How to back up your website
You should periodically create a backup copy of your website.
One way to do this would be to use the the Backup utility included with the Hosting Control Panel provided by your hosting provider.
Joomla! users may instead prefer to use a Third Party Extension like Akeeba Backup.
We like Akeeba Backup PRO.
In this Article
In this article we cover how to create a Backup Archive of any website using the Backup utility included with two popular hosting control panels: cPanel and Plesk.
And how to download the Backup Archive you create from the server for storage offline.
To reduce the risk of losing your valuable website content in the event of:
- your website being compromised by hackers,
- your website breaking following a Joomla! CMS update,
- the dreaded 'white screen of death' when you install a third party Joomla! extension.
Your website Backup will enable you to quickly move your website to a new server or hosting provider should the need arise.
ALWAYS before updating the Joomla! CMS or its third party extensions.
Periodically just in case: daily, weekly monthly.
How often will depend upon how frequently to change website content.
FULL Backup = files AND database.
PARTIAL Backup = files OR database.
We recommend always creating a FULL Backup of your website.
The focus of this article.
For safe keeping if nothing else.
Hosting provider terms & conditions often specify that you are not permitted to store files on the server other than for use with your website.
Files not used by your website could be removed without warning.
To avoid being in breach of your hosting provider's terms & conditions.
Hosting providers often specify that you are not permitted to store files on the server other than for use with a website.
Download a Backup from the server immediately after you create it.
We recommend that do NOT store website backups anywhere inside the:
- public_html folder (if cPanel), or
- httpdocs folder (if Plesk).
Reason: website Backup files include sensitive data such as the password for your website database.
And there is a risk that a hacker will gain access to a Backup stored in these folders even when protected by a Web Application Firewall.
Instead store your Backups outside the public_html or httpdocs folder.
Create a folder called mybackups one level above these folders.
This level will usually be called home.
Via Web Browser
In order to create a Backup you will connect to:
- your website, or
- your Hosting Control Panel
via your web browser, hopefully using a secure connection: HTTPS.
And whilst connected you will be able to download Backups from the server, but this is NOT recommended.
Reason: there is a small risk of Backup files being corrupted when downloaded via a web browser.
And the risk of file corruption increases with the size of website Backup.
Via FTP Client
Instead learn how to download Backups using an FTP Client like FileZilla, using an SFTP (or FTPS) connection.
Why not use an FTP connection?
File transfers via FTP are unencrypted, meaning that your username and password will be transmitted in the clear.
If a hacker obtains these details then they can do anything you can do with your Hosting Account (and website)!
Store each Backup File in a carefully labelled folder.
Keep a log of significant changes which occurred between the previous Backup File and this one.
Example: Joomla! CMS update and details of any 3rd party extension updates.
Store your Backups on at least one external drive.
Two if you really value your Backups.
- one on the cloud and one on an external hard drive;
- on two separate external hard drives, one stored in a remote location.
It is possible that your Backup may be corrupted during the process of being backed up or downloaded from the server.
For this reason we recommend you:
- unpack and review the content of your Backup after download (can you see files and database?), and
- compare the size of this Backup with the most recent one (is it significantly different?).
You should also learn how to restore a website Backup using:
- a desktop server (example: XAMPP) or
- a separate Hosting Account online
so you can periodically check that Backups have not been corrupted.
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