Use your cPanel to the full

A cPanel guide for beginners. (4): backup

By Michael Scannell

Are you tempting fate?

Think about your different kinds of file

Do you ever think how many different kinds of file are working together to keep your Web site going? There are HTML files, style sheets (CSS files), client-side scripts (such as JavaScript), together with photos and other graphics (GIF and JPEG and PNG files).

You may even have more specialised files: server-side scripts (such as PHP or ASP), XML and XSLT files, for example. And you may be making use of a database.

Michael Scannell

Michael is the Web Costa Blanca webmaster.

He has worked on many Web sites, both large and small, in Spain and the UK.

Now suppose something goes wrong

These days, most servers are incredibly reliable. It is normal for Web hosting companies to offer 99.9% uptime (as Web Costa Blanca does.) And all servers maintain huge backup files, in case of disaster. But many smaller errors can occur, which need immediate correction. And aren't you better off with personal copies of all your precious files?

Start with the Backups icon

cPanel Backups iconIn the X theme for cPanel as set up by Web Costa Blanca, this is in the second row, between Disk Space Usage and Password Protect Directories. Click on it, and you will see there are several kinds of backup you can carry out.

cPanel page with backup options

Full Backup

Oddly, this is the least useful of the options. You will only ever need it if you are unhappy with your current Web hosting provider and want to move your entire site to a different hosting company, using a different server.

And even then, you will have to make sure that the new company offers cPanel, and the same range of cPanel options.

Home Directory

A cPanel tipThis is the most useful option for most Web site owners. Your ‘home directory’ is not the directory where your home page is. It's the directory where your entire site is stored, including all the folders that visitors never see. (Your home page will be in a sub-directory called public_html.)

This backup option saves every file on your site, in a zip file. You can use the zip file as is, to restore your site (see below) or, if you have an unzip utility, you can pull out all the individual folders and files.

Download a MySQL Database Backup

If you have one or more MySQL databases, their names will appear below this option. Click on a name to save a backup of that database.

A cPanel tipThis is by far the most useful of the backup options—if you are using a database. If your database is changed constantly by site users (interacting, e.g., with your PHP scripts) you should save a backup frequently. If you are well organised, I recommend every evening.

Download Email Domain Forwarder or Filter Backup

You may find this option useful if you are using either of these facilities on your site.

How do I put files back?

The right-hand-column of the Backups page (illustrated above) is a set of 3 forms. Click on the Browse button for the option you want, locate the backup file, then click on Upload.

Next tutorial in this Cpanel beginners’ guide: how to upload pages to your Web site

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