VaultPress is a premium, subscription-based security and backup service for individuals and businesses who rely on WordPress to manage their website content. Developed by Automattic, the same company who gave us the Akismet and Jetpack plugins, VaultPress is billed as the only backup service you’ll need when maintaining a self-hosted WordPress installation.
In this review, I take a look at how to install and activate VaultPress, examine its dashboard, see what it’s like to use and how it compares to iTheme Backup Buddy. I will also touch on what support is available and provide a final wrap up.
The installation of VaultPress is typical of most plugins that are intended for self-hosted WordPress websites. You can either download it directly from WordPress.org and then FTP it to your WordPress website or install it through the plugins panel of your administrative dashboard. I chose to install it through the dashboard and attempted to activate it when the following message popped up:
VaultPress needs your attention! You must enter your registration key before VaultPress can back up and secure your site. Register VaultPress
I clicked the Register VaultPress link and it sent me to the purchase page. At that point I consulted the friendly support staff via chat as to the possibility of testing the software without having to actually purchase it and they were very helpful. They sent me directly to their Try VaultPress page to receive the first month free. Although I still had to provide my credit card information and complete a purchase for $0, I was in business.
On the Try VaultPress page, there are three plans ranging in price from $5 to $40 a month. For my testing, I chose the premium plan to get the full experience of what the service was like to use. Premium includes realtime backups, automated restores, a full backup archive, priority safekeeper support and daily security scans. Basic lacks the Priority Safekeeper support and the daily security scans. The cheapest of the three, Lite, offers daily versus realtime backups, 30-day backup archive versus full backup archive, safekeeper support versus priority safekeeper support (Premium) and no security scans versus daily security scans (Premium).
After successfully registering VaultPress, I found that Automattic has two other package deals that I believe are for existing customers, including Lite + Akismet Business for $9/mo. and VaultPress Premium + Akismet Business for $29/mo. Although Akismet for Business is out of the scope of this review, it’s something to think about if your considering VaultPress in any configuration. Again, these changes can be made by accessing your account once it’s created through the subscriptions & billing area accessible from the dashboard.
Once registration is complete, VaultPress goes right to work creating an initial backup of everything, including current uploads, plugins, themes and database tables. My test site took about 3 minutes from beginning to end for the initial backup.To be fair, it was clean install with little if any content. I would assume a typical WordPress website with even a moderate amount of content would take measurably longer to perform an initial backup. I appreciated that once the backup was complete, it sent me an email to let me know my website was in the vault and safe.
The dashboard provides general statistics on backups, snapshots and activity occurring within your website. To access anything more than cursory information, I was consistently guided to visit the VaultPress dashboard hosted by VaultPress.com. More familiarity than anything else, I quickly became accustomed to it and did not find it a hurdle whatsoever.
In addition, I was able to set up remote access (notice with yellow background) using FTP access allowing VaultPress to access my server. A great feature especially if you need assistance from VaultPress technicians available on all plans with priority to Premium subscribers.
The VaultPress Dashboard externally hosted at VaultPress.com is neatly organized into five main sections accessible through the most used links of Activity, Stats, and Settings. But don’t let its simplicity fool you. It is chocked full of useful information that you can easily browse through. From a full activity summary to stats to the full suite of settings that allow you to fine tune the VaultPress configurations to your liking, the dashboard design makes it easy to do just about anything you need to.
A quick tour of the dashboard will demonstrate how easy it is to get in, get things done, and get out with the least amount of hunting.
The site dashboard provides the bare minimum of information but all you really need for a quick status check. You can access the additional five sections through the three most common Activity, Stats and Settings.
The dashboard includes a Backups section that runs routinely when changes occur on the site and can be made on demand as well. Restoring to a previous backup is as simple as a click of a button. On my tests the restore function worked flawlessly every time for both textual content and media.
The Security section is a clean intuitive providing a scan option as well as a list of potential threats that have been detected. My security scan tests took an average of just a tad over 3.5 minutes. I’d like to note however that my test site only contained a handful of posts and pages. I would assume as those numbers grow, so too will the time for the security scans to complete.
In Stats you get a handy snapshot of data including the identification of the most productive and popular day and time.
The Activity section provides a complete log of all activity by the VaultPress system. A good quick check for any potential problems.
The Settings area includes a number of server connections that, according to the documentation, increases VaultPress efficiency and improves support response times.
Backup Buddy Comparison
As a longtime user of Backup Buddy I can say that it has almost never let me down. I’ve found it reliable and fairly easy to use. However, I have had times where I have built substantial ecommerce sites that deal with a great many images. The sites grew so big in fact that BackupBuddy routinely timed out. Now I’m sure I could have tinkered with it enough to make it work but the thought of eliminating the hassle altogether is pretty attractive. Due to time constraints and costs I wasn’t able to put VaultPress through a similar test, but its sure got me wondering.
Documentation & Support
VaultPress has a myriad of support avenues including a very simple help page for basic questions as well as an FAQ section that covers even more information for the first-time user. There is also a contact page for general questions as well as a contact page on the VaultPress dashboard that you can use from your account that provides even faster service. Lastly, if you’re online during business hours, try chatting with the fine folks at VaultPress. In my experience, they’ve always been straight up and more than helpful.
To put it simply, working with VaultPress was a real pleasure. It did all that it said it would do and never failed during the my test period. The most challenging part about my review was the initial setup and familiarization of how it worked. After that, it was smooth sailing from the one-click restores to the security scans to the server connectivity. For those wondering which plan would suit them best, I would say go with as much as your budget will allow and move up from there.
In an age where backups and security are becoming a paramount importance, you can’t really put an amount on the peace of mind you’ll gain by going with VaultPress. Instead of wondering if your site is safe and secure, you’ll be able to focus more on writing and creating an online presence you want.