How to backup your website

Recently I wrote a blog post on how important backing up your website is and there was a huge response both on the blog and emails with clients and non clients not realise the importance of backups or even how to back up. I’m totally amazed at how many people do not know how to backup your website.

Below is a guide geared towards Little Hero Hosting customers who we provide with cPanel which has all the tools available for them to successfully backup their website. A lot of other hosting providers also use cPanel but I have seen variations of the backup system. The below steps should work for most people though.

Before you learn how to backup it is essential you have an understanding of your website structure.

Files – as suggested this contains all the files, folders and images from within your public_html folder. Your sites files HTML, PHP, CSS such as home page, theme/design are also kept here.

MySQL or Database – your MySQL contains everything to do with data collection for your site if using blog, forum, directory or community software. The MySQL holds all the posts, comments, and settings.


The main points highlighted previously are:

• Backing up is the clients/site owners responsibility

• While Little Hero Hosting does daily and weekly backups, these backups should not be relied on to restore your data unless in an emergency as they are scheduled and may not contain all of your latest changes.

• Backups should be done BEFORE any major changes are made

• If using WordPress do NOT use plugins to run your backups.

Backing up on cPanel and types of backups:

Full Backup – Using this tool creates a full backup of your account (including mail, files, databases, etc), unfortunately at this time cPanel only allows Hosting providers to restore this backup for you.

Partial Backup – These backups can be made by yourself at anytime, and you can also restore them yourself any time you need. You can only grab a copy of the individual facets of your accounts, being able to make backups for the following options:

• Home Directory Backup

• MySQL Database Backup

• Email Forwarders

• Email Filters


How to create a full backup on cPanel:

1. Go to ‘backup’, under the “Files” header in cPanel.
2. Underneath where it says “Full Backups”, click on the link that says “Generate/Download a Full Backup”
3. Select which method you wish to use, whether you want to copy the backup directly to another ftp server, or if you wish to generate the backup in your home directory of your account with us. If you don’t know which to choose here, the first one (Home Directory) is usually the best choice
4. Enter an email address.
5. Only answer the other two questions if you are backing up to another FTP server.
6. Press ‘Generate Backup’.

You have now successfully backed up your full account on cPanel. cPanel will email you when your backup is complete.

*Note: You cannot use a full backup to restore your site via the cPanel interface. The file must be downloaded and decompressed prior to restoration. Once the file has been decompressed, you will be able to upload and restore individual pieces of your website contained within the full backup.





Create a partial backup:

To back up a portion of your site:

1. Select Backup from the first page.
2. Select the portion of your site to back up by clicking Home Directory, MySQL Databases, or Email Forwarders & Filters.
3. Click the appropriate link or button on the following page to store the required information to your computer or web server.

To restore a portion of your site:

The Backups page also allows you to store individual pieces of your site. It is possible to download and store the entire /home directory, the SQL database(s), as well as email forwarders and filters by clicking the appropriate links under the Partial Backups headings. This method will download the backup file(s) to your computer, saving them to a specified directory.

1. Select Restore from the first page.
2. Select the portion of your site you would like to restore by clicking Home Directory, MySQL Databases, or Email Forwarders & Filters.
3. Select the file from your computer that should be used to restore the portion of your website that you have selected.
4. Click Upload to finish the restoration process.

partial backup 2


System Backups created by Little Hero Hosting

We run system backups weekly and daily which you can download from your cPanel.

Under the backup tab you will see options for downloading the most recent backup made at daily, weekly intervals.

Backup via FTP:

Creating a backup using FTP will not backup your MySQL or database. It will only copy your websites files.

1. Download and install a FTP client such as Filezilla
2. Navigate your pointer to FILE >>> Site manger
3. Fill in the following information which you will have received in your hosting welcome email.

HOST: [ Your FTP host name (normally your domain name ]
USER: [ you can find this information inside your cPanel. It is located top right under account information ]
PASSWORD: [ The same as you cPanel Log-in ]
PORT: [ This number by default is always 21 ]
Don’t worry about the rest, default settings work fine.



4. Once you are logged in you will see a divider, on the left hand you will see a title called “local site:” and on the right you will see the title “remote site: ”
5. On the left side navigate to the folder you wish to store your files.
6. Under Remote Site locate the folder titled ” Public_html ”
7. Click and drag the entire folder into your Local site (your hard drive) or right click & pick download and wait for the files to download. Depending on the size of your site this may take quite awhile to complete.

Script Installers:

Little Hero Hosting has Softaculous installed within our cPanel Hosting control panel. Softaculous is a script installer that enables users to create backups of their applications.

Follow the simple steps below to backup using Softaculous

1. Login to your cPanel and look for the Softaculous icon listed under Software/Services
2. Select All Installations
3. All your installed applications will be listed. You must then choose the application which you intend to backup.
4. Tick the backups you wish to perform
5. Hit the Backup button
6. Keep the screen open until the backup finishes.

Softaculous Backup

Steps to restore a Softaculous backup

Following is the procedure to secure a backup in Softaculous

1. Login to your cPanel and look for the Softaculous icon listed under Software/Services
2. Look for an option titled “Backups and Restore” and click it
3. You will be presented with a list of all your available backups. Choose the application which you intend to Restore.
4. Hit the “Restore” button.

Restore Backup

Points to remember:

• A backup is like your sites insurance policy.

• If you are changing your site daily back up DAILY

• Do not rely on plugins to backup if using WordPress

Creating Backups for your website is a mundane and boring task but essential. It’s better to spend 5-10 minutes backing up than to lose months or years of data! Now you know how to backup your website you can sleep knowing if the worst was to happen you have a copy of all your hard work.

*Once you have downloaded your backup to your hard drive remove it from your cPanel as it will take up valuable space.

This is part 3 of our series on backups and security.
Part 1 can be found here
Part 2 can be found here


*Edit, I’ve been asked how to back up blogger blogs so I’ve written a post that will be published tomorrow 29th Feb. Post can be found here