How to upgrade from Free UpdraftPlus to UpdraftPlus Premium

How to upgrade from Free UpdraftPlus to UpdraftPlus Premium

When upgrading from your Free version of UpdraftPlus to UpdraftPlus Premium, the process can be a little tricky if it is your first time. As UpdraftPlus Premium is not listed on WP.org, it isn’t as simple as just clicking an upgrade button. But if you follow this easy to use guide, upgrading from UpdraftPlus Free to UpdraftPlus Premium can be quick and easy. 

Step 1.

Assuming you have the free version of UpdraftPlus installed, you need to deactivate and delete the UpdraftPlus free plugin from your WordPress site.

Step 2.

You now need to install the UpdraftPlus Premium plugin. This can be downloaded by following this link. Save the file to your computer.

Step 3.

Next, go to your WordPress site and choose ‘Add New’ plugin. Select the ‘Upload Plugin’ button. Now select the UpdraftPlus Premium file you just downloaded (it can usually be found in the “Download” folder on your PC) and press ‘Open’ and activate.

Step 4.

Your UpdraftPlus Premium plugin should now be installed. Go to ‘Settings’ and you should now see ‘UpdraftPlus Backups’. 

Step 5.

You now need to connect your UpdraftPlus account to the Premium plugin. To do this, go to Premium/Extensions and log in using your UpdraftPlus.com account details and press ‘Connect’. 

Step 6.

You are now connected to UpdraftPlus Premium. To claim any add-ons you may have purchased (such as Azure remote storage backup), remember to press the ‘Activate it on this site’ button, which will allow you to use your purchased add-on feature with your WordPress site.  

Step 7.

Finally, refresh the connection by pressing the below link and you are good to go. All Premium features and add-ons should now be available.

Step 8.

Don’t forget to then go to the UpdraftPlus settings page to set your backup schedule and press the save button at the bottom of the screen!

Download UpdraftPlus Premium today. If you require further detailed instructions, more information can be found here. Be sure to comment and let us know if you have any questions.

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WP-Optimize release latest 3.1.9 update

The latest update for WP-Optimize 3.1.9 has now been released. As well as lots of fixes and tweaks, there are several new features included. The first of these new features is the ‘Power Tweak’. This Premium feature allows you to change the meta_key field length and create a new index. This can significantly speed up database requests on websites with large post_meta tables. Power tweak works by tweaking the table’s schema to enable indexing. 

The second new feature we have included in this release is the ‘Automatic backups’ feature. When using the new automatic backup feature, users can now use UpdraftPlus during scheduled optimizations. As such, database backups with UpdraftPlus can now run before automatic scheduled database optimization. The third new feature in this update is the ‘Keep last X revision’ update. This feature allows you to delete post revisions, but now gives you the option to keep a specified number of revisions. Before this update, users could only keep revisions by time setting only. This change gives users more flexibility and increased safety when making post revisions. . 

The updates to WP-Optimize 3.1.9 are available now and also includes the following:

  • FEATURE: Power Tweak – Change meta_key field length and create new index
  • FEATURE: Premium – Automatic Backups using UpdraftPlus during scheduled optimizations
  • FEATURE: Keep last X revisions
  • FIX: Overlapping header notice in mobile view
  • FIX: Cache – Wildcard not working in cache exclusions
  • FIX: Prevent error in htaccess when mod_header isn’t available
  • FIX: PHP Fatal error on deleting plugin
  • FIX: PHP 8 Issue: loadAsync JS error
  • FIX: RankMath breaks robots.txt
  • TWEAK: Bypass minify when editing translations using TranslatePress
  • TWEAK: Purge minify cache from front end
  • TWEAK: Minify – Prevent cache directory creation while disabled
  • TWEAK: Add Google Fonts API version 2 support
  • TWEAK: Minify – Save all tab content settings changes with single Click
  • TWEAK: Improved optimization preview
  • TWEAK: Filter the list of preloaded URLs
  • TWEAK: Update seasonal notices
  • TWEAK: Bump WP version requirement to 4.5+

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Deaf Awareness Week 2021

Deaf Awareness Week 2021

From the 4th to the 10th of May, it is Deaf Awareness Week in the UK. A week that aims to raise awareness and help challenge the perceptions of those suffering from loss of hearing and deafness in the UK.

When building a WordPress site, it can be all too easy to overlook the various elements of accessibility. Putting together all of your content, plugins and themes can be an overwhelming and time consuming process. As such it is all too easy to forget that there might be elements on your site that could cause an accessibility issue for people with hearing issues. If you want to build the best possible site for your users, designing it for accessibility can be both incredibly helpful and rewarding. 

As we previously covered in our blog, issues like being colour blind can have a big impact on a users ability to properly use a website. In this blog, we will go into what changes you can also make so your site is more usable for those users with hearing issues. 

How do you make a website accessible? 

Website accessibility refers to the practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality. With regards to what issues designers may have to change to accommodate deaf users, lots of websites include introduction videos in their headers for example. Without subtitles, these videos can give no information and can cause frustration for the user. 

The sound of metal text to speech

The recently Oscar winning movie “The Sound of Metal” showed how important assistive technology is for those with hearing loss.

While it may sound like a complicated and difficult task to enact these changes, removing these barriers can be a simple and straightforward process. With just a little effort and time, you can open up your site to a whole new audience.

While there are lots of secondary assistive technologies available for users with disabilities to surf the net, you should always make the effort to ensure that your site meets recommended guidelines that will enable those assistive technologies to help the user.  While there are many more obvious tools to help users with vision issues, the increase in popularity of ‘speech to search’ tools, video sharing, video conferencing and ‘online phone-calls’ shows just how important it is to accommodate users with hearing issues with subtitles/closed captions where available.

How to test your site accessibility

If you make any changes to your site, it is always a good idea to run a test.



One of the best tools to test the accessibility of your WordPress site is the
Accessibility Checker plugin by Equalize Digital. The plugin is free to install and works by scanning your sites content and providing warnings notices in real time when you are editing, to ensure posts/pages are ‘Web Content Accessibility Guidelines’ compliant. The plugin will also tell you which section of your code needs to be changed in order not to trigger the accessibility issue, allowing you to make the necessary adjustments. The pro version has the added functionality of scanning custom post types, open issue list, diagnosed issue log, user accessibility roles and an ‘Accessibility Statement’ for your site.  

Conclusion

While website accessibility for users with visual impairment is a more obvious aspect of a site’s accessibility, making changes that can help those that are hard of hearing can be just as helpful for users navigating your site. Be sure to review your site today and check that there are no elements that are not accessible to the deaf community during Deaf Awareness Week.  

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One year on: The future of remote working

One year on: The future of remote working

A personal reflection on remote working by our marketing manager, Wayne Mullins in the UK.

It has been well over a year now since we all first heard the term ‘Covid-19’ and the world underwent a massive fundamental change to the way we work and live that no one could have seen coming. After just over a year of lockdowns, travel restrictions, nearly 3 million deaths, lost jobs, businesses closed forever; we have also undergone a change in working practices bigger than anything since the advent of the industrial revolution. We have all been thrown into unfamiliar situations and have had to adapt to leaving the traditional office environment behind and change to a new remote working situation. What have we all learned in the last year and what will this mean for the future of office work?

Before Governments all over the world imposed nationwide lockdowns due to Covid – affecting nearly every office based business, employers were generally reluctant to allow those who could or wanted to work from home to do so. 

Thanks for the imposed lockdown, call centre employees – once crammed into cramped and outdated offices by their hundreds to use a PC and headset that could literally be setup in any location with an internet connection, now had the type of work/life balance and freedom that was thought of as impractical and impossible previously. However, there remained a lingering and prevalent sense of the office ‘old-school manager mindset’ that believes workers need constant supervision and direction in order to properly do their jobs. This belief states that employees should always be within shouting distance and there are many managers still operating under the assumption that workers would use the opportunity of home working to skip work and become less productive. 

Now that the global pandemic has forced the flexible working conversation to the forefront of employment relations, industries such as call-centres – that had stuck hard and steadfast to the traditional working pattern – have been forced to reevaluate just how effective the old way of working really was.

No one knew exactly how the great working from home experiment would workout for employees or employers, let alone the kind of impact it would have on the economy. However after much speculation, studies have shown that it has been a huge success. A recent study carried out by Cardiff University and the University of Southampton, found that 70% of respondents were able to work at a level that was just as productive, if not more so while in a working from home situation. The study also found that productivity could be improved by a permanent shift towards remote working, with 9 out of 10 employees eager to continue working from home in some capacity.

The benefits of not spending countless hours every day stuck in a petrol spewing car or a cramped and expensive train are obvious. These changes have also resulted in employees having the opportunity to become ‘accidental savers’ for the first time, while also allowing more time for people to explore personal hobbies and interests, as well as spend valuable time with family. The changes have also helped improve sleep patterns for millions, generally resulting in a happier and harder working workforce. 

A recent survey carried out by TalkTalk revealed that both employees and employers believe that remote working has had a positive impact on productivity. 58% of workers said they felt more productive when working from home, with 30% of business leaders agreeing with this assessment. In addition to this, 35% of leaders also stated that their employees were working more collaboratively from home, as opposed to in the office.

As mentioned previously, the financial savings and positive environmental impact that came from reduced travelling (both international and local) has been massive. Busy commuter work areas such as Dheli and Manhattan have presented preliminary data that air quality had improved during the pandemic. In China, lockdowns and other measures resulted in a 25 percent reduction in carbon emissions and 50 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides emissions, which one Earth systems scientist estimated may have saved at least 77,000 lives over two months. While overly optimistic stories of ‘dolphins and swans returning to Venice’ have been largely debunked as fake viral news, cities like Venice are using this opportunity to make badly needed environmental changes, such as the banning of large cruise ships from the historic center to protect against further flooding and pollution.

While there appears to be many benefits to working from home for employees/employers and the environment, there has of course been a downside to these changes. While Governments and businesses are losing billions due to the exodus from the world’s city centres, the emotional toll has also had a sizable impact on many people.

A recent poll suggested that 40% of UK employees already felt that work was seeping into their home life. But by August of 2020, this figure had shot up to 52%, showing the effect of widespread home working. Workers stated that some have found it difficult to switch off in the evenings, with a quarter of those polled stating that they are working longer hours when at home. For those people with young children, trying to balance home-schooling and childcare duties with remote working has also contributed to a decline in work-life balance.

Moving forward

As the world starts to come out of lockdown and hopefully return to a more ‘normal’ situation, what does this mean for those who have become accustomed to working from home? Many will be reluctant to return to the soul crushing daily commute and expense of travelling to an office, just to stare at the same computer monitor they have been using at home to great success for the past year.

While home working has some issues and challenges that need to be addressed, a recent study by YouGov suggested that many office employees will be reluctant to return back to the traditional 5 days a week of office work. The study stated that only 7% of office workers hope to return to the traditional full-time office working pattern, whilst 20% stated that their preferred option would be to work from home full-time, with 32% opting for a mix of office work and working from home, with the freedom and opportunity to work from home most days. This would allow for a day or two of office work per week in which to conduct face to face matters and build in personal relationships. 

Whatever changes the future brings, it is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has altered the way we live and work to a generational defining degree. Hopefully we will emerge from the experience wise and bolder in our attitudes and behaviour towards working environments and expectations.

While continuing to work from home can still present challenges for many, we have learned some valuable lessons that can be implemented to help improve your home working experience. 

Homeworking improvements 

  • Switching off when the work day is done

One of the main issues reported when home working is being able to separate your home office from your home. When they are the same place, it can be very difficult to mentally flip from work to home mode as the lines of your work/personal life can easily become blurred. This has given to the increased recommendation and use of a dedicated work area and the massive growth in popularity of garden shed offices.

  • Maintaining focus

One of the issues people have struggled most with when working from home is dealing with the constant stream of potential interruptions. Family and children requiring attention and supervision, social media, noisy neighbours, pets, and the call of your smartphone are all doing their best to distract you from work. Setting up hard rules in order to maintain focus can be a difficult and bumpy ride for lots of new working from home employees. Many are still struggling to find a happy medium, even after a year. But as attitudes and work patterns change and start to become the accepted norm, people will learn to adapt fully and learn to block out all the distractions. 

  • Work relationships

It is an inescapable fact that for better or worse, working from home can be a difficult and lonely experience for many people. For many, work colleagues are the only other people they interact with on a daily basis. When you have become accustomed to interacting with a large office full of people every day, suddenly finding yourself isolated – both professionally and personally – can be difficult to deal with. Keeping in touch with your work colleagues on both a professional and personal level can help you maintain a strong sense of being connected and part of a team. Slack chats, WhatsApp group chats, Zoom calls and email chains are all important ways to help you stay in touch while working from home.

  • Change Up Your Working Environment 

Regardless of how well you set up your home work office and how free of distractions it is, looking at the same 4 walls everyday will have a monotonous and negative effect on anyone. Changing your work environment has proved to help improve creativity and productivity. So don’t be afraid to take your laptop into the garden to get some badly needed fresh air and sun, weather permitting of course.

The future

As the vaccine roll-out continues across the world and infection rates fall, many organisations will start to look at what the future of traditional office work will look like. Will companies continue to justify spending millions in property rentals and contribute massive amounts of Co2 emissions, when the great working from home experiment has shown that remote work is both sustainable and productive?

It is likely that now the genie is ‘out of the bottle’, business leaders have realised that long held suspicions that ‘working from home = not working’ are unfounded. Partial or full home working will likely become the latest hard won workers’ right (such as weekends off, sick pay, pensions, maternity leave, paid holidays etc.) to be an expected benefit for applicable jobs. While there will be many that will want to go back to the traditional 5 days in an office working environment, most will weigh up the financial savings and employee demands and continue to offer it as an option. In modern competitive working environments, it will also become essential to compete with other companies offering a home working option. This will likely result in the normalisation of a hybrid working pattern to accommodate employees eager to retain new working from home options afforded to them during the Covid crisis.

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Celebrate World Backup Day with UpdraftPlus

Celebrate World Backup Day with UpdraftPlus

World Backup Day carries a lot of importance for UpdraftPlus. As a WordPress plugin that helps millions of users around the world backup their websites and data daily, we cannot stress the importance of backing up your website and files strongly enough.

Even though the reliability of hard drives, online servers and virus protection has improved greatly in the last few years, many people reading this blog will almost certainly have memories of losing files, Word documents, photos, websites or videos during the early digital age – before reliable, affordable cloud storage and backups were commonplace. While every day is World Backup Day for UpdraftPlus, March 31st serves as a reminder every year that we no longer have to take the very real risk of losing all these important files anymore. A simple backup with UpdraftPlus that takes just a few seconds, can keep your site and files safe for as long as you want them. 

As anyone who has ever used a computer, programme or online service for any period of time will know – crashes, failures, conflicts and viruses are a part of life. It usually isn’t a case of ‘will I encounter a problem?’, rather than ‘when will I encounter a problem?’

As you can imagine, as an organisation that devotes so much time and effort to backups, we have heard countless stories down the years from people all over the world who have lost years of hugely important data and information that they have spent a lot of time and money developing. Thankfully, with UpdraftPlus installed, they were able to restore their site to a previous version and regain access to all their lost content. UpdraftPlus – the world’s leading WordPress backup plugin – can help you make sure that you never have to join the ranks of those unfortunate people who realised all too late, the importance of backing up your website. 

World Backup Day was started in 2001 by digital consultant, Ismail Jadun. This particular day was selected as it is the day before April Fool’s day. Ismail felt that people would associate the connection with April Fools Day, as it was hoped that potentially losing all your files and work would feel like being victim of a particularly bad prank.

On March 31st, it is encouraged that people all over the world share the backup pledge: “I solemnly swear to backup my important documents and precious memories on World Backup Day, March 31st.”

UpdraftPlus has a range of backup packages to suit all of your backup needs. Installed by over 3 million users all over the world, our easy-to-use interface allows you to backup and restore your website with a single click. You can also set the schedule to backup automatically as often as you like, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to backup your site manually and will always have a recent upload of your site ready to go – should the worst happen. 

Download UpdraftPlus today for the most secure, reliable and highly rated WordPress backup plugin.

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How to fix UpdraftPlus failed backups

How to fix UpdraftPlus failed backups

UpdraftPlus is the world’s most popular and leading WordPress backup plugin, with over 3 million active installs. Users all over the world are using UpdraftPlus to safely and securely backup their WordPress sites, files and databases should they ever need to restore their site if the worst happens. As with any plugin, programme or piece of software, issues can arise when trying to carry out a function, such as when creating a backup. In this blog we will go through the most common reasons that you may be causing failed backups and how to fix them. 

  • Update plugin / Plugin conflict 

Probably the most common issue a user of UpdraftPlus would run into is not having an up to date version of UpdraftPlus. While older versions will still work, problems and conflicts can be caused by not keeping your plugins up to date. If you are having a problem with the backup of your site not completing, always check to make sure you have the latest version of UpdraftPlus installed first.

Another issue you could potentially face is if a new plugin you recently installed is causing a conflict with UpdraftPlus. Deactivate any new plugins and try backing up again. Common causes of conflicts are plugins loading their own versions of JavaScript libraries or cloud storage APIs on the UpdraftPlus page. These can prevent UpdraftPlus from starting a backup or uploading the backup files to remote storage.

  • Not connected to remote storage location / Remote storage full

An update to your remote storage location, such as a change of password or folder structure, could potentially be the cause of any issues you may be having, when trying to back up to remote storage.

To check if this could be the problem, try verifying and resaving your remote storage settings. For cloud storage services which use OAuth verification (such as Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive), you may need to re-authenticate with your storage account

To reconnect to your remote storage location, go through the full ‘add remote storage’ option again at UpdraftPlus > Settings. Here you can re-authenticate to your remote storage account of choice.

Remember to click the ‘Save changes’ button and then attempt another backup.

As with any remote storage location, there is a finite amount of space. The reason that your backup is failing to complete could be that there is not enough space for UpdraftPlus to save the files to. Check your remote storage space and delete files or purchase extra space if necessary.

  • Backup files too big – Reduce the backup archive split size to 100Mb or lower

Aside from the above issues users of UpdraftPlus may encounter, such as not having the remote storage location properly setup, the most common technical reasons for a backup failing to complete is that you are trying to backup a file that is too large to upload or the file on the server is too large to process. 

In the situation where the file is too large to upload, this can be caused by some plugins creating databases or files that are many hundreds of MB large. These large files can cause UpdraftPlus to time out and not complete the backup. You should always aim to reduce the backup archive split size to 100MG or lower if possible. 

To reduce the archive split size, open the ‘Expert settings’ section of the UpdraftPlus Settings tab.

In the ‘Split backups every’ option, set it to 100Mb. Remember to press the “Save changes” button at the bottom of the page and then run a test backup. 

If you have a large file on your site that cannot be split up as it is a single file (such as a large video file), it is recommended increasing the PHP time limit (and possible memory limit)

To increase the PHP time limit, you need to edit the ‘wp-config.php’ file on your WordPress site. This file is located in your WordPress site’s root folder, which can be accessed via an FTP client or file manager in your web hosting control panel.

Open this file in a text editor, paste below code in the ‘wp-config.php’ file just before the line says ‘That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.’

set_time_limit(300);

Remember to save your changes and upload the wp-config.php file back to your server. This new code will tell your server to increase the PHP time limit to 300.

Refresh your site and attempt another backup. You can increase the time limit again if needed.

Additionally, you can also try increasing the memory limit. The process is very similar to the time limit and requires you  to edit the wp-config.php file on your WordPress site. This file is located in your WordPress site’s root folder, which can be accessed via an FTP client or file manager in your web hosting control panel.

Paste the following code in the ‘wp-config.php’ file just before the line that says ‘That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.’

define( ‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’ );

This new code will increase the PHP memory limit to 256MB for your WordPress site. Once done, remember to save your changes. Open your WordPress site again after making the changes and hopefully, you will now be able to complete your backup.

If the file is just too large and keeps causing problems, you can also exclude this particular file from the backup process. We also recommend using a WordPress cleaning plugin to help reduce the size of any large databases or files you may be trying to backup. WP Optimize is a free and highly rated plugin from UpdraftPlus that can be used to clean up your database.

  • Hosts/server issues

If the issue of large files was the cause of the backups failing, it could point towards a problem with your backup server, such as very low server resources available from your web-hosting platform. Selecting a higher level hosting platform could help your website backup easier and quicker, as it will be dedicating more resources to your website.

If there are still issues with your backup not completing, there could be other issues with your host/server. In order to ascertain what these may be, we would recommend that you ask the UpdraftPlus support team to investigate your PHP error logs. These logs will hopefully contain more information on the exact issues that are causing the non-completion of backup problems. 

To find the file, you will need FTP access to the server for a PHP log (also applied to remote storage). For WP Debug log which will contain the error information, it can be found at the following location

The following plugin: WP-File Manager will help you find the files with the extra information you require. 

  • Broken scheduler 

If scheduled backups are failing to start or backups freeze partway, it could indicate there is an issue with the scheduler within your WordPress installation. “Backup Now” starts the backup without the scheduler, but uses the scheduler to schedule a resumption of the job in case it needs more than the amount of time that the webserver allows in one go. Problems with the scheduler will affect any scheduled backup plugin that you try – as well as various other tasks that WordPress and other plugins schedule internally.

For a full and extensive list of what broken scheduler issues can entail and how to fix them, please view this link. This page goes into detail on how to fix the following:

  1. Maintenance mode
  2. No visitors
  3. Disabled schedulers
  4. Loopback connections are not working
  5. External cron jobs
  6. Password protected websites

If you are still having issues after having tried all the above fixes, please contact us via our customer support form and we will do our best to help you resolve the problem.

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