An often overlooked method of backing up your Website is to use the backup features which are built directly into cPanel. While not all Website Hosting Companies offer cPanel (which allows you to manage your Website through a web interface) to their clients, there are several which do. This includes large hosting companies like HostGator and BlueHost.
There are many techniques and various tools and services that can perform backups of your Website for you. Some are specific to a given framework. For example there are numerous WordPress plugins to assist you in backing up your WordPress Website. Some of these are free (WP-DB Manager, WP-DB Backup) while some of these are paid-for services (BackupBuddy, Vaultpress, Blogvault). The commercial services are valuable to those who can afford them. They are convenient and provide peace of mind – at a price.
Login to your Website’s cPanel installation and you will be presented with a full range of options related to managing your Site. Under the Files section you will notice an option labelled Backup Wizard.
The backup options available in cPanel are very thorough and yet remain simple. Using the Backup Wizard you will be able to create a backup of :
- Your Website’s Files
- Your Website’s Databases
- Your E-mail Filters and configurations
After selecting the Backup Wizard you are presented with a 3 step operation. Your first choice is to decide if you want to perform a Backup or a Restore. Select Backup and proceed to step number two.
While it might be tempting (for the sake of speed and convenience) to perform a Full Backup, the downside is realized when you later need to restore. Following is a direct Quote from the cPanel interface :
“A full backup will create an archive of all the files and configurations on your website. You can only use this to move your account to another server, or to keep a local copy of your files. You cannot restore full backups through your cPanel interface.”
Beneath Select Partial Backup are three seperate options that allow you to individually backup the various components of your Website.
Select Home Directory and you will be presented with a button titled Home Directory under Download a Home Directory backup. Clicking on this button will start the download of a compressed file containing all the files on your Website.
Click on Go Back and repeat this process for Mysql Databases and E-mail Forwarders & Filters. If you have multiple Databases you will need to download multiple Database backup files.
Once the downloads are complete you will have at least three distinct files representing a complete backup of your Website. In the future you can use the same Backup Wizard in cPanel to restore from these files as needed.