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Week 13 Back Up Joomla!

November 23, 2009

This assignment is to describe the trials and learning process encountered to backup and restore a Joomla! website. Initially I wanted to use 3 methods available to me: A complete FTP transfer; A 3rd party extension for Joomla! Backups; and using a C-Panel Backup Wizard from my hosting service. I used both C-Panel wizard and 3rd Party Backup methods earlier this month, and thought that they were ready to go. What I learned was that they were not complete: the C-Panel backup stated that it had been terminated before completion and the 3rd Party backup was less than half complete because I didn’t backup the database. My File Manager showed a small link file that I later realized was not the entire backup. I completed the entire process with the benefit of videos provided by this excellent 3rd party called JoomlaPack.

Back Up Lessons

The problems I encountered with my C-Panel happened when I created 2 backup files – the first was a zip (I also downloaded a tar.gz zip) of my files and folders – thinking I could use one or the other if needed, the second was a .sql backup of my database. I could not extract my tar.gz file in Filezip, and my zip file seemed to be faulty.
More C-Panel Backup Wizard problems – I learned that zip files can sometimes miss files, and that it is imperative to immediately restore a test site to ensure that all files are included in a zip. If I were to make major changes on a website, I would keep at least one backup that was completely checked beforehand. My C-Panel Backup wizard also claimed that it would send an email to me when the files were complete. The email came instantly after the start of the backup, and the backup link in the CPanel Backup wizard remains static with ‘in progress’ stated at the end of the link. This most recent link is directly below the 2 other backup links that I had created earlier in the month – both sent email notices to me that they were complete, however they state ‘not complete -timed out’ at the end of the respective links. I reviewed some C-Panel tutorials with my hosting service and online, but still am not certain what to do to fix this – outside of writing to the web host.
FTP takes too much time – but with a good database download, and a bad zip file of folders and files, I turned to my FTP client, Filezilla. I transferred the zip file to the server, and realized that I didn’t know how to unzip it at that point….so I manually selected all files and folders from my joomla website and dragged/downloaded them over to my computer. This process took 30 minutes, so I started to think about my 3rd party Backup method using JoomlaPack for all my files and folders – which ended up to be a less time consuming and still efficient method.
Plan B…or is it C –JoomlaPack was installed and has a wonderful set of icons displayed in the Administrator section that make backing up a less daunting experience. I knew that I had a database download on my computer, and after watching the JoomlaPack video (listed in the resources below), I knew that JoomlaPack would take care of backing up my files and folders. I received 2 warnings after selecting ‘Back Up Now’ – and these warnings referred me to the JoomlaPack website explanation. It seems these are common warnings that didn’t really effect my backup, so I proceeded. I also knew that I would be prompted to list my new database name during website restoration in the same manner as my original Joomla! initial installation. The JoomlaPack video showed an earlier restoration screenshot, however the current restoration was extremely easy to follow with NEXT prompts and warnings that allowed you to return to an earlier prompt if an area was left incomplete.

  1. Download all files and folders to a folder on your computer – drag/dropped them via FTP Filezilla (30 minute process) or use a 3rd party JoomlaPack backup (3 minute process to create zip file plus less than 2 minutes to download this file to my computer)
  2. Using phpMyAdmin, EXPORT your database to a file on your computer. Check the Drop Down Table, and Save File As (this is where I saved it both as a zip file – which didn’t work – and a regular no compression .sql file – which worked) I used the siteground tutorial listed below.


The restoration can be used on the same server, or to a new server. I was worried about placing a backup file in a public area, but since this is a working website restored to a folder, and not a backup set of zip files – it really wasn’t a problem.
JoomlaPack has a wizard built in to restore the website. All you need is the new database name, your user name and password. I was prompted to enter my email address during the process, which went very smoothly. Here are the steps I took to restore my website to a folder on my server.

  1. Created a folder that I wanted to use as a working copy of my website using Filezilla
  2. Created a new database name and loaded the old database information into this new database
    • C-Panel phpMyAdmin informs me that I cannot create a new database.
    • I discovered C-Panel MySql Database and MySql Database Wizard. I started with the Wizard, but found that the MySql Database could do the entire process just as easily. These were the Create a new Database functions that I am used to seeing in my localhost phpMyAdmin. They allow you to add a new user, create a new database and add functions for the user to use.
    • Returned to phpMyAdmin and IMPORTED my database information stored on my computer (I found that the zip file version did not work – had CHKSUM errors, but the .sql non zipped version worked – both of these options are available on phpMyAdmin when you EXPORT database information)
  3. Using my C-Panel File Manager, I selected the folder I created in the first step, and Uploaded (a button at the top of the C-Panel in File Manager) the zip file of my website files and folders created by JoomlaPack
  4. Still using my C-Panel File Manager, I EXTRACTED the JoomlaPack zip file (using another button at the top of the File Manager section of the C-Panel) into this folder – this process took only a few minutes
  5. I typed in the URL of the (name created in the first step), which started the JoomlaPack wizard to install and restore the website. The JoomaPack installer 4.0 process begins by displaying all green checkmarks on a page of required settings. Prompts follow via NEXT (in the upper right corner) after filling out information such as a valid email address and ftp user id and password. This is also the place where the new database name is entered. The last prompt asks that you remove the installation directory from site – which I did using the FILE MANAGER on C-Panel because I just had that handy – I could have used my FTP client Filezilla to do the same thing.


After some rambling false starts, I realize that the process is very similar to the original Joomla installation …. and that once again, having all of the ducks in a row….the database name (plus in this case database information), the user name and password….are all necessary to keep the process running smoothly. I have placed this working copy of my website in progress as part of my assignment, but if possible I will continue to practice downloading and restoring this site as it becomes complete.
As for clients backing up and restoring their websites, I found a few articles on Cron jobs and also have the feature on my C-Panel to schedule daily backups. I feel that there needs to be an easier way to do all of this – like a running backup that would allow a client to return to an archived page at a time, rather than an entire website archive/backup. JoomlaPack is definately the way to go, but now I can see how to use my C-Panel and FTP client to pick up the slack, if I ever need them. Did I mention that I also had to upgrade my Filezilla during all of this???? It was a long process, but many lessons were learned, and now I am very excited that I can backup and restore a website!


  1. Joomla! How To Move Your Joomlaarticle
  2. JoomlaPack, Back Up and Restore Joomla! websites
  3. Siteground php-mysql tutorial for backing up and restoring a database
  4. Backup Schedule PHP script to check out
  5. PHP Script for Cron Job automatic backups that was posted a while ago, but might be worth considering
  6. Wiki Copying a Joomla Website from Joomla Documentation
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