The story of BackWPup: From the plugin idea to 10 million downloads

Header: The story of BackWPup
BackWPup inventor Daniel Hüsken tells in this interview how the popular WordPress plugin BackWPup was created 10 years ago and how it finally came to Inpsyde.

This week we celebrate 10 million BackWPup downloads! On the occasion of this milestone, BackWPup maker Daniel Hüsken gives in this interview an insight into the history of the popular backup plugin for WordPress and tells how it came to Inpsyde. 

How did you get the idea for BackWPup?

BackWPup inventor Daniel Hüsken against a neutral background

My professional background is IT technology. When BackWPup was created, I worked as a supporter at an IT system house. At that time I created my own private WordPress website. By the way, this website is still there:

Of course, I knew with my background how important backups are. Therefore I looked at the existing solutions. But I just couldn’t find one that met my needs. Most existing solutions didn’t offer much control and had certain hosting requirements.

I wanted a professional backup solution that works as independently as possible and that allows me to manage multiple jobs. In addition, I wanted to be able to control more precisely what, when and where the backups are created. So I decided to develop my own solution for WordPress. 

BackWPup: Beta Phase and 1.0 Release

At first, I started the development only for myself. But after I implemented the basic functions, I released the plugin relatively soon so that others could use it as well. That was on 23 June 2009.

The first version of BackWPup was a small plugin that contained the most important basic functions. Soon I had first users, bug reports and also support requests. I tried out a lot at that time. So, over time I improved the plugin and added new features and backup destinations. 

Coincidentally, exactly one year after the first release, on June 23 in 2010, I released version 1.0. So BackWPup V 1 will become 10 years old soon! But in the meantime, we are at version 3.7.1.

Could you have imagined back then that BackWPup would become so successful?

No. In the early development, I just wanted to have fun and the possibility to try something and see if I could do it. For a long time, I didn’t really realize how popular BackWPup had become. 

I didn’t realize this until my first WordCamp visit in Cologne 2011. Back then David Decker helped me with the support for BackWPup. He asked me if I wanted to go to a WordCamp. At that time I was not yet active in the WordPress community except for the work on BackWPup. 

I agreed and attended his talk where he presented some WordPress plugins, including BackWPup. He said: “By the way, the author is sitting in this room”. Many heads turned around searching and wanted to know who exactly he meant. I carefully raised my hand and suddenly I was the center of attention … That was a very unusual feeling for me. Many people were very interested because they already knew BackWPup. It was quite a surprise for me. 

By the way, the WordCamp Cologne 2011 was organized by Inpsyde. At that time I didn’t know Inpsyder very well, but of course, I already knew Inpsyder Frank Bültge through his blog with many posts about WordPress!

Over time, BackWPup finally became so well known that I received requests for collaboration from large companies that had tested BackWPup flawlessly with such large amounts of data that even I was surprised.

And now 10 million downloads. That’s quite a number. It’s nice to see that something that you’ve developed from scratch, and that started out quite small, suddenly takes on such overwhelming proportions.

Why did you decide to develop BackWPup together with Inpsyde?

The project has grown rapidly. For example, I wanted to include more hosting services and that was not always easy. In addition, more and more people were using BackWPup, which made support very time-consuming. Since I developed BackWPup as a private project in addition to my work, I often lacked the time to develop the plugin further in addition to the support. 

I had to make a decision: Either I could exclusively work on BackWPup and quit my job at the system house or I give the plugin into other hands. It was most important to me that BackWPup would continue. Exactly at this time, the chance arose with Inpsyde, who were interested in the plugin.

I knew that BackWPup would be in good hands at Inpsyde. 

In addition, I applied for a developer position at Inpsyde. I wanted to try to turn my hobby into my profession. And it worked out. I took a lot of stress away from myself this way, because my previous work, the support of other, “foreign” products, was not always easy for me. On top of that came the remote work. That was a big advantage for me because it made me more flexible and I could take better care of my children. I am very happy that it worked out this way. By the way, I would also have started at Inpsyde if BackWPup hadn’t become an Inpsyde product.

It feels very good that I can now continue to shape the development of BackWPup and at the same time make sure that BackWPup will continue. 

Meanwhile, I am an Inpsyde Product Owner (also for other Inpsyde plugins) and lead the plugin and support team. We not only develop plugins for WordPress users in general but also as solutions for our agency customers. 

How has BackWPup changed since you joined Inpsyde?

The first time there were quite a lot of innovations. I had been preparing a version with additional features for quite some time, which could finally be completed and released due to the cooperation with Inpsyde. 

Since BackWPup is an Inpsyde product, there is also the Pro version. With this paid version, we are able to support and further develop the free version. Our premise was that we do not take any content from the free version for the pro version, but offer additional features for users with higher demands. For example, BackWPup Pro includes the possibility to automatically restore and encrypt backups.

What developments/innovations can users of BackWPup look forward to?

BackWPup is continuously being developed. In the near future, the main focus will be to improve the code of BackWPup to make the plugin even more stable and to introduce new features. Which exactly these will be is still a secret. 

What are Inpsyde’s general plans for plugins in the future?

Currently, several new cooperations are planned, which mainly include plugins for connecting systems to WordPress. But we are not allowed to say more about that yet. One thing is certain: There are still many interesting projects ahead of us and we will continue to develop useful plugins for the community.