Question from Freida: I have a simple question about setting up a blog with WordPress.
If you could only use ONE plugin on your blog for some reason, which plugin would that be?
There are thousands of WordPress plugins out there and I don’t even know where to start in choosing the ones I need to install on my blog.
Thanks in advance for your answer, Rick.
Rick’s answer: You’re right, Freida. The sheer number of WordPress plugins to choose from can make it very difficult to choose the right plugins to use on a given blog.
But that being said, the one absolutely essential plugin that should be installed on EVERY blog is a high-quality backup plugin!
Why a backup plugin? Because having a recent backup on hand will allow you to recover from virtually ANY misfortune that might happen to crash or trash your blog!
While most web hosting plans include automated backups as one of the services they provide, those host-generated backups are often risky, for various reasons.
For example, if your automated backups are placed on the same hard drive that stores your blog, what happens if that hard drive fails? You guessed it – your backup is gone right along with your blog!
Another example… What happens if your blog gets ever hacked and defaced and for some reason the automated backups won’t work? Well, you’ll simply be out of luck.
A quality backup plugin will make regular backups of your blog and either store those backups on a remote server that’s separate from the server your blog is hosted on or email them right to your local computer for safe-keeping. And some plugins will do both.
Now that we have the type of plugin out of the way, you’re probably wondering which specific backup plugin I recommend. There are several of them to choose from, after all.
I’ve used four different backup plugins over the years, and the one I like best (and currently use) on all of my blogs is VaultPress from the folks at Automattic (the company that makes WordPress).
While VaultPress isn’t free, these advantages make the very small investment in it worthwhile in my opinion:
- VaultPress backs up your entire blog. That includes the WordPress installation itself plus all of the pages and posts, images, themes and installed plugins. If your blog ever goes belly-up, you won’t lose a thing!
- The backup process is automatic. Simply open an account and install the plugin and it will immediately begin backing up your blog in the background.
- The backup files are stored on Automattic’s servers, not on a server owned by your web hosting company. That means your backups will be available at any time even if the building housing your blog’s server ever goes up in flames.
- Since VaultPress was created by Automattic, it was built from the ground up to work seamlessly and pefectly with your WordPress blog (and trust me, it really does!).
- If you ever need to restore your blog from a backup, you’ll be able to do it with just a mouse click or two!
- VaultPress subscriptions are very affordable. In fact, complete protection for your blog (and complete peace of mind) starts at just $39 per year!
As you can see, VaultPress offers everything you need to protect your blog and all its content at a very affordable price.
Bottom line: If I could only install one plugin on my WordPress blogs, it would be the VaultPress backup plugin from the folks at Automattic.
Bonus tip #1: If I was limited to using just two plugins on my blogs, the second one would be the awesome WordFence security plugin now that they’ve added Two-Factor Authentication protection to the free version of the plugin!
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