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Check out Backup Pro


#1

Hi All! I’m a new member (sorta been lurking for a while though) but finally worked up the nerve to show off my stuff to everyone. First, I wanted to show off Backup Pro (the product).

So, Backup Pro was initially an ExpressionEngine module released over 5 years ago (in June). But last year I started on a new build that makes it available on 5 different CMS Platforms including EE (obviously), WordPress, Craft, PrestaShop, and Concrete5. I’ve included links for anyone who wants to check it out.

If it’s not obvious, Backup Pro’s a pretty bad ass backup program for your CMS. As mentioned, I’ve been in business selling it for almost 5 years now and have really made progress in making sure a site is covered when bad things happen. So that’s nice.

Which means developers are my main bread and butter. But it also means free is my competitor but, quite honestly, free doesn’t come close to being able to match the quality and functionality Backup Pro has to offer so it hasn’t been that big a dent. I think anyway. Sorta made that up.

That said, I’ve realized I have an opportunity to REALLY shake things up quite a bit in the disaster recovery space. See, aside from free, I ALSO have 2 major competitors in Akeeba Backup and Codeguard. These appear to be 2 solid products, Akeeba having a vast historical contribution in that it’s been around FOREVER, and Codeguard being a media darling of sorts. And that’s not nice.

To take them on, I came up with a strategy of centralized management and highlighting security over hype.

First, for centralized management, I’ve been developing out backup-pro.com to act as a remote control over all your Backup Pro installations. So, for example, customers won’t have to log into each site to manage their backups, now they can hit up 1 site and control everything from there.

As an almost side effect of THAT, there’s also the potential to expand into selling the backup-pro.com software. And since there’s ALSO a REST API component, products like iPhone and Android apps are on the table. All for managing backups.

Second, in terms of security, I plan on open sourcing quite a few of the components needed for Backup Pro as well as keeping the individual client source code open and available for review. So customers can see what they’re getting and know nothing hinky’s going on.

This is important because the 1 fatal flaw I see in Codeguard is how their system works. You have to hand over credentials. That’s INSANE, to me, from a security and best practices stand point. You’re open to quite a few potential failure points it’s absurd.

So all that said. How dumb is this plan? I’d really love to hear feedback if anyone has any.

Eric


#2

I think the idea is good. Is it just you on your own in your business? Seems you already have 5 products, you want to add a backup service AND several mobile apps on top of that? Is that realistic?

I’ve had the backup problem before several times. The centralized management aspect appeals to me, as does the idea to store in several easily accessible backup targets (dropbox, ftp) etc. Handing over credentials to someone else is an absolute no-no, as you indicate.

I manage several websites, and I’m looking to move them to a CMS at some point (one of them is hand-crafted html, literally written last century…). I’d pay for a well-working centralized backup system in the future, but I doubt I would’ve found you (or even have gone looking for a product like yours) if you hadn’t posted here. I don’t think your problem is that you don’t offer 1-click backup for several sites or REST apis or whatever, but more that your target audience doesn’t know you can provide added data safety for them. For example, how does your solution compare to the $1/month backup facility Digital Ocean’s vps’s provide? If my vps is hacked I do a restore and I’m good to go, how does that compare to a workflow with your product? I don’t think the two products you list are your main competitors, your main competitor is mysqldump | tar -czf in a cron job, and the backup services cheap hosters offer.

That said, looking at your website, many of my first question are hidden far away: how does the integration work? Is backup done from your server or do I install an agent? If so, how - as a plugin, a separate daemon or cron job? Will it work on all hosting platforms? You seem to dive into the advanced features straight away: “Oh, and did you know you can also create your own Storage Engines for complete control over your backups? Yup.”. I didn’t know and I don’t care, and I doubt any customer who’s looking to spend $99 on backing up a Wordpress site will spend days on implementing such a thing, or more likely pay someone 1000’s to do it. Somebody for isn’t OK with backing up to any of the platforms you list will have their own backup solution.

Now that I’m typing anyway, here are some thoughts from visiting the website:

  • Not having a separate website makes it seem less focused, as well as adding to the cognitive overload. What’s ‘Mithra62’? (I know what it is, just saying it’s not relevant to me if I want backups). What’s the relation with other products?
  • Hard to get an idea of the what and how in 5 seconds. Wall of text on the homepage (well, product page, actually). Why not bullet points? Take for example this sentence: “Backups are compressed into the popular zip file format to save space and are readily available for download and extraction on any platform (Windows, Mac, *nix).”. Blah blah blah - just say “Compress backups to zip files”. People who are looking for backup tools for CMS’s know that they can decompress zip on all platforms. They know that zip is to save space. They know they can download the zips.
  • The links to the CMS’s and storage platforms are distracting (on the product page). Everybody in your target audience knows what they are and where to find them.
  • In general (to bang this old drum again), I see many features, not many benefits.

Do you have tiered pricing? I could see myself paying $99 (is this per year?) for backing up my company website, but not for my landing page/personal sites.


#3

Hi Roel,

Yup, Backup Pro is just me. I know it appears there are 5 separate products, but due to how the project’s coded that’s actually not the case. Really, instead of thinking of it as XX separate products think of it as a singular backup tool ported to various CMSs. That may seem like a small distinction, but it’s actually enormous in terms of development time and quality assurance across all the Platforms.

If you’re technically inclined, I’d written about the design in some detail, but suffice to say it’s really a single product that gets built into separate add-ons.

That said, I still get your point about the enormity of doing the client product (Backup Pro), with a server component (backup-pro.com), and an app. Definitely NOT doable on my own as it’s laid out. But, at this stage, that only precludes doing an app which was always part of the long game anyway. It’s a ways off regardless, is the key point.

But it also appears I need to clarify a few things.

Previously, and right now actually (I realize as I type this), Backup Pro is a product sold under my “default” company, mithra62. When all I sold was ExpressionEngine add-ons, to ONLY ExpressionEngine developers, this made a certain amount of sense in that the ExpressionEngine community knew me personally as “mithra62”. So going to mithra62.com to purchase their add-ons, while niche and random to everybody else on the planet who’s NOT an ExpressionEngine developer, also quite painless for everyone who was.

But now things are changing, which is partly why I’m here now. Very clearly, I know I need to spin Backup Pro off into it’s own “thing”. Right now, that’s planned solely as a centralization of everything to backup-pro.com. That’s where it’ll be purchased and supported and everything will live for the product and it’s “stuff”. And it’s about 90% complete actually, so big woop on the worry scale.

That said, insofar as the management system of Backup Pro clients (that’ll live in backup-pro.com), that’s a part of the 90%; it’s almost done. I’ve already built out the client software (Backup Pro) for the capabilities needed and am putting the finishing touches on the actual management console logic in the new site code base. But this has been planned as a free, value add, to sell the client software. There’s NO obligation or requirement to use anything but the client software if that’s all that’s needed.

So, no matter what, the client software HAS to be installed into the site’s CMS. But there is no other requirement. Oh, and it’s a one time fee of, right now, $99. No subscription. No continued payment. No backups held hostage. Pay once and you’re ALWAYS covered by the installed software; it won’t stop working by design or anything like that. The code will always be logical, documented, readable, and un-obfuscated so security inspections won’t be obscured in any way.

Ok. Hope that clears up any confusion on the software side. (Just purchase a license to Backup Pro, install as a plugin into your CMS, like most plugins, and setup a Cron job. Disco.)

I’d been thinking about adding comparison matrices comparing how things stack up, along with their requisite blog posts; just more focused on building things right now. But, obviously, comparing Digital Ocean or mysqldump to an actual backup tool is ridiculous (to those who’ve faced disaster anyway). Making THAT clear, is definitely a goal though.

(For those playing along, they’re ridiculous because they’re predicated zero customization, control, and a shocking lack of redundancy. I mean, it’s not like hardware failure DOESN’T happen… not to mention that whole weekly or daily
verification of your backups thing Backup Pro completely frees you from… ;))

And that’s a goal. Have to spread that message far and wide.

Yeah, I definitely need to update my marketing material. I hear you there; the advanced stuff is irrelevant at the start.

Thanks SO much for your feedback; I truly do appreciate it. I hope I was able to clarify things enough to make more sense and answer your questions properly. Please don’t hesitate letting me know if you have anything else to add.


#4

By 5 products I actually meant your Backup Pro, Securit:ee, Export It etc. products; not the 5 variations of the backup tool. If I would find your site through Google, I wouldn’t think you are a backup specialist since you seem to do so many other things as well. This is of course not ‘fair’ and a prejudice etc. - but that doesn’t matter, it just matters that that what’s people think (at least, I speculate that others think this too).

I see now that they are all Expression Engine addons, in which case it makes sense; you are basically deriving authority from your standing in the EE community. You’ll have to radically turn that around though if you’re moving into other markets, where people won’t know you, and where you’ll have to rely on your marketing copy only.

It does clear things up for me wrt my questions, but I think that I am the least of your worries :wink: You would have lost many other people who were on your website by now. If you intend to change the copy, feel free to shoot me an email to ‘review’ if my questions would have been answered in any new versions. I am great at coming up with hundreds of ways in which something isn’t perfect :wink: You might want to send me a PM on here so that you have my normal email address. Not that I’m God’s gift to mankind but I always find it hard to find people that look critically beyond ‘I don’t like the colors’ and I like to pay it forward by being hypercritical of others :wink:

Either way, good job on building an impressive portfolio already.


#5

Oh, right, yeah, THOSE products. You’re dead on there; having 5 OTHER products is definitely a problem. Thankfully though, all but 1 of those is at its natural EOL anyway (since they won’t work with new versions of EE) so I’ve already planned on letting those die. As to the 1 other I do plan on keeping alive, Export It, I do have plans to keep that going with a new version simply to help me fund marketing of Backup Pro. Its support needs and day to day investment is at the point that it’s not too painful and customers have been asking for it. So, while it won’t buy me a car, it also won’t be more than a couple hours investment a month while providing the funds to pimp Backup Pro.

Still though, that’ll free me up to focus on Backup Pro 75% of the time which is pretty good considering the timeline and roll-outs I have in mind.

I’ll definitely hit you up for the help (VERY cool!) though it’s about 5AM here right now so I’ll reach out a bit later in the early afternoon.

Thanks again for everything.