In this edition of BackupBuddy University, we cover Stash Live, BackupBuddy’s automatic, cloud-based WordPress backup feature. Stash Live is included for free for all BackupBuddy customers, with 1GB+ of free BackupBuddy Stash storage space.
What is Stash Live?
Stash Live is the automatic backup service that works with the BackupBuddy plugin. Stash Live continually watches for changes to posts, pages, media, plugins & themes, and then backs those changes up, creating a “Snapshot” of your website.
Since Stash Live is always monitoring your site for changes, you don’t have to worry about backup schedules that may not be frequent enough.
Stash Live is great for websites that are large or have limited server resources (like if you’re on shared hosting), because Stash Live offloads the heavy-lifting of running backups from your server to our Stash servers.
How Does Stash Live Work?
Rather than the traditional BackupBuddy backup process, Stash Live makes incremental backups and then sends the updated files to our Stash Live server. These types of backups made with Stash Live are called Snapshots.
What is a Snapshot?
Every day, Stash Live takes a “Snapshot” of your site in time, which is a recording of your site at that very moment. As changes to your site are made, Stash Live will build those changes into your latest Snapshot.
- Snapshots capture the database changes as well as recently completed file uploads of media, plugin, or theme file changes.
- Snapshots happen automatically each day as changes occur, or you can create a Snapshot manually through Stash Live if you need a more recent Snapshot.
- Your Snapshot backups are stored as downloadable zip files in BackupBuddy Stash, our secure, off-site storage destination designed to store WordPress backups. Your Snapshot backup files can be downloaded from the iThemes Sync dashboard.
- Snapshots can be used to restore your website back to the time the Snapshot was taken and utilized like any traditional backup for migration/restoration.
Why Should I Use Stash Live?
When you’re first getting started with BackupBuddy, you may wonder which kind of backup to use: the traditional BackupBuddy backups or Stash Live. Here are a few reasons you may want to use Stash Live.
- Solve backup timeouts and host/server limits. Stash Live offloads the heavy-lifting of running backups from your server to our Stash servers. If you’ve had issues with BackupBuddy running on slow shared hosting, or if you’ve been limited by server configurations you can’t control, Stash Live was made for you.
- Backups run automatically. Once you set it up, Stash Live will begin actively tracking real-time changes of your WordPress site, and push those changes up to our service for safe-keeping. It will then periodically take a Snapshot of your site in time, which is a recording of your site at that very moment.
- Easy off-site storage of your backups in BackupBuddy Stash. Don’t wrestle with remote destinations that weren’t actually designed for storing WordPress backups. With Stash Live, your backups are safely stored in BackupBuddy Stash, our secure, off-site storage destination that we built to work seamlessly with BackupBuddy. Plus, as a BackupBuddy customer, you get 1GB+ of free Stash storage space, which is enough to store about 6 backups of an average WordPress site (150MB).
- Restore your site faster with Stash Live. Stash Live is integrated with ImportBuddy, BackupBuddy’s tool for restoring your WordPress site. If you’ve been using the manaul ImportBuddy method for site restores, you’ll love how much faster restores are with Stash Live backups.
What is the Difference Between Stash Live, BackupBuddy Stash & Traditional BackupBuddy Backups?
You may be wondering about the differences between BackupBuddy Stash, Stash Live and traditional BackupBuddy backups. Let’s break down a few of the differences:
Traditional BackupBuddy Backups
- BackupBuddy, the WordPress backup plugin, runs a “traditional” backup depending on which of the 5 types of WordPress backups you wish to run (Complete, Database, Themes Only, Plugins Only or Media Only).
- Backups run when scheduled or manually initiated from the BackupBuddy > Backups page.
- Traditional backups must be created (and zipped up) on the server of the site itself.
- Traditional backups can be sent to the remote destination of your choice.
- BackupBuddy Stash is the secure, remote storage destination for your BackupBuddy backups.
- BackupBuddy Stash was built to run with BackupBuddy, so there are lots of advantages of using it as your Remote Destination, including Stash Live.
- All BackupBuddy customers get 1GB+ of free space (depending on your subscription plan).
- Here are 10 reasons to use BackupBuddy Stash.
- Stash Live is the automatic backup service that works with the BackupBuddy plugin and BackupBuddy Stash, the remote destination.
- Rather than traditional backups, Stash Live makes incremental backups and then sends files to the Stash Live server.
- Stash Live continually monitors for changes to your website and then backs those changes up.
- Stash Live creates a “snapshot” of your site stored in your BackupBuddy Stash account.
- Great for websites that are large or have limited server resources (like if you’re on shared hosting). Stash Live was created to make it easier for sites to complete backups as the backup process is handled off of your website’s server.
When To Use Traditional BackupBuddy Backups
Stash Live may not necessarily be the best option for you and your website. Traditional BackupBuddy backups set up to run on a schedule and sent to a remote destination can still cover the needs of most websites.
Here are a few scenarios when you may only need traditional BackupBuddy backup.
- You post once a day or less
- Your server can easily handle zipping files*
*Many shared hosting servers have restrictions. Support can assist you with configuring BackupBuddy to work with your hosting environment.
Should I Use Both Traditional BackupBuddy Backups and Stash Live?
We don’t recommend using both Stash Live and the sending of traditional backups to your Stash remote destination. As both have the same final outcome (backups stored in your Stash account); they just achieve it differently.
The main reason for this is that using both Stash Live and the sending of traditional backups to your BackupBuddy Stash remote destination could cause you to hit your Stash quota quickly with redundant backups.
If you wish to use Stash Live and traditional backups for local storage on the site’s server at the same time, you can still do that. And/or you can also have those traditional backups sent to a different remote destination like Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. This way, you can have the additional redundancy without maxing out your Stash quota. (Just keep in mind that the other remote destinations are not as easy to set up and use as our Stash remote destination and/or Stash Live.
How to Set Up & Use Stash Live
Stash Live is incredibly easy to set up and use. All you need is your iThemes customer username and password to begin.
After installing and activating BackupBuddy, navigate to the BackupBuddy plugin menu in your WordPress admin dashboard. Visit the BackupBuddy > Stash Live page.
- On the Stash Live page, enter your iThemes username and password. This should be the same customer username and password you used to purchase your BackupBuddy subscription.
- Make sure the email address under Email Settings is correct. This is the email that Stash Live will use to send confirmation of your first Snapshot.
- Click the Save Settings & Start Backup button to begin your first Snapshot.
- If you can, keep the Stash Live page open as your initial Snapshot builds.
Once your first Snapshot completes, you’ll see a notice on the Stash Live page, along with an email with your Snapshot files.
How Long Does it Take to Build My First Snapshot?
Why? The initial Snapshot is working to transfer all of your website’s data and files. Depending on how many files there are, the size of individual files, and the server resources allocated to your site, and how much site activity you receive, this Snapshot may take a few hours (to a day or longer) to completely build.
The time needed to build the first Snapshot is caused by the overhead needed for sending individual files. There is a great deal of overhead for each and every file transfer and since we are sending thousands of files instead of just a single file, it takes a great amount of time. For instance, each file send may take 1 or 2 seconds, even for the smallest of files. This adds up when multiplied against many files.
To keep the initial Snapshot files moving along, Stash Live uses a “Cron Kicker.” Site activity or keeping the Stash Live page open will help guarantee that the “Cron Kicker” moves the process along. If no one is accessing the website (you’re not on the Stash Live page and no one else is visiting your site), there’s no way for the Stash Live process to run itself.
Although there’s a slow initial Snapshot build, subsequent backups are often FASTER than a normal backup as only changed files are transmitted. Offloading the zip creation process to our servers significantly reduces the chance of any problems due to server timeouts as this traditionally is the most resource-intensive part of the backup process.
In short, the first transfer may take a while but after it completes, things should move along much faster in the future. Keeping the Stash Live page open during the first backup can help the process continue to move along a bit faster in some cases.
Where Do I Download My Snapshots?
There are three different ways you can download your Snapshot backup files.
1. From the iThemes Sync dashboard in your BackupBuddy Stash account
Your Snapshot backup files will automatically be sent to your BackupBuddy Stash account. (BackupBuddy Stash is our secure, off-site storage destination). You can download all your Snapshot backup files from the iThemes Sync dashboard where you can also manage any other backup files from additional websites using BackupBuddy, BackupBuddy Stash and/or Stash Live.
From the iThemes Sync dashboard, navigate to the Stash page. You’ll see all your websites using BackupBuddy Stash here, along with options to View Files.
iThemes Sync has several great integrations with BackupBuddy. Learn more in BackupBuddy University: iThemes Sync Integration to see all the ways iThemes Sync can save you time when it comes to managing multiple WordPress sites.
2. From your Snapshot emails
Every time Stash Live completes a Snapshot, you’ll get an email that has direct download links to your Snapshot backup files.
3. From the Stash Live page in BackupBuddy
The last place you can download your Stash page is from within the BackupBuddy plugin, on the Stash Live page, inside your WordPress admin dashboard.
On the BackupBuddy > Stash Live page, you’ll see your Snapshot files listed below the status section. Click the three dot menu to reveal the download link.
How to Create a Manual Snapshot
There are two ways to create a manual Snapshot with Stash Live.
To create a Snapshot of your real-time mirrored files (which include all the latest database changes up to the last second, as well as recently completed file uploads of media, plugin, or theme file changes), do the following:
1. From the Stash Live Page in BackupBuddy
On the Stash Live page inside the BackupBuddy plugin menu, click the Create Manual Snapshot button to begin.
2. From the iThemes Sync dashboard / BackupBuddy Stash
Navigate to the Stash section of the iThemes Sync Panel. Find your site in the listing and click the View Files button to the right of it. In the screen that pops up, click the Create Snapshot button at the upper right.
How to Restore From a Stash Live Snapshot
If something ever goes wrong and you need to restore a backup, you can use your Stash Live snapshots to restore. (Here’s more information on how to restore plugins, themes, WordPress version and individual files with BackupBuddy).
Just note that if you don’t actually have access to your WordPress admin, you may need to use a different method of restoring than the one below. You can read more here: Complete WordPress Website Restore with BackupBuddy: The Ultimate Guide.
- Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard and visit the BackupBuddy > Stash Live page.
2. When hovering over the snapshot you wish to restore, the option to “Copy to Local” will be displayed.
3. Click the Copy to Local option, and the snapshot will be transferred to the BackupBuddy “Backups” page, from where you can restore the Snapshot (i.e. perform a so-called “database rollback”) just as you would with any other backup restoration.
4. Navigate to the Restore Backup tab. You’ll see a Restore button to the right of the Snapshot backup.
5. Once you click Restore, you will see the file(s) begin to process. You can navigate away from the screen while the restore is happening.
How to Upgrade Your BackupBuddy Stash Stash Storage Plan
If you need additional BackupBuddy Stash storage space, you can upgrade through the iThemes cart to add more space. After your purchase, you’ll see more space added for all your backups!
Get BackupBuddy, the 3-in-1 WordPress Backup Plugin
BackupBuddy, our WordPress backup plugin, can backup, restore and migrate your WordPress website to a new host or domain. Then store your backups safely off-site with BackupBuddy Stash, our secure, remote backup storage destination (you get 1GB free with your BackupBuddy subscription!)
Kristen has been writing tutorials to help WordPress users since 2011. You can usually find her working on new articles for the iThemes blog or developing resources for #WPprosper. Outside of work, Kristen enjoys journaling (she’s written two books!), hiking and camping, cooking, and daily adventures with her family, hoping to live a more present life.