Automated Website Backups: Everything You Need To Know

Automated Website Backups

What happens when your site or eCommerce store crashes, and you lose all website data?

In scenario A, everything you have built is lost. You have to start from scratch with your website and SEO, get new clients, and waste so much time and money just to get back to normal.

In scenario B, the only thing you lose is a little faith. You easily restore the latest version of your website and continue business as usual.

Automated website backups are the difference.

But if all you’ve ever heard of are simply “backups,” that little “automated” prefix probably adds a layer of confusion and invites questions.

Do you need daily automated website backups for your nonprofit, professional services, or eCommerce business? Why automated and not manual backups? Where to begin?

The answers are straight ahead. Keep going! You couldn’t miss them if you tried.

What Is an Automatic Website Backup?

An automated website backup service is a website security and maintenance measure that ensures you don’t lose all your data if your website is compromised by a malware, a cyberattack, or an honest accident.

It’s one of the simplest ways to protect your data.

Unlike manual backups, automatic website backups only require you to set up how often you want them to run, and they can update frequently, daily, with minimum supervision.

The frequency of your backups guarantees that you can restore your website to be almost exactly as it was before the information was lost, so you can continue where you left off instead of stressing about closing a huge gap between now and your last retrievable backup.

Why Are Automatic Website Backups Important?

Below are the top benefits of automated website backups and reasons why you should get them even if you already do manual backups:

Minimize downtime and ensure a fast recovery

Long downtime could impair your SEO ranking (so fewer visitors can find your site), reduce your traffic, and result in your customers jumping over to competitors two seconds after receiving that “error – please try again later” message.


Downtime causes a loss of revenue, productivity, and brand equity.

More precisely, one hour of downtime costs $300,000 on average for 91% of small and medium-sized businesses.

With an automated website backup done hours or even minutes prior to the start of your downtime, you could retrieve that information and get back on your feet in no time.

Prevent data loss or accidental deletions

Not backing up your data feels like forgetting to save an assignment after working on it for hours. You don’t think about it, but then something happens and all your progress is gone.

But then, you realize your program has the “auto-save” feature activated and you’re eternally grateful. The day is saved.

Automatic website backups prevent cluster headaches of worrying about what to do or frantically retracing your steps if you accidentally delete something important – and it happens more often than you think.

72% of companies had to recover data from a backup in the past year (some of them more than once). But only one in ten companies back up daily.

And what if you’re among the 41% of organizations that back up rarely, or never?

If something happened, most or all of your data could be permanently lost.

Any website backup solution could fix that issue for you. The difference between manual and automatic here is in when the backup was made and whether it’s fully retrievable.

With automated website backup services, the time window is as small as possible, which means you’ll minimize your losses.

Revert changes from a faulty update

Take a step back without sending your website back to three months ago and losing important changes and progress.

Wait, what’s the big deal with restoring an older version of your site?

  • Does your website have an active page like a blog where comments are added all the time?
  • Or an online store where customers make purchases?
  • Are you a large nonprofit organization that collects donations?

If so, your data changes daily, probably minute to minute.

That means that, if you have an issue and your last backup was even just an hour ago, you would still lose the sales data from activity, orders, and donations that happened in that hour.

Give yourself peace of mind without breaking the bank

Think about it:

  1. You know you’re safe even if something comes up because your backups are close together
  2. And you’re spending less on backups all around because auto backups are usually pretty affordable (and definitely more affordable than regular manual backups)

We’ll get to the costs in a bit – we’re still not done listing the benefits.

Remove the need for daily manual backups and save time

This isn’t an anti-manual backups blog. Not at all – manual backups can be great in their own time and place:

  1. When you’ve made changes to the website and don’t want to wait until your next auto-backup, just to be safe
  2. When you haven’t done any backups in a while
  3. When a regularly-scheduled auto backup might be in the way, for example during a really busy traffic period like a new product release on your eCommerce site

But if you primarily rely on manual backups on a day-to-day basis, it’s a lot of work and not the best use of your time and money.

And before you say something like: “I’ll back up once a week or every other week” – that’s too risky. What if something happens in the meantime?

Your best bet would be to use automatic website backups frequently, and then add manual backups when they’re most valuable as additional assurance and support.

How Often Should You Automatically Backup Your Site?

You need to make sure to balance database backups with your storage space.

Ideally, you’d back up once a day for basic sites – in the early morning, middle of the night, or during another traffic low-point during the day.

If your site is large and frequently updates with new comments, sign-ups, purchases, and other activity – backing up every couple of minutes would make sense.

The logic is simple: the faster things change on your site – the closer together you’d want your backups so you don’t lose those changes.

But besides backing up often, another safety guideline you should follow is the “3-2-1 backup rule.” Here’s a simple breakdown:

  • 3: Make at least three copies of important data. This way you ensure no single incident can compromise all of it.
  • 2: Store the copies in at least two different formats. Use an internal drive and external media like a disc or cloud storage, so if one of them gets wiped, you still have the data in another format.
  • 1: Keep one copy off-site. This measure protects your data from physical dangers like fires or theft.

Those simple steps go a long way.

Now let’s talk about the cost.

How Much Does It Cost To Run Automatic Website Backups?

To give you a ballpark figure, automatic website backups typically cost between $1-4 per gigabyte of data per month. If you have a smaller site, it could be under $50 per year.

For larger sites with plenty of pages, website content, and frequently updated information, the price could be around $500 per year for 100 gigabytes of data.

Don’t let that last price scare you.

Simply stack up those costs against the cost of downtime: $300,000 on average if you manage to get your site up and running in an hour after a crash.

But what if you take longer, or don’t have a backup to recover? Not to be too dramatic, but…


The point is, automatic backups are cheaper than manual backups, and definitely worth their weight in gold.

Okay, so how do I create an automated backup?

How To Get Started With Automatic Website Backups

To get you started with automated website backups, we’ll guide you on a couple different options you could choose from depending on your web hosting, needs, and preferences.

Here are the cliff-notes first:

Ways to get started with automated website backupsKey points
1. Via WordPress plugins
  • UpdraftPlus – has a free backup plan, full and incremental backups
  • BackupBuddy – simple to use and easy restoration, starting at $80 per year
  • Jetpack Backups – backup from any device, starting at $4.77 per month
2. Via cPanel plugins
  • JetBackup is a leading provider with customizable and secure backup options
  • cPanel also offers manual backups
3. Via solutions from your hosting provider
  • Certain hosts offer automatic backups
  • You may need to pay for a backup recovery
  • It can take between 24-36 hours
4. Via cloud backup services
  • Integrated security platforms like Sucuri offer a rounded security service
  • BaaS (backup-as-a-service) providers like Rewind focus on backups
5. Via a team of experts
  • Best option if possible
  • Tailored advice and a full site maintenance package, including manual and automatic backups
  • No mixing and matching subscriptions or DIY methods
  • No tech knowledge or expertise needed

We’ll elaborate on each point for more context and useful details.

1. Via WordPress plugins

The best way to perform a backup of your website on WordPress is to use a plugin because WordPress doesn’t automatically backup sites.

Popular WordPress plugin options include:

  • UpdraftPlus has a free starter plan. On premium plans, you unlock incremental backups, which means you can back up individual transactions or changes as they happen instead of backing up your entire site each time.
  • BackupBuddy has been around the longest. It allows you to back up your entire site from your dashboard and has an easy restoration process. The pricing starts at $80 per year.
  • Jetpack Backups has a mobile app and lets you back up and restore your site from anywhere. You can track changes, use their unlimited archive, restore previous versions, and still keep your orders updated. The pricing starts at $4.77 per month.

2. Via cPanel plugins

Traditional cPanel backups are manual, but you can set up multiple and various automated backup schedules using a plugin like JetBackup.

Here are some perks of this plugin:

  • It offers lots of customization in terms of how, where, and how often you want to backup your data (as well as schedule delays and other exceptions)
  • Data security using encryption and obligatory customer compliance
  • Pricing starts at $5.95 per month
  • Lots of other specialized features like custom hooks and hybrid backups

It could take a while to get a hang of all the options.

If you’re going it alone, don’t. The best way to backup a website in cPanel using JetBackup (or any other plugin) would be to contact their support team and get tailored advice.

3. Via solutions from your hosting provider

Check what options your host offers.

Keep in mind that some hosts will charge you to restore a backup, and it could take them between 24-36 hours to do so.

That said, it’s a good idea to keep another (up-to-date) backup plugin even if that’s not the primary backup solution you’re relying on – for example, if you’re primarily using a maintenance service from a different company.

Having multiple backups is always a smart idea – extra safety points if you store them in separate locations or data centers.

4. Via cloud backup services

You have two options here:

  1. Integrated security platforms like Sucuri
  2. BaaS (backup-as-a-service) providers like Rewind

Both of these options make it easy to adhere to the 3-2-1 rule because they store your data far away from your web servers or on-site location.

The difference between them is that integrated security platforms offer other security services besides backups, whereas BaaS providers focus solely on backing up key applications.

Other cloud-based automated website backup solutions worth checking out include Acronis, Carbonite, Clumio Inc., Commvault, Druva, and NetApp.

5. Via a team of experts

Restoring your data could require installing additional plugins, retracing your steps, and going through a complicated process in a moment when you would want to act quickly to avoid long downtime and lost opportunities.

Why go through all that trouble and risk your entire website? Some experts specialize in that sort of thing.

With customized professional advice, you could create a disaster recovery plan and set up a security system that truly protects you, instead of:

  1. Worrying about each security component individually and on your own
  2. Having tons of subscriptions for maintenance (that may or may not complement each other fully… potentially leaving you vulnerable)
  3. Never knowing whether you are safe or not

Having someone qualified to do it manage both auto and manual backups as part of your security and maintenance package would really be the best course of action.

Technically… on your end… that would make all backups auto-backups. 🙂

The Last Step: Recovering Your Website With an Auto Backup

Okay. Let’s say you’ve just discovered an issue with the site, and it crashes. What happens now? You confidently click “recover backup” and save the day, right?


It’s not quite that easy.

Yes, you need to put the auto backups into action and recover your site, including:

  1. All the website files like images, comments and notes, receipts, and documents
  2. Your database elements, including administrative settings and configuration, license and backup encryption key, passwords, and schedules

But safely storing all of that information in multiple locations and in a way that’s easily retrievable later can be tricky.

The reality is that, while everyone rightfully says “backup your website!” – you could easily experience issues with faulty backups and difficult-to-recover files despite your best efforts.

It’s often not until a website has already crashed that owners find out that not every backup is complete or retrievable, which is especially a shame if you’re already paying for a backup solution and thinking you are safe.

That’s why getting your backups within a rounded professional website maintenance package services should be a no-brainer if you can afford them.

Plus, the cost of a website maintenance package is nowhere near the cost of:

  • Scrambling at the last minute to find an expert
  • Having an offline website that annoys customers and leads to them jumping over to the competition
  • Doing double-work or rebuilding your site from scratch because none of your changes were saved

With timely expert help, you’ll know where you are with your security and get exactly what you signed up for.

Sleep Easier With Automated Website Backups

Backing up your data should be a no-brainer.

Automated website backups are crucial, cheap, and convenient.

They’re definitely worth their weight in gold, especially if you have somebody else set them up for you properly so you literally never have to think about it again.

…starting right now, if you contact StateWP to help you with auto backups or anything else maintenance-related.

Not there yet? That’s okay, there’s a lot more you can learn about website maintenance here. We suggest:

Website maintenance and SEO – a full guide about more than backups
Steps to improve website security – to prevent security issues in the first place