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.’


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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