BackupBuddy: Installation

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BackupBuddy can be uploaded, activated and used just like any other WordPress plugin. While BackupBuddy can back up both stand-alone WordPress sites and Multisite installations, it is normally activated differently (strongly recommended!) on a Multisite network.

  • Remember:
    • STANDALONE SITES are individual WordPress installations that are not part of a Multisite Network.
    • MULTISITE NETWORKS refers to the entire Multisite Network installation. Within a Network there are both individual site admin panels as well as a Network Admin panel which controls the overall network and allows you manage global settings.
    • MULTISITE SITES (or subsites) refer to INDIVIDUAL SITES inside a MULTISITE. This includes the main base site of a network.
    • The term MULTISITE is used loosely by WordPress to refer to EITHER Multisite Networks OR Multisite Sites OR both. We will try to be as specific as possible for any explanations.
  • Detailed info on what Multisite is

Standalone Sites

Standalone Sites are any WordPress sites where Multisite is NOT activated nor used in any manner.

Upload BackupBuddy on Standalone Site

You can upload BackupBuddy on any Standalone (non-Multisite) site just like any other plugin.

  • (Preferred) You can use the WordPress --> Plugins --> Add New --> Upload feature to upload the zip file.
    Note: This is the preferred method as WordPress handles the process for you and if there are problems during the installation WordPress will back out gracefully and should provide information that will help you determine the cause of the problem.
  • You can unzip the BackupBuddy zip file on your computer and then upload the BackupBuddy folder via FTP to your wp-content/plugins directory.
    Note: This method can be used if you have a problem with the preferred method that cannot be resolved or that will take too long to resolve or that you simply don't want to resolve. Be sure to pay particular attention to the upload logs from your desktop FTP client (check in the client help for details of how to enable/find the logs) to make sure there are no problems—FTP uploads every file individually and (if it can) will continue with further files even if it encounters a problem with a file and may not always make it obvious that a problem was encountered so it is possible to end up with an incomplete installation unless you are careful (this applies to any plugin/theme installed this way).
  • You can use cPanel to upload the plugin to wp-content/plugins directory and then extract it.

Activate BackupBuddy on Standalone Site

  • You can activate BackupBuddy like any other plugin.
    • Visit your WordPress --> Plugins area.
    • Activate BackupBuddy.

BackupBuddy is now installed and ready to use on your Standalone site. Congratulations!


Installing BackupBuddy on Multisite is different than installing BackupBuddy on Standalone (non-Multisite) sites.

Upload BackupBuddy on Multisite

  • When it comes to Multisite, you upload BackupBuddy as if it were any other plugin being uploaded to Multisite.
    • (Preferred) You can use the WordPress --> Plugins --> Add New --> Upload feature to upload the zip file. This will ONLY work when you're logged in as the Network Administrator on the top Network site.
    • You can extract the BackupBuddy zip file on your computer and then uplaod the BackupBuddy folder via FTP to your wp-content/plugins directory.
    • You can use cPanel to upload the plugin to wp-content/plugins directory and then extract it.

Activating BackupBuddy on Multisite

  • Activating BackupBuddy on Multisite is different than activating BackupBuddy on Standalone Sites.
  • You must NETWORK ACTIVATE. Do not activate on subsites.
    • Log into the main site's Network Admin login area as a Network Administrator.
    • In WordPress go to the "Plugins" page.
    • Select the "Network Activate" link under BackupBuddy on the Plugins page.
      • Add the following code into your wp-config.php file, between the first line <?php and the line near the end that says /* That's all, stop editing. Happy Blogging */:
        • define( 'PB_BACKUPBUDDY_MULTISITE_EXPERIMENT', true );
      • This will enable BackupBuddy for all sites in the Network.
      • This will allow ONLY the TOP NETWORK ADMIN by default to be able to backup all sites in the Network.
      • Each site admin (the user level below NETWORK ADMIN) can still export and backup their own single sites (if default setting is left enabled).

Additional Information

Commonly Encountered Problems

The most commonly encountered problems during upload (and how to address them) are:

  • The PHP upload_max_filesize configuration parameter is set too low
    On a lot of hosting this defaults to 2M which is generally too low these days—either refer to your host support for details on how to increase this to a more reasonable value (8M is a good choice) or use the second FTP based upload method;
  • Not enough disk space
    This can happen for any of the upload methods but will be more or less obvious dependent on the method. When using the preferred method WordPress will usually indicate a problem with unzipping or with copying a file and will back out gracefully. When using the FTP upload it may just stop as if complete without indicating any problem which is why you need to check the FTP client upload logs. In either case you need to make more space available by deleting any unwanted stuff or by increasing your disk quota.
    Note: You need to have enough disk space for your backups so unless you only intend to make Database Only backups you should take this opportunity to make sufficient space available to be able to make the backups you require—so you need at least as much again as the size of your WordPress site to be able to make a Full backup along with some headroom but generally you will want to give yourself much more than that to allow for multiple backups and an expanding site.

Video Tutorial

See also

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