VaultPress: The Only WordPress Plugin You Actually Need

I spend a lot of time working with WordPress, both on client sites and my own projects. I’ve been an avid user of WordPress for around seven or eight years. In that time, I’ve used hundreds, possibly thousands, of plugins.

The only plugin that I can honestly say is a must have is VaultPress. I want to be clear that the link I just provided is not an affiliate link. I am getting exactly $0 for endorsing VaultPress.

No one asked me to write about it.

I’ll also say that I highly recommend other plugins like W3 Total Cache, WordPress SEO by Yoast, and Akismet. They’re all amazing plugins that do a lot to improve WordPress.

VaultPress is the only plugin that I believe is essential.

What is VaultPress?

VaultPress is a premium plugin from Automattic that seamlessly provides realtime, continuous backup and synchronization of every post, comment, media file, revision and dash­board settings. It’s been around for three years, but only recently added a Lite plan with a price point of only $5 per site per month.

The Lite plan provides automatic daily backup, rather than real-time. For the vast majority of sites that I find myself working on, though, daily backup is more than adequate.

Absolutely worth the cost. No question about it.

It’s been out for three years, why am I writing about it now?

I’d never had to put VaultPress to the test. It’s always been one of those things that I just set-and-forget.

Until last week.

I had been working on a new custom post type for a clients site that was running on a framework that I really, really hate (Not Genesis or Thesis. I won’t name them here, but if you follow me on Twitter you may know who I’m talking about). They have little-to-no documentation, terrible support, and everything is a million times more convoluted than doing things the WordPress way.

Now custom post types are something I’ve done a thousand times or more. I use them on every project that I can, because I like the way they help keep things nicely organized and they work just work really well within the normal flow of WordPress.

So after spending far more time than I should have fighting the framework to get everything set up, tested on two different staging sites, and all the data entered, I exported the .xml data and prepared to make the transition.

Needless to say, I was flustered.

Everything went smoothly until importing the full set of .xml data. It asked me to update the database, which I knew was a bad idea, but at that point I didn’t have much of a choice. As soon as that happened, I knew I was in trouble.

I’m still not sure exactly what happened (and it may not have even been the frameworks fault), but as soon as I imported the .xml file, the database essentially bit the dust.

User permissions were completely reset. The theme was reset. Pages and posts were gone. Everything.


For a minute, I was in complete panic; but I remembered that I had just set them up on VaultPress a couple of weeks prior. So I logged into their VaultPress account, clicked the “Restore” button and in a few minutes everything was back up and running.

It was a valuable lesson. One worth far more than what VaultPress costs.

(Side note: I haven’t tried to replicate the issue, but I think it may have had something to do with importing data into database fields that hadn’t yet been registered by the post type. So if I had entered a few manually before importing, I may have been okay.)

Jon Bellah

Jon is a Web Engineer at 10up. When he isn't tinkering and obsessing over code, Jon enjoys cycling, beer league hockey, and plotting world domination. You can find him on Twitter at @JonBellah.

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  • Eduard Eisenrith

    VaultPress technic is awesome, but the best which you didn’t experience, are the VP-guys backstage, who manage to help in a very rapid, professionell and kind way in dirty and complicated situations even when the VP-Backup-Button doesn’t work anymore. Nevertheless wishing you never need them ;-)