How to Backup your website files in cPanel

In this article I’ll walk you through how to download a home directory backup of your account in cPanel. This is considered a partial backup of your account, and it includes all of the website and email files from your user’s home directory, but does not include any MySQL databases.

This is a great method to use periodically to backup your website when you’re making large changes, such as updating to the latest version of the software you use to run your website. With this partial home directory backup you’ll be able to restore your own website files to a previous date at any time using cPanel.

When you restore a partial home directory backup like we’re creating covering below, this is going to overwrite any existing files currently on your account. So if you have a /public_html/index.htm file on your account, and the backup you created also has that file, the file from the backup will be restored over the current live file.

If you have a new file such as /public_html/index2.htm live on your website that didn’t exist in the backup, or you’ve gotten new emails since you made your partial home directory backup, these files will not be overwritten during the restore.

How to Backup your Site by Downloading files in cPanel

Using the steps below you’ll learn how to download a partial backup of your website including all the files in your home directory.

  1. Login to your cPanel.
  2. cpanel click on backups

    Under the files section, click on Backups.

  3. cpanel backups click on home directory

    Under Download a Home Directory Backup, click on the Home Directory button.

  4. You can now navigate to the folder your web-browser downloaded the backup to, in this case we can see our backup is named

You should now have successfully backed up your website files by downloading a partial home directory backup in cPanel. The next step would be learning about how to restore website files in cPanel.

Using this home directory backup you can now restore your website files at anytime in case your files accidentally get deleted or have any issues. You probably would also want to learn how to backup your database in cPanel, and restore your database in cPanel to fully understand how cPanel handles restoring the different parts of your website.

Thoughts on “How to Backup your website files in cPanel

  • i have downloaded all the backup data from cpanel but now i am unable to find that file in pc can i know in which format it might be saved

  • Hi,

    I have full back of my old wordpresss website in .tar format. I did not renewed my domain and I have lost all my access to old site.Now I would like to upload this full back up files to my new wordpress site.The size of my back up file is 2GB. Is it possible to upload another site back up file to my new site cpanel.If yes,will some pls help me?





  • In the first paragraph this back-up is described as a partial back-up as it does not include the MySQL databases.

    It is my understanding that it is possible to do a complete back-up of all cPanel accounts and their MySQL databases using Root access. Do you by any chance have a link to a tutorial for this option.

    Thanks. ernie

  • Hi All

    Sorry i am new to all this. When I download a home directory and MySQL they come in .zip form. If in the event I do re-instal them do I upload to cPanel the zipped or unzipped version?

    Also, this is for a forum, will the database and MySQL uploads contain the structure of the forum and the posts on it?. I am not sure what contains what?

    Thanks for any help you may be able to provide

    • The database usually contains the content, the text, the users of the site, but not the design or coding of the site. The code of the site pulls information out of the database and displays it for the user.

  • I am trying to move my websites from One hosting to an other. Both are hostgator. I am not sure how to take the back up of files. You help me for this move. Thanks for sharing nice stuff

  • I don’t think you answered her question because I have the same one. If you have several websites on a single account (add-on domains) then how do you back up and download/transfer only the files of one particular website without the full (and very heavy) home dir backup.

  • Is there a way to backup whole website? Because, what I have done is, I took backup of whole website but not just the home directory. If I want to just upload home directory then should I again download home directory or is there any way to do the same using full backup data. Please help.

    • Hello Umesh,

      Thank you for contacting us. Since a complete backup includes everything, your home directory contents are included in a folder titled “homedir”.

      Thank you,

  • Hi, I am trying to make a backup but my project is kind a big, like 5gb and cpanel would not allow me to do this. Should I copy it all manually via ftp? Thanks. <a href=””></a>

    • Hello Ivan,

      Yes, if you’re trying to make a backup not using the cPanel (especially for the size you’ve indicated), then backup your files by using FTP to pull the files down locally. You can then use local compression programs to archive the files for storage.

      If you have any further questions or comments, please let us know.

      Arnel C.

  • Hello,

    I run a shopping price comparison website called and I have around 1millions of product. My question is if I keep a backup in my within cPanel would this make my site slow?



    • Hello Anam,

      The existence of a backup file will not make the site any slower. However, be aware that storing backup files on the account is a violation of the Terms of Service and our System Admins may require it’s removal from the account. For security reasons it is also best not to store the backup on the server. It is like keeping your spare key on your keychain with the main key.

      Kindest Regards,
      Scott M

  • I’m interested in Scott’s comment above “When making a full cPanel backup, the emails will be included.”

    What type of emails are you referring to  – IMAP only? I ask because I generally use POP emails accounts, which is awkward when migrating a site.





    • Hello Alex,

      It backs up the email files so if the files are on the server (in POP you have to specify to leave a copy on the server), then the emails will be backed up.

      Best Regards,
      TJ Edens

  • I need to move a joomla installation from my current host to inmotion. In reading this tutorial, it seems to only move files which I can do with an FTP. How can I move the complete site including database?

    • Hello Delora,

      You would need to export and then import the MySQL database associated with your Joomla site to the new location. Then you would need to make changes to the configuration files to connect to the new location of the database.

      Additionally, to move the Joomla site, you would need to copy over all of the content files that are associated with it. Here’s an article on how to export a database also includes the link for importing the database as well.

      If you have any further questions or comments, please let us know.

      Arnel C.

  • Hi,

    I’m hosting several websites and need to backup and download one of the websites to give to someone. How do I do this?

    • Hello Ashley,

      Thanks for the question. This article tells you how to make backup. Once you have the backup created, you can download it using an FTP client. You can also just download all the files using the FTP client and then upload them into the new location. Bear in mind that you will most likely need to make changes to the configuration files of the website. If the website uses a DATABASE (like WordPress does, for example), then you will also need to export the database and then import it into the new location. Check out our migration articles in the WordPress section for details.

      I hope this helps to answer your question, please let us know if you require any further assistance.

      Arnel C.

  • As a follow-up question to partial backup of home directory.  If I restore the home directory, do I still need to restore the .sql database?

    • Hello Jim,

      The partial backup accounts for files on the “web server” , it doesn’t account for the MySQL database file. The database file is stored elsewhere, but saving it as an SQL file allows you to move it or recreate in whatever location you prefer.

      I hope this helps to answer your question, please let us know if you require any further assistance.

      Arnel C.

    • Hello Jim D.,

      If you restore a web-based application that uses the MYSQL database and it’s part of it, then, yes, you may need to restore it. If you don’t restore it, then you’re often starting with a new database with no data from previous.

      If you have any further questions or comments, please let us know.

      Arnel C.

  • Hi,

    I am assisting my church by updating their website. I wanted to backup the church website before updating to a newer version of wordpress and possibly a new theme. This video was very helpful.

    Thank you

    • Hello, I accidentally deleted all the content of the public_html folder. Is there any way to restore to the original setup? thanks!

    • Hello victorfg72,

      Yes, our Support team can reset the public_html folder for you. You will, however, need to contact the Live Support team in order for them to do so.

      Kindest Regards,
      Scott M

  • Hi!
    I’m using WordPress to build a site and want to schedule regular backups. This is my first time doing this and have a few questions:
    1. If I do a full cPanel backup, does this include WP files or will I need to backup these files separately through the WP admin interface? Possibly using a WP plugin?
    2. Is it possible to schedule backups to save to Dropbox or something similar rather than the cPanel Backup file?
    3. If I schedule weekly/monthly/etc. backups, does each backup automatically replace the previous backup? Or will I need to periodically clear out old backups to create space for new ones? 
    4. If I schedule backups, do you recommend downloading a copy periodically from the cPanel to another location? And if so, how often?

    Thanks for any help you can offer! 

    • Hello Stacey,

      Thank you for your question. 1. Yes, a Full cPanel backup will include all your files/databases, including WordPress files.

      2. There are 3rd party plugins available for backing up your WordPress files to another site. But, nothing built into cPanel.

      3. Yes, you should remove the backups from your site, or it will essentially be “backing up” the backup.

      4. Since you are responsible for your own files, I recommend always downloading your backups to a local medium, such as hard drive, usb drive, or CD/DVD. This is to help avoid an unscheduled problem. For example, if there was an issue with your server, you may not be able to access your backups.

      Thank you,

  • Hi, i have hosting accounts from another company.Services quality and prices has changed so i think about the change it one of them and found inmotion fits my demands like other company earlier but i wonder what will be my email accounts and received emails if i download full backup from cpanel. Can i upload that full backup to the new hosting? if so, will my email accounts and all of the received and sent emails come to the new place with that full backup? 

    E-mails included written above, i wonder if just email accounts and filters or complete email accounts together with all of the received/sent emails.

    • Hello Serdar,

      cPanel backups made without the root user have proven to be iffy. They will include the filters and settings but around 75% of the time they will also include email accounts and their emails. Alternatively you can copy the mail folder from the old host to your new destination.

      Best Regards,
      TJ Edens

  • I wish to know if the content backed from a domain cpanel does contain the emails too ,if not how i back email from the Cpanel before migrating to another hosting vendor.

  • when i open up the homedir and fine the public_html directory it doesnt look like there is a whole bunch there.  only 5 lines

    cgi-bin   4KB

    .htaccess  o bytes

    404.shtml   1.66KB

    home.html    1.92KB

    layout-styles.css     4.1KB


    does this mean that the actual files for my website are still being housed by my previous company’s wordpress account?  I am trying to transfer everything from the site to my ownership but they will not give me access to the admin.

    all i have right now is switched the domain to be hosted under my account


    • Hello Erin,

      What you see means that those files are the only ones in your public_html folder. Unfortunately you do need access to that account in order to be able to copy the files over to us.

      Kindest Regards,
      Scott M

  • Thanks Arnel- how can i tell if the backup that I downloaded from above will have all of the content that is on the website?  I opened the file and unziped it using winrar but when i go thru the folders everything seems like it is blank.  the backup says that total unpacked size 15,830,000 bytes.  


    It seems like what is being hosted with GoDaddy isn’t the actual nuts and bolts of the site.  I am worried that the company who originally had the site will turn it off and I will lose all the content and images that we have created after the years.  I used HTTrack to copy everything.  Will that help at all?  

    • Your files from your home directory should be inside a folder called homedir. Inside there, your website fildes should be in the public_html directory.

  • I own a website and had another company managing it but now I want to take full control over the website but worried that the other company might damage the site.  I have moved the hosting of the website over to my name.  I have downloaded the backup files just as instructed above.  Is this all I need to do incase something happens to the website? And how do I make changes to the content that is on the website?

    • Hello Erin,

      Thanks for the question. The article above advises how to back up your website files that can be accessed with the cPanel. If you website includes a database, then you should also follow the link above for making a database backup. This does give you some insurance by capturing a snapshot of your website at the time that you made the backup of your files (and/or database).

      The other question you ask is much more complex. How do you make changes to your website? It really depends on how your website was built. It may require that you change the code if it was manually created, or it may require that you login to an administrator interface like the WordPress Administrator if the website was created with WordPress. Making changes to your website requires that you understand how it was created. It also requires that you have access to any required interfaces. For example, the WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla Administrator interfaces require that you login as an Administrator user in order to make changes.

      In the case of a custom coded website, it may require that you understand HTML, PHP, CSS or whatever was used to create it. So, unfortunately, I cannot definitively say how you make changes to your website. It will depend on how it was created.

      I hope that provides you the information you require! Please let us know if you have any further questions or comments.

      Arnel C.

  • Perhaps a silly question – but I’m not tech savvy –  I note that in backup wizard I can backup everything  “full backup” (but then I can’t use cpanel to restore) or I can do “partial backups” (and use cpanel).  If I do all three partial backups does that backup everything I would have gotten in the “full backup”?

    Also – do the backups, backup everything I’ve got in my account or do they only backup stuff in the public_html folder?



    • Hello Bruce,

      The full backup is simply all the partial backups in one. The full just takes root access in order to restore it because it does the entire account at once. The partials do not need that level of access, so they can be done within the cPanel.

      When doing the backups for the home directory, they will back up all the folders and files in your account, even those above the public_html folder.

      Kindest Regards,
      Scott M

  • Hi,

    I have change URL from ( to root (

    When I am opening the site only home page is appear but when i am going to open other pages it gives me an error. Also when i am going to login as for to do changes again error is displaying Internal server Error.

    Kindly guide me what can i do?

    I have not taken backup also.

    Plz help.

    • This is typically caused by an issue within your .htaccess file. I recommend replacing what you have in there with the default WordPress .htaccess content.

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