Saturday, 29 November 2014 00:00

Backing up a Joomla Website

Joomla has no backup system by default so we're left with the following options if we want to make sure we have a backup of our website.

  • cPanel Backups
  • Manual Downloads
  • 3rd Party Software

We'll explore the pros and cons of each in turn and you can then decide for yourself which best suits your needs as your needs and ours may differ.

cPanel Backups

cPanel backups are great, they mean you download the files, database, mail and all associated files. With a cPanel backup you have everything in one nice neat bundle.


All your data is stored in one file including the website, mail accounts, mail and all associated files.


As it's a cPanel backup it can ONLY be restored by a server administrator and has to reside on a server that has cPanel installed.

Manual Downloads

Manual downloads require that you physically connect to and download all your files. You can do this via FTP or through your web server's file manager.


You have complete control over the download process.


You'll need to be very familiar with FTP, MySQL (to backup the database) or PHPMyAdmin and also download all mail for all accounts.

This really is a "belt and braces" option for those of you who are reasonably proficient with accessing your server files.

3rd Party Software

There are lots of tools out there to backup your Joomla website which can be found in the Joomla Extensions Directory.

A couple of our favourites are the XCloner and Akeeba backup systems. We've tried the others and these are by far the best available.


Once run and tested (for example you have restored a backup) these can be pretty robust tools.


Although you do not need to be technical to use these you do need to spend time reading through the available documentation to familiarise yourself with the process.

How We Backup a Joomla Website

We actually use a combination of 3rd party software and cPanel automation to achieve this goal.

With Akeeba backup installed and configured correctly you can login at any time and create a backup. Once this is completed you can then download the file or even store it in an online file saving facility such as Drop Box.

Automating The Joomla Backup Process

Taking this further we also create what's called a CRON job to automatically backup our websites daily and hold a certain number on the server for later use should be have any problems. Periodically we login and move older files off-site thus providing even greater reliability should we have a disaster and need to recover the website.

The Process of Backing up a Joomla Website

Here are the steps we take...

  1. Install the Akeeba backup extension
  2. When you access the extension for the first time you will be asked to run the wizard, simply walk through the process
  3. Once that is complete go to the Configuration option
  4. Change the output directory to "/home/YourServerAccountName/Backups"
  5. We also set the count quote to "10" and keep just 20 obsolete records
  6. We've set the output directory to one that does not exist yet so we need to login to cPanel and create this directory later

    Before we go there though we will need to enable automatic scheduling.

  7. Now go to the top menu in Joomla and select "Site // System Information // Configuration File" and look up the "secret" text string
  8. Copy this string and go back to the Akeeba control panel and select "Component Parameters" and then the "Front-end Backup" tab
  9. Set "Enable front-end and remote backup" to "Yes"
  10. Paste in the secret text we copied a moment ago
  11. The additional fields are simply to notify you if you'd like to receive an email on each successful backup
  12. Click "Save and Close"
  13. Now open up the "Scheduling Information" option and select the "WGet" tab and copy the text highlighted in red at the bottom
  14. Now we need to go to cPanel and setup the CRON job and the directory to hold the backups

  15. Go to "" and login to your control panel
  16. Under "Add New Cron Job"
  17. Select one of the options for common settings. We recommend once a day but not at midnight as this is the default, perhaps 3 or 5 am
  18. In the "Command" filed paste in the WGet command from Akeeba
  19. Click "Add New Cron Job"
  20. Your site will now be backed up once a day automatically. All we need to do is create the target folder to hold the files.

  21. At the top of your cPanel click "Home"
  22. Now open the "File Manager"
  23. Make sure you are not in the public directory, that you are at "/home/YourServerAccountName"
  24. Click "New Folder"
  25. Create a folder called "Backups"

That's it. All done.

You should test that the backups are actually running and also restore a backup to another location just to make 100% sure that everything is OK because an untested backup really is not a backup at all.

If you need any help or advice regarding the process or would like us to manage your backups for you please feel free to get in touch.

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