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Difference between revisions of "Backup Basics for a Joomla! Web Site"

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(Manual System Backup)
m (Reverted edits by Leolam (Talk) to last version by Chris Davenport)
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Backing up data is vital for businesses; lost information can cause a major crisis or worse, lead to business failure. Individuals who don't backup computer data run the same risk. While this may not cause financial ruin, it can certainly be frustrating and even heartbreaking. Computers aren't perfect. Servers malfunction or are open to vulnerabilities, files become corrupt due to script kiddies or malware bots, motherboards malfunction, CPUs call it quits taking our precious data with them. Data backup can mean the difference between a slight computer setback and living through your own electronic apocalypse.
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Always keep a recent backup of your site.  Accidents happen, and there are many other reasons it helps to have your backup files handy before the need arises.   There are many accidents and other causes of data loss. Joomla sites can be compromised by malicious attackers if the side administrator has not paid attention to security, or in rare cases when hackers bypass the best security.   Joomla is designed for a team of editors and any one of them can make an error to harm the site.    There are many reasons website administrators need to revert the site back to a previous working state.
  
Backing up data is vital for businesses; lost information can cause a major crisis or worse, lead to business failure. Individuals who don't backup their Joomla site run the same risk. While this may not cause financial ruin, it can certainly be frustrating and even heartbreaking.  
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It helps to practice both backup and restore.  Nobody should wait for an emergency to test their skills and tools for dealing with an emergencyVery often people create a backup of something that is empty or corrupted, and discover that none of their critical data was really backed up in the first place. Nobody likes a ship that sinks with empty lifeboats, and it's also wise to practice getting people out of the lifeboats and into a new working system. Backup and restore help web managers create a staging website where new changes can be practiced without risking the production website.   Backup and restore can be used to create a duplicate staging site.  The clone can be created on a local machine acting as a test server, or any other folder or web hosting account supporting the SQL and PHP versions used by the site you've backed up.  Change the color of your staging site template to remind developers that the site is not live to the public.  
   
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Backing up your site involves the storing of files/folders and database information from your server in another location. In this way, if there is ever any loss of data on your server, you still have your data in backup in order to restore those files. In the world of computers, loss of data can be devastating, and while there are possibilities for recovery of data after a disaster it is far easier to restore your files/db from backup than having to restore manually your entire Joomla website. So make regular backups and store them on different media i.e. a flash disk (or 2 to make sure you still have one if your flash disk gives up on you!) or a commercial Cloud storage provider such as [http://aws.amazon.com/s3/ Amazon S3]
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Check always that the backup you make is not corrupt and contains the actual data! You can create a copy of your site on a local installed server to test the backup and/or practice restoring your site.(see link below " Copying a Joomla website ")
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== Summary ==
 
== Summary ==
  
To backup your webesite you will need to backup:
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There are two parts to a complete back up of your Joomla site.
 
   
 
   
a) Your Joomla database [and]
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a) The database information, most often found in your mysql database
  
b) The files and folders of your website
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b) The files and folders on your website, as hosted on most static html websites
  
== Manual System Backup ==
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== Database Backup Part 1 of 2 ==
  
How to backup the database and site is well documented in [http://docs.joomla.org/Copying_a_Joomla_website Copying a Joomla website]
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One of the first steps to backup your Joomla site is to close the site to the public, backup the files, and then re-open the site. The steps from phpmyadmin.net omit this much needed operation.  Go to the backend of your Joomla control panel, under global configuration, under the site tab, set "site offline" = yes.  This will then change the look of your configuration.php file in the root of your Joomla website.    An administrator will need to use your hosting control panel to view that file or use FTP to download and view the file.  Inside configuration.php you can find the name of your database that will need backing up.  Look for the line with code resembling "var $db = 'x1234';"  Where x1234 is the name of your database. 
  
For the database back-up we use phpMyadmin and a good tutorial can be found at [http://joomlatutorials.com/joomla-tutorials/joomla-15x/joomla-15x-administration/backup-database.html Joomlatutorials]
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Using the logon information for your server or hosting company open the PhpMyAdmin tool. Open the database and look for the table named "users" and then click the icon to "view" the data in that table.   You should see the names of staff who have accounts on your Joomla site.  This view provides you the confidence that you are about to backup the correct database. Click the export tab, then go.  Your browser will download your database into an SQL file.  Find where you browser put that file, then move the file to a much more secure drive or location. 
  
For backing up your files and folders you need to use an FTP-client such as the very popular [http://filezilla-project.org/ Filezilla] or any of the dozens described in this [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_FTP_client_software wiki-entry] but check the [http://forum.joomla.org/index.php Joomla forum] what is widely used if your are not sure what ftp-client is suitable for you!
 
  
== Automated system backup ==
 
  
Several automated [http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/access-a-security/backend-a-full-access-control backup extensions] for Joomla 1.5 are available and highly sophisticated is the free backup and restore extension [http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/access-a-security/site-security/backup/1606 Akeebabackup] which offers in its commercial version several interesting and helpful features as fully automated backups via cronjobs.
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Server SQL databases can be backed up without PhpMyAdmin and instead using the SQL command line. If you know how to do that, you're most likely not in need of this documentation.
  
If you use cPanel as Control Panel and your host has enabled daily/weekly/monthly backups you will be able to download these backups from your CTRL-panel, tab "backups". A full backup includes all of the files in your home directory, your MySQL databases, and your email forwarders and filters. You can back up your account and move your account to another cPanel server via server-server ftp.
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It is recommended to back up the database at least twice per week or even everyday (and more) if you have an active site.
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== File System Backup Part 2 of 2 ==
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Continue with your site offline, see above.  Your joomla folder and files can be backed up by downloading them with an FTP utility or using the file manager of your webhosting company.  Both of these file options work, neither is better.
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FTP tools move thousands of Joomla files and use more time.  The FTP process can be slow and interrupted.  Many Joomla sites are hosted by providers like godaddy or hostgator who provide a control panel for taking thousands of files in one folder and then creating a zip file very quickly.  This means your site is offline for a shorter amount of time, and you have only one zip file.  Go to your hosting control panel and look for their file manager icon. 
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If you use your hosting file manager, practice using that interface to select your server folder and creating a zip file. Download the zip file locally and then expand it locally to to see what files are inside that zip file.  This option also let's you expand the same zip file for restoration to a staging site.
 +
 
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Backing up the Joomla files with FTP is no different than backing up a static HTML website. Download all the files and folders that exist in the main Joomla directory.  The downloaded locaiton is a folder on your local computer. Be sure that the file and directory structure remains the same as it is in the live site.  When you restore the files, you will use the FTP utility to upload the files to a new server.
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'''As soon as you've downloaded your files via zip or FTP, change your site to be online.
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'''
  
 
== More Backup and Restore Documentation ==
 
== More Backup and Restore Documentation ==
  
Frequent backups are the best way to make sure you can recover if your site has a problem. This video entitled [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2742157386318372444 How to backup and restore a Joomla! database using phpMyAdmin] by kristofdb explains also the steps.
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Some backup help can be found on the documentation for beginners. [http://docs.joomla.org/Beginners] which includes a rough video [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2742157386318372444]   
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Most managers of a Joomla website have access to their SQL data using the GUI interface called PhpMyAdmin.  The link below shows the basic steps to backup a database using PhpMyAdmin (common on most web hosts): http://www.phpmyadmin.net/documentation/#faq6_4
  
More info on phpMyAdmin can be found at the homepage of [http://www.phpmyadmin.net/home_page/index.php PhpMyAdmin]
 
 
   
 
   
Never store the backup on your own server (!) Also do not backup your site(s) on a mirror disk (VPS/Dedi server) on the same server ''only'' since the entire server or datacentre might burn out!
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There are several more automated backup extensions for Joomla 1.5 [http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/access-a-security/site-security/backup/1606 Akeeba Backup (formerly JoomlaPack)] for a full backup of your site or SQL Dumper that can be used for both creating and restoring Joomla databases, Although if for some reason Joomla becomes impossible to log into, the backup will need to be restored through PhpMyAdmin or another method. both these extensions and more are available at http://extensions.joomla.org/
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When servers are hosted in the same building as the staff, the web administrators should make extra care to not save the database and files in the same building.  Fire, water or other damage often wipes out the live website AND backups.
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On a regular basis the web administrators should burn both the database and files to CD or save to an external hard drive off site.
  
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'''TIP.''' If you've never used an FTP client, most hosts provide an FTP capability from within their control panel.
  
 
[[Category:Tutorials]][[Category:Security]]
 
[[Category:Tutorials]][[Category:Security]]

Revision as of 18:07, 3 March 2011

Always keep a recent backup of your site. Accidents happen, and there are many other reasons it helps to have your backup files handy before the need arises. There are many accidents and other causes of data loss. Joomla sites can be compromised by malicious attackers if the side administrator has not paid attention to security, or in rare cases when hackers bypass the best security. Joomla is designed for a team of editors and any one of them can make an error to harm the site. There are many reasons website administrators need to revert the site back to a previous working state.

It helps to practice both backup and restore. Nobody should wait for an emergency to test their skills and tools for dealing with an emergency. Very often people create a backup of something that is empty or corrupted, and discover that none of their critical data was really backed up in the first place. Nobody likes a ship that sinks with empty lifeboats, and it's also wise to practice getting people out of the lifeboats and into a new working system. Backup and restore help web managers create a staging website where new changes can be practiced without risking the production website. Backup and restore can be used to create a duplicate staging site. The clone can be created on a local machine acting as a test server, or any other folder or web hosting account supporting the SQL and PHP versions used by the site you've backed up. Change the color of your staging site template to remind developers that the site is not live to the public.

Contents

Summary

There are two parts to a complete back up of your Joomla site.

a) The database information, most often found in your mysql database

b) The files and folders on your website, as hosted on most static html websites

Database Backup Part 1 of 2

One of the first steps to backup your Joomla site is to close the site to the public, backup the files, and then re-open the site. The steps from phpmyadmin.net omit this much needed operation. Go to the backend of your Joomla control panel, under global configuration, under the site tab, set "site offline" = yes. This will then change the look of your configuration.php file in the root of your Joomla website. An administrator will need to use your hosting control panel to view that file or use FTP to download and view the file. Inside configuration.php you can find the name of your database that will need backing up. Look for the line with code resembling "var $db = 'x1234';" Where x1234 is the name of your database.

Using the logon information for your server or hosting company open the PhpMyAdmin tool. Open the database and look for the table named "users" and then click the icon to "view" the data in that table. You should see the names of staff who have accounts on your Joomla site. This view provides you the confidence that you are about to backup the correct database. Click the export tab, then go. Your browser will download your database into an SQL file. Find where you browser put that file, then move the file to a much more secure drive or location.


Server SQL databases can be backed up without PhpMyAdmin and instead using the SQL command line. If you know how to do that, you're most likely not in need of this documentation.

It is recommended to back up the database at least twice per week or even everyday (and more) if you have an active site.

File System Backup Part 2 of 2

Continue with your site offline, see above. Your joomla folder and files can be backed up by downloading them with an FTP utility or using the file manager of your webhosting company. Both of these file options work, neither is better.

FTP tools move thousands of Joomla files and use more time. The FTP process can be slow and interrupted. Many Joomla sites are hosted by providers like godaddy or hostgator who provide a control panel for taking thousands of files in one folder and then creating a zip file very quickly. This means your site is offline for a shorter amount of time, and you have only one zip file. Go to your hosting control panel and look for their file manager icon.

If you use your hosting file manager, practice using that interface to select your server folder and creating a zip file. Download the zip file locally and then expand it locally to to see what files are inside that zip file. This option also let's you expand the same zip file for restoration to a staging site.

Backing up the Joomla files with FTP is no different than backing up a static HTML website. Download all the files and folders that exist in the main Joomla directory. The downloaded locaiton is a folder on your local computer. Be sure that the file and directory structure remains the same as it is in the live site. When you restore the files, you will use the FTP utility to upload the files to a new server.

As soon as you've downloaded your files via zip or FTP, change your site to be online.

More Backup and Restore Documentation

Some backup help can be found on the documentation for beginners. [1] which includes a rough video [2]

Most managers of a Joomla website have access to their SQL data using the GUI interface called PhpMyAdmin. The link below shows the basic steps to backup a database using PhpMyAdmin (common on most web hosts): http://www.phpmyadmin.net/documentation/#faq6_4


There are several more automated backup extensions for Joomla 1.5 Akeeba Backup (formerly JoomlaPack) for a full backup of your site or SQL Dumper that can be used for both creating and restoring Joomla databases, Although if for some reason Joomla becomes impossible to log into, the backup will need to be restored through PhpMyAdmin or another method. both these extensions and more are available at http://extensions.joomla.org/


When servers are hosted in the same building as the staff, the web administrators should make extra care to not save the database and files in the same building. Fire, water or other damage often wipes out the live website AND backups.

On a regular basis the web administrators should burn both the database and files to CD or save to an external hard drive off site.

TIP. If you've never used an FTP client, most hosts provide an FTP capability from within their control panel.