from the backup, the plugin combines all the incremental backups made to produce the entire website’s data. The final output will be an exact replica of the original site.

How does BlogVault know what has changed?

During the regular WordPress backup cycle, BlogVault scans the list of files present in your website. This is a very light-weight activity. After the scan it identifies every change made including the deletion of, or modifications made to files. It then fetches only these files (which are not present in the existing backup). The changes in the files are identified based on multiple factors, such as modification time, or the size of contents.

Does it work for Databases too?

Yes, BlogVault backs up databases too.

Pros of the Incremental Backup method:

Reduces Server load

While performing a complete backup of a WordPress site, the entire site needs to be copied. This uses a lot of server resources. Incremental backups on the other hand only copy small parts of the site. This puts minimum strain on the server and does not slow the site down.

Backup very large sites

Over time as we add more content, images or other media to a website, it will use more space. In many cases this can utilize many GBs of data. Doing complete backups of such large sites is often not be feasible as it takes hours to do a complete backup.

However with incremental backups, even large sites can be backed up efficiently.

Use reduced storage

If a site is 500 MB in size, then daily complete backups will end up using a lot of space… in fact it could take up about 15 GB of space in a month.

Incremental backups on the other hand will only use a fraction of total storage… It will often be less than 1 GB of space for 30 days of backups.

What about compression?

Compression does not often help in reducing the size of WordPress backups. The largest part of any WordPress site are the media files such as images. Since these files are already compressed as JPGs, any further compression is not possible.

Are complete backups better than incremental backups?

No. Incremental backups are the intelligent way of doing backups. Due to the way the site changes are tracked, the complete backup can be recreated at any time. The final output will be exactly like the original site.

Incremental restore

WordPress upgrades or plugin installation is often the cause of site crashes. At these times, only small parts of have changed. Hence copying all the data back to the site will be time consuming and unnecessary.

The technology that allows us to do incremental backups is also used to do incremental restores. Before doing a restore we can calculate the difference between the backup data and the data on the website. We will only then restore those parts which have changed, making the whole process extremely fast for even very large sites.

Get the benefits of Incremental Backups and Restores for your WordPress site – Sign up for our 7-day free trial.

Takeaways

  • Incremental backups are the more intelligent way of doing backups
  • Incremental backups are faster and use less space
  • Even large sites can be backed up regularly using incremental backups
  • Incremental restores let you recover your site quickly