When WP Remote was rebooted in January 2012 it launched with unlimited free hosted backups under a beta label. We offered the backup feature free as we were experimenting with the implementation. Backups were stored on Amazon S3, sites had unlimited backups though the backups had to be manual so bandwidth was largely kept under control.

The problem with backups of this nature is they continue to grow in storage per site, as people rarely delete old backups which means every month the price to support stored backups can only go up, and up. As we currently don’t have the mechanism to charge for hosted backups, we are planning to remove stored backups from WP Remote. We will however keep the backup feature, but the backup will be downloaded directly to your computer upon complete.

We found in the majority of cases we needed to use backups before a WordPress upgrade, major code change or site migration. These use cases do not require a long term backup solution, only to get a copy of the site before making a large change. If anything goes wrong then one still needs to download the backup from WP Remote, we are just switching that process to require the download first.

The main motivator here however was not the price of supporting backups, as many people may have experienced the taking backup process can often have difficulties with transferring a site backup to Amazon S3, and the multistep process that goes with that. With the replaced “Download Backup” feature (shown below), the success rate on backups will be much higher.

 


This will result in all currently stored backups being deleted on 1st October 2012, you can log in to WP Remote and download all your backups with one button, or just download any you specifically need and delete the others.
In the future, we are planning to integrate payments for enterprise level features which managed backups may be a part of, though we can not say in exactly what capacity, most likely this is where (finally) we will support 3rd party Amazon S3 accounts.
Ultimately we currently have 2 problems with backups, 1: they cost us a non-significant amount of bandwidth, and we currently have no way to charge for them; 2: they are not currently all that stable. We are working on a better solution to these problems, so in the mean time – it’s direct download backups only.