Making WordPress Backup to your Google Drive account may mean that you are choosing convenience over efficiency and security. Here’s why.
Uploading WordPress Backups to Google Drive
Google Drive presents a convenient option. To begin with it is accessed with your Google account. No multiple logins. Added to this 15 GB of storage space is free to users.
You can simply choose among the many plugins which allow you to upload your WordPress backups to Google Drive. UpdraftPlus, BackupGuard, and WP Database Backup are all example of plugins in the WordPress repository which allow you to do just this. However keep in mind in some cases, you may have to pay for an add-on to add Google Drive to your list of backup destinations.
Setting Up Google Drive with Your WordPress Backup Plugin
This process may take some steps to get through, but if you follow the documentation of the respective plugins it will be easy. However, the point to keep in mind is that setting up your Drive account with your backup plugins generally means that the plugin stores a ‘client ID’ and ‘client secret’ to your Drive account. This is how the plugin can upload backups to your Drive account. However, this can be a double-edged sword.
WordPress Backups to Google Drive: Pros & Cons
Google Drive gives users 15 GB of free storage space. This may prove sufficient if your site is not large. The economic benefits from using a free plugin and having free storage space cannot be discounted without consideration. Along with this, you can gain access to your Drive account with your Google credentials; no extra logins required.
However, the very same advantages have another face when viewed from the perspective of control, efficiency, and security.
WordPress Restores from Google Drive
All backups are about restores. This means making restores must be easy and it must give full control. Backup files uploaded to Google Drive by plugins may not allow for this. It is true that with plugins like UpdraftPlus you can restore directly from your WordPress admin dashboard. However, this may not be enough.
Backups uploaded to Drive are usually in .zip folder; and that makes it very hard for you to find and restore individual files. This is, if your plugin allows for restoration of individual files; which is not always the case.
Restoring individual files has its benefits. Large sites take time to restore. This means more downtime. In other cases your hosting service may limit the time for each action. This is true of most cases, and in such cases your website may have to be manually restored. This is not a burden your business needs. On the other hand, restoring individual files means that you can avoid all these complications and not suffer the cost from unnecessary downtime. With each passing day this cost continues to increase. For this reason, having more granular control over your backups and restores is important.
Are your Backups Secure in Your Google Drive Account?
The other point to consider is that your backups may be vulnerable because a single set of login credentials gives you access to all your accounts. If that is compromised then your backups may be compromised too. The other way is that if your WordPress site is hacked, then that may lead the hackers to your backups since your plugin stored the ‘client ID’ and ‘client secret’ to Drive account.
WordPress Backup to Google Drive: Storage Space Issues
In the case that your Google Drive account runs out of space, how will your plugin continue to make backups? You may want to know if you’ll get notifications from the developers of the backup plugin you use. If this is not the case, then you may not have backups to make restore; which is when you need them the most
While convenience is one factor, uploading your WordPress backups to your Google Drive account may not allow you to practice WordPress backup best practices.
No Backup Descriptions
Now let us say that you are following good login practices, using smart passphrases, and following the basic security practices well. You also don’t mind making manual restores. In such a case you may be okay with a plugin which uploads your WordPress backups to your Google Drive account. While this not advisable from a security standpoint, you may still have to contend with another issue– backup descriptions.
As mentioned plugins usually upload your WordPress files in .zip files. The file names may have the date and time when the backups were made but not much else. When you want to manually restore a file you may want a description of what has changed from one backup version to the next. Without this, you may spend a considerable amount of time sifting through files, or spend time organizing backups in your Drive. Either way, you have to invest a considerable amount time and labor.
When backing up to Google Drive, ensure that you label the downloaded backups in an organized manner, so you can categorize and differentiate backups. This will be helpful when you have to restore your site.
You need to safeguard your data in a more robust manner to ensure that in your hour of need you know not only know that you have access to backups but also that they are functional. Especially, if you’re running a small business or a popular blog then you might want to look at a more complete WordPress backup solution and continue making WordPress backup to Google Drive only as an additional step.