VaultPress – Not An Option For Non-Profit MultiSite Installations?

VaultPress is a cool security service by Automattic, but if you take a look at the pricing and plans, some may think that this is the luxury line of data safekeeping. However, tons of people that have had to utilize the restoration feature of VaultPress say it’s worth every penny. Boles has a non-profit WordPress multi-site installation with about 14 sub-domains under its belt. VaultPress supports multi-site but if the subscription is for the main site, only the main sites files and data will be backed up, sub-sites will be ignored. In order to backup everything, each site within the multi-site installation needs their own individual subscription. As you can imagine, it wouldn’t take long for that to be expensive. As David W Boles points out in his article, it would be nice to see VaultPress come up with some sort of plan that allows non-profits the ability to backup their main site along with their satellite sites for a much more affordable price. I’m not sure how VaultPress would be able to verify whether a multi-site installation is non-profit or not without paperwork validation but it certainly seems like this is a missed oppurtunity market segment for VaultPress.

This is the world of WordPress which means there are alternatives when it comes to safekeeping your data. A relatively new service called BackupPress performs many of the same functions as VaultPress but at a much more affordable price. In fact, taking a look at their comparison page, they support WordPress multi-site at just 25$ per year. At the time of publishing this article, I couldn’t locate any specific text that states restrictions similar to VaultPress in that each sub-domain within a multi-site network would need it’s own subscription. Hopefully, a representative from the service will stop by the comments section and fill us in on the details.


26 responses to “VaultPress – Not An Option For Non-Profit MultiSite Installations?”

  1. Hey Jeffro!

    We absolutley appreciate the shoutout, especially since BackupPress is about to exit beta (at which point price becomes $50/year btw). At this stage, BackupPress pricing is based on per-blog, so multi-site would be priced similarly to VaultPress (ie: charged for each blog), but this post has the team here noodling on if we can have a specific multisite license, or a non-profit license…

    Would love to hear the community’s feedback on this. Our goal is to keep the plugin so simple anyone can use it, but if this is an area of demand then we absolutely want to help! As an example, we heard from many folk in the community that file size was a big issue with many plugins, so the new version supports files well in excess of 100MB (we’ve tested up to 500MB, but some of that is host specific).

    In short, if this is an area of need, we want to help! Feel free to say to let us know!

  2. VaultPress can charge a premium because they are Automattic, although I suspect they may be making a mistake in not offering some form of bulk or usage-based pricing – the majority of self-hosted WordPress installations out there are not big, regularly updated blogs in the sense that we usually expect but, rather, much smaller micro-niche sites, usually part of a big network of similar sites. Such sites would not justify a $15 a month but there are a LOT of them, much richer market overall if you get the pricing right.

    ManageWP, with its updating features, is arguably better than VaultPress if you are willing to pay for the “Professional Package” (which is the first to include backup features) but their decision to abandon the pricing they suggested during the beta period, and to instead target the same high-end market as VaultPress, that alienated a lot of beta testers and killed most of the buzz that should have accompanied their launch – I originally believed that ManageWP would be the blockbuster hit of 2012 and fundamentally change the WordPress landscape, I even gave a talk along those lines at WordUp Edinburgh, unaware of their imminent change in strategy.

    ManageWP is still an excellent service if your individual sites are large enough to justify their per-site pricing, but they messed up on pricing overall and failed to capitalize on being the first service of that type. While I am sure that they are making plenty of money, you still don’t see that much buzz about ManageWP on Twitter or in blog comments. That leaves them vulnerable from above to VaultPress introducing similar features and, of course, even more vulnerable from below to someone creating something similar enough but getting the pricing right and capturing the vast swathes of micro site networks.

    Whoever is the first to get real scale will ultimately win the whole ball game because lots of users earns you the cooperation you need to get commercial plugin and theme authors to join your updating system and, of course, that opens the door to the future possibility of becoming a trusted platform for the sale of plugins and themes, a hugely lucrative opportunity that is, surprising, still wide open.

    So, services such as BackupPress could have a very bright future but they need to stay realistic about how they actually stack up against VaultPress in terms of overall impression and to remember three things:

    1. The most important thing is to remain as competitive as possible in terms of both pricing and features, worry about cashing in AFTER you have your first million users.

    2. Don’t make the mistake of hiring expensive marketing idiots who will persuade you to increase your prices so that they can have an advertising budget to play with. Offer such good value that your users will be your evangelists, that is the only marketing that really works.

    3. Never forget that the potential market is absolutely massive and, once you have scale, the range of further opportunities will be mind-blowing. Don’t settle for merely being profitable, go for the real prize and build a business that really makes a difference. As Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos, once said “Whatever you’re thinking, think bigger”.

  3. Donnacha, would love to walk you through the future of BackupPress as well as 23press overall. I think, based on your comment, that you’ll like where we’re headed. Feel free to add me on skype (jeremy_wright) or drop me an email ( :)


  4. As someone who manages multiple Multisite installations, I’m here to tell you the current per-site pricing structure for VaultPress is prohibitively expensive. The challenge for us Multisite users is that the market share of Mutisite installs is probably too small to justify alternate pricing.

    While I’m sure VP is a fabulous service, paying an additional $15 per month for backups and such is hard to justify for smaller sites when shared hosting packages are typically less than 2/3 that price. The $25 per year that BackupPress is charging is definitely more appealing. I’ll have to take a look at their service.

    I’m with Donnacha, whichever company figures out how to provide excellent backup and security at a price that fits the hosting market (and has scales pricing to fit Multisite installs) will probably make a bundle.

  5. Guys, just curious what you feel the right pricing structure would be. There is an increased cost to us for additional sites, but it is NOT the retail price of the plugin.

    At the same time, we want to keep pricing very, very simple. So far, how we’ve done this is as volume discounting (of up to 90% off). Combined with annual payments, this can mean for folk with dozens or hundreds of installs, the per-site cost is under $2/month (or lower in the case of a recent price for 2,000 sites).

    Very open to thoughts!

  6. No disrespect to the guys at BackupPress but I wouldn’t trust something as important as securing my details and relying on them in an emergency.
    I checked their site and, apart from the dead links in the footer, I couldn’t find any business related details. Who are they, what’s their registration details? Where are they based?
    How do I know that any information I give them is secure? How do I know that I can rely on them?

    I see the link with 23press but even their terms and privacy links lead to 404 pages.

    There is a need for a quality service like this and if these guys get it right they could join the marketplace very nicely.

    I’ll not be putting my trust in them just yet.

  7. @Jeremy Wright – if the increased cost to you of additional sites is mostly or entirely the Amazon S3 cost, consider creating a tier in which you charge for actual usage or, even smarter, allow bulk users to hook up their own AWS accounts and let them pay that directly to Amazon.

    The goal would not necessarily be to profit from the big fish but, rather, to win them as long-term users who:

    1. Will influence others to become your customers.

    2. Will evangelize your future offerings.

    3. Will not fund your direct competitors.

    4. Will probably be experienced WordPress users who will not soak up your time with newbie support questions but, rather, will provide invaluable feedback and ideas.

    Keep pricing very simple at the entry level, certainly, but it is okay to have a more tailored approach at the level where people have dozens or even hundreds of sites. Create a special, break-even pond for the big fish to swim into and they will bring, in their wake, lots of smaller fish to fill up your simple, entry-level ponds.

    Always be aware of what your competitors offer in terms of value (as opposed to simply price). For instance, BackupBuddy is a mature plugin with lots of users (enhancing its credibility, a value in itself) and the ability to not only backup WordPress (both SingleSite and MultiSite) but also cloning, an increasingly important feature. ServerPress makes it easy to migrate sites from your server to your desktop for local development before deploying back to your server again. ManageWP makes it easy to backup and update all your sites at once. offers backed up WordPress hosting with fully-automated upgrades etc.

    Lots of different teams are tackling essentially the same problems from different angles, what you have to figure out is how to addresses the problems of managing WordPress in a way that adds sufficient unique value that people choose your solution over others.

    Personally, in terms of branding, I would not place sole emphasis on backup because, although it is of central importance, your feature set will inevitably gravitate towards doing much more and, anyway, you really need to have the .COM of your name if you want to be taken seriously.

  8. Everything iv read about VaultPress here resonates my feelings very well

    As soon as I saw the pricing when i first heard about it, I knew it would not be viable for me.

    I was also very excited about ManageWP – the way I work and the volume of WP installs I run and administer for others, it reallllly ticks all boxes. but as already has been said, it seemed to price itself out of my reach as soon as it was launched properly. which I was really disappointing by to be honest

    Now BackupPress is a new one to me (thanks for the heads up) and looks like VERY good value indeed! Ill be signing up soon methinks.

  9. Lee, no insult taken, but as a note the 23press team has been in the industry for a LONG time. I was the CEO and founder at b5media which, while small since I left, grew to the second largest blog network in the world (north of 40mm monthly readers) and the largest WordPress install outside of the infrastructure. Know the automattic team from back in the day well.

    I’ve spoken at dozens of WordCamp’s, wrote the first business book on social media and am a regular and active participant in the community.

    Terry, our CTO and the other founder at 23press was lead dev at b5, has contributed gobs of code and is a recognized expert for what he’s built. And our advisory board is made up of folk like Aaron Brazell and other folk we’ve known for years

    We will absolutely work on site issues, but given choice between bugs and site tweaks we tend to choose fixing bugs while we are pushing to move from beta to production!

    Hope this helps a touch, the reason we are excited is that this IS our community and we are looking forward to helping make managing blogs for average bloggers a LOT easier over the next year!


  10. Hey Lee, absolutely fair comment on broken links. Reality is that with a small team, we daily prioritize bug fixes so we can get out of beta over site structure elements. We’re releasing two products next week, and most site issues (fingers crossed) SHOULD be fixed by then.

    As far as the team, that’s an easy one to answer. I was founder and CEO at b5media which, while not big now, was the second largest blog network in the world (40MM monthly readers) and the largest WordPress install outside of for the longest time. Know the old school team at Automattic well from those days, and have spoken at dozens of WordCamps. Also wrote the first business book on social media, and have invested in several of the larger WP companies out there :)

    Terry, the other founder and our CTO, was lead dev at b5, has contributed gobs of code and plugins and is widely recognized as one of the best WP devs out there.

    Our advisory board includes top folk in the community, including Aaron Brazell (WordPress Bible, WPEngine, b5media) and a whole host of others.

    In short, this is OUR community, and the reason we’re releasing the products we are releasing is to make the management of WP for regular WordPress users a crap tonne (technical term) easier so folk can just get back to the fun stuff.

    Those tools will get rolled out to devs and hosts as well, but our first priority is average users. Hence BackupPress’s pricing because as many people have noted in the comments: who wants to pay more for backups than they do for hosting?

    Either way, have included my contact info above Lee, so feel free to look me up or just reach out. Apologies that the sites don’t meet your expectations yet, but I hope they will by the time this month’s three products launch!


  11. @Jeremy

    Lee is absolutely right, first impressions are hugely important, an unfinished site exposes a lack of attention to detail and that kills, stone dead, any trust people might have in your ability to provide an important service.

    Forget priorities (plural), either make finishing your website your only priority this weekend or stick up a “Coming Soon” notice until you are actually ready to go public.

    Working on multiple services at the same time is a questionable practise, even for large companies, but launching them before they are even at MVP stage is just plain nuts. Don’t let people write you off this early as amateurs.

    Sorry if that sounds harsh but you’ve got to be careful not to start believing your own excuses.

  12. We do a two tier approach to backing up sites:

    1. We have our hosts back up our servers daily to a local store.
    2. We run a system that grabs all files and the DB and keeps a copy on our office server.

    For number 2 you can use custom scripts of systems like SiteVault. Either way, the costs quickly come down.

    VaultPress is terrific value if you have one or two sites on WP. But if you have a lot of sites it does look rather expensive. It’s also time consuming if you need to repair a large multi-sites instance of WP.

    The other big advantage of VaultPress is that it requires few skills to work with, whereas our approach demands some understanding of servers, hosting and DBs. That knowledge costs money. We have it, but some people don’t – for them VaultPress is a sweet solution.

  13. I have lots of (mostly development) sites, but use almost no file storage. IMHO, paying a multisite per-site fee equivalent to the single-site fee is rather ridiculous, because I incur essentially zero additional cost for each additional multisite network site.. It only exists currently because the managed-backup market is so immature, and no competition has arisen to challenge it.

    As Donnacha points out: once a competitor comes up with a more appropriate model, that competitor will make a killing.

    The primary differences between single-site and multisite installs:

    1. Database size: more tables, larger DB size for multisite
    2. File storage: potential file-storage for /wp-content/blogs.dir than for /wp-content/uploads.

    The costs incurred for #1 ought to be essentially negligible, and yet they constitute the bulk of the value for the end user. The costs incurred for #2 are directly proportional to the number of sites supported, but in bulk, those costs are pretty low.

    So, what I would like to see:

    1. Flat-rate annual subscription cost, for single site or multisite network (e.g. $25/yr, $50/yr, whatever…)
    2. Per-usage cost for file storage, charged per-GB of storage

    I would pay for this service/pricing model in a heartbeat. I daresay that lots of people would pay for this service/pricing model in a heartbeat.

  14. Also, I just signed up for the service, and realized that I can’t really use it. My main site has 17.5GB of file storage, and the BackupPress service is limited to 5GB.

    Really? 5GB? Fair enough; but shouldn’t that be mentioned somewhere before paying for the service and installing the Plugin?

    (Please say there are plans to increase that 5GB limit?)

  15. Chip, truly sorry, we’re actually just releasing a 20GB plan as we speak for $10/month (ie: $5/month more for 4x the storage). What I’ll do, since it wasn’t clear, is up your plan to the 20GB limit at the $5 charge, as it wasn’t at all your fault that this wasn’t clear.

    Also, we’re adding this “Pro” plan to the website as we speak.

    Can you email me at with your account email address and I’ll get this done ASAP? Your first backup will still run just fine (we absorb the hit on this in case users don’t know how much data they have) ,so you shouldn’t experience any interruption in service at all!

  16. @Jeremy:

    Thanks; I appreciate that!

    Out of curiosity: what will the annual rate for the 20GB plan be? I’m guessing $100/yr, since the base plan is $50/yr ($25/yr beta)?

    One final nitpick: Can you please put the admin menu entry somewhere appropriate, such as under “Tools?” There is no reason for BackupPress to have its own top-level menu entry.

    I realize that BackWPUp does it, JetPack does it, W3 Total Cache does it, Contact Form 7 does it, Sociable does it, NextGen Gallery does it… but not a single one of these Plugins needs a top-level menu entry. I use every one of these Plugins, and my top-level menu is a mess. At least with Mark Jaquith’s Menu Humility Plugin I can force all of these extra top-level menu items to the bottom.

  17. Now that the tech team is getting that bug fixed and site updated, wanted to address the multisite thing. First and foremost, completely agreed this is something we want to solve. The way we look at it is likely different (which might make us wrong!), but boils down to:

    Allowing people who are running one group of sites (universities with student sites, for example) to have a *fair* price, while not giving pricing that is too low to people who simply run sites for others (ie: devs who have 100 client sites).

    The reason for this isn’t because we want to be asshats who charge as much as possible (if we were, we wouldn’t have the prices for the features that we do), but about the fact that there is an additional cost for certain types of sites, while other sites have a basically nominal cost.

    As an example, the fake university above may have additional integration or reporting requirements (which we do for some customers on a one-off basis), but after they are up it is the same technical cost to run 100 sites as 10,000 because students will almost never need to restore their sites based on how students use the sites. It just isn’t critical data.

    However if a dev has 500 clients on one multi-site instance, it’s actually the complete opposite. They want to be able to roll out the product quickly, but because it is for clients’ sites, clients will be doing restores, asking support questions, needing training and the per-user support/technical/training cost to us is actually significant because devs and consultants (as they should) view us as the provider and want us to solve the issues.

    So while it might make sense to charge the same (random number) $500/month for a university with 100 sites as 10,000, it doesn’t make sense to charge a dev the same $500 for 100 sites vs 500.

    We simply don’t know where the sweet spot is yet. We want feedback from the community, but given every dev/consultant I know passes this backup cost along to the client, what we want is to find a model that’s fair for everyone (and where we don’t end up having to hire 2 full time support people just to support a single customer who is only paying $200/month!).

  18. Hey Chip, wanna grab me on skype? jeremy_wright, I feel like I’M hijacking this thread with all these BackupPress comments!

    As far as top level menu item, feedback from customers has been that “green is good/orange is okay/red is bad” let’s them know things are always “well” with their blog. We can move this, or maybe make it an option, but we *hate* options because it complicates things for users who don’t care at all.

    Also, so far we’ve been doing annual pricing at 10x monthly pricing (ie: 2 months free). So plan was $100/year yep.

  19. @David Coveney – great insight into the actual experience of using VP and you hit the nail on the head, knowledge costs money.

    @Chip Bennett – Absolutely agree, in a heartbeat, I was genuinely shocked when VP announced their multisite pricing, with such a massive variation in the size of WP sites it is crazy to treat them all the same. It would not matter if large networks of small WordPress sites were an edge case but, as we see the stats creep up towards half of all websites running on WP, I believe that networks account for most of the growth and are an almost unimaginably massive market.

    I understand that services such as VP and ManageWP don’t want to cannibalize the perceived per-site value of their service but it seems foolish not to completely abandon such a large potential market.

    I would argue that the difference between a huge single-site install and a network of 100 hundred tiny niche sites is artificial construct, and illusion, that if the bandwidth and CPU burden is the same but you want to charge 100 times more, your pricing is broken.

    I would also argue that if you don’t have some sort of cap or sliding scale built into your pricing, and using your service would cost that network owner the same as actually hiring a fulltime engineer, your pricing is broken.

    Surely there has to be some midway point at which such services could address the massive market of micro-site networks and offer them a package that isn’t so ridiculously expensive that everyone has to go and learn to do it all themselves? What a waste of human effort when these services could so easily save all those man-hours while making money they would not otherwise get.

  20. I’ve paid VaultPress $40/month since nearly the beginning. I’d surely like to pay less and have a hard time recommending them to most casual bloggers or multisites due to the expense. Been thinking of replacing them with BackupBuddy (one time $75 fee) for backups and Securi ($90/yr) to monitor site security. Jeremy’s pedigree is rock solid and his latest venture sounds intriguing, but it’s too new for my comfort level.


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