In our Domains program at Michigan State University, we provide free web hosting space for faculty and graduate students through Reclaim Hosting. This is an awesome program, but since we have a relatively small budget, we are thrifty with faculty about how much storage space we give them. Honestly, this necessary thrift also helps instill best practices in faculty and other users regarding image sizes, video uploads, and backups. Ensuring that backups of your site are created regularly is key in case of issues, but if you rely on Domains hosting to hold the backups, then you quickly run out of hosting space.
This is why the Updraft plugin is great. While I wish there were a free version option to backup to OneDrive (which would allow users at MSU to backup to university-provided file storage), there is at least a free backup option to Google Drive.
Here is how to set it up:
While logged into your WordPress site, go to “Plugins” on the left menu from the dashboard and select “Add New”. Then, search for “UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin” and click “Install Now” and then “Activate”.
From your list of plugins, you will now see Updraft there. Click “Settings”
You now see the main page of working with Updraft. Select “Settings toward the top middle of the page.
I have selected a backup schedule of: weekly for files (such as pages, images, etc), and fortnightly (every-other-week) for the site database as a whole. You can select whatever frequency you like. I have chosen to keep 2 backups at any one time.
Then, select the place where you will have the backups stored, such as Google Drive. Keep scrolling to the bottom of the page to save the settings. Only after these settings are saved will you connect your WordPress site to you Google Drive account.
Click “Sign in with Google”, and you will be taken to another window or tab to provide your google login info.
After you have logged into your google account to authorize Updraft to access your account, you will see a screen that is all orange. Click “Complete setup” in the center bottom of the screen. It will take you back to WordPress.
You will be back at the main page for working with Updraft on your WordPress site. You can see the ‘Success” notification at the top. Go ahead and click “Backup Now’ toward the right of the screen.
You can leave the default settings as they are and click “Backup Now”
It might take a minute, but your site will be backed up. You can confirm this under “last log message”, where it will display if the last backup attempt was successful or not.
You can find your backups in your Google Drive account in a folder called Updraft Plus. And that’s it! Updraft will regularly backup your site without you needing to prompt it, and it won’t clog your Drive account because only 2 backup copies will be retained at any one time.
I am not going into it here, but you can use Updraft Plus to restore your WordPress site using these backups if you ever need to in the future.