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Backing up your website is a necessary step for all users. Be sure to read our Do you run backups of your servers? article for an overview of how backups are maintained for our servers.

How to back up your website

Before making any changes to your website, it's best practice to always create a backup. Cpanel has a built-in backup tool to assist you with creating backups. This handy utility will create a zip file (comressed file) that you then can download to your local computer for storage. Please be advised, we do not allow anyone to store backups in file manager, you must store them off of the server.

Creating a full backup ensures you back up everything and is the safest method to ensure all your website files and emails are safe. We recommend that all of our customers maintain their own backups. You have the option of backing up databases, files and email forwarders. You can read more about cPanel backups here.

Generally, performing a full cPanel backup can take a while. If you are using a content management system such as WordPress, often the files are not affected by changes you make. Posts and other critical data is stored in a database. Let's start out with seeing how to generate a full cPanel backup. 

First, log into your cPanel account and locate the "Backup Wizard" icon under the "Files" section.


Next, choose Backup.


Then, choose full backup.


On the next screen you will need to choose where to store the backup. You can set this to the "home" directory so you can find the file once it has completed. Remember, when it has completed you will need to remove it from the server. Also, you can have a notification sent when the backup is completed. Fill in your email address you would like the notification sent to. Then click "Generate Backup"


You will be notified once the backup has completed. 

Creating a Partial Backup

If you only want to backup file in your home folder or just one database, you can do a partial backup. First, click on the "Backup Wizard" under the files section just like we did in the above tutorial.

Instead of clicking Full Backup, click on the partial backup links on the right hand side. If you want to backup a database, select "MySQL Databases"


Select the database you wish to backup. 

Please check the next article on Creating an FTP account in Cpanel. If you missed our previous article, please see the Using File Manager in cPanel tutorial. For more information on this course please visit Managing your Files in cPanel.

Continued Education in Course 202: Managing your Files in cPanel
You are viewing Section 3: Backing Up your Website
Section 2: Using File Manager in cPanel

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Related Questions

Here are a few questions related to this article that our customers have asked:
How long does a backup take?
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2012-08-07 4:10 am
I started reading at the article about backing up one's WordPress site. That article basically recommends doing a full C-Panel backup and provides a link to this article.

However, I notice in one of the screen shots it says, "You cannot restore full backups through your C-panel interface."

This confuses me. Why do a full C-Panel backup if that backup can't be used to restore your website?

Thanks for any help!
2012-08-07 4:28 am

Hi, again. I think I answered my own question from above. I read somewhere else that only the InMotion technical support staff can restore a site from a full C-panel backup. We can use the backup Wizard in C-panel to do a full backup, but then we would have to provide the file created to InMotion tech support for them to use it to perform the restore.

This certainly seems the easiest of all the backup options available. Does anyone know if there is a downside to relying on this kind of backup/restore system for one's website? Are there advantages to the other methods?
30,067 Points
2012-08-07 8:32 am
Hello Doug,

That is correct, the zip file the full backup provides needs to be extracted from the root of the server. That is why it needs the support team to do so. You can always upload backups did you did them as partials such as simply the Home directory. Doing the partials (Home and database) still gives you all the site data, but in pieces that can be restored by you.

Full backups are easier to store as they are in one piece as long as you do not mind contacting support for a restore. They are done quickly as we consider all restores time sensitive.

Best Regards,
Scott M
2012-10-25 12:18 pm
IMH support is advising me to use the cPanel backup. I have been using their Softaculous option for backup, but ALL softaculous restores of my Magento sites fail, and leave the site unuseable. IMH is aware of this. IMH is using V4.1.4. Softaculous released V4.1.5 on 10/8/2012, and one of the bug fixes was this very issue.
5,399 Points
2013-08-02 10:10 am
Hi @mroselius! Upon each Softaculous Update/Release, we perform detailed review and testing before proceeding with the update. This process typically is completed the week of the release and expedited if there is a security release.
n/a Points
2015-04-13 9:40 pm

I submitted a copy, twice in fact, of a chat conversation with one of your support guys just a few minutes ago, but it seems that my submissions are not going through.  Anyway, here it is again, and it is self-expalanatory.  I hope someone truly knowledgeable can help me.  thanks.

n/a Points
2015-04-13 9:41 pm

I am testing if this page is working because this is my THIRD submission here in the last few minutes and nothing seems to be going through.  So this is a test.

26,940 Points
2015-04-14 10:45 am
Hello Manuel,

Sorry for the problem that you had with the support rep in chat. The Support Center website is manned from 800 am to 900pm (Monday-Friday). So we apologize if it appears you're not seeing a response. Based on your posts, it appears that you're having trouble with migrating from Arvixe to InMotion Hosting. We also use cPanel for the interface that is pre-installed into the server. In order to take a backup of a cPanel login and then REPLACE the installation of another cPanel login, you would need to have ROOT access to the account. It's not something that you can simply overwrite while you're in the cPanel interface. This type of installation requires the attention of technical support. They can and will make that transfer for you. If you need further information about transferring a website from another host, please see How to migrate a website from another host?

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

Arnel C.
n/a Points
2015-04-22 2:12 pm

I generated a full backup and was sent an email that it completed. Now I'm unclear how to find it so that I can download it to my local harddrive?  I looked in the file manager, but can't find it?  It's only been 2 days since I generated it.  Help?

26,940 Points
2015-04-23 11:56 am
Hello Jennifer,

If you look in the HOME directory, then look at the file list on the right hand side (in the cPanel File Manager), then you will see the backup file - the start of the file name is backup-4.22.2015_11-55-38_cons...tar.gz . Click on the file to select it, then select the DOWNLOAD option at the top of the FileManager interface.

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

Arnel C.
n/a Points
2015-05-07 3:04 pm

How do I retrive the backup off the server after I get an email saying a full backup is compele?

18,906 Points
2015-05-07 4:36 pm
Hello Lashondra,

Thank you for contacting us. When you generated the backup, you selected a "<>Backup Destination" which is where the backup will be located.

If you did not change the default setting, it will be in your Home directory with the date you created the backup.

You can locate this directory, and Download files using the cPanel File Manager.

Thank you,
n/a Points
2015-05-28 4:42 pm

My cPanel backup was expected to take a while, due to our website size and image files.

But over 4 hours? cPanel still says

Full Backup in Progress

isn't it about time this was complete?

18,906 Points
2015-05-28 9:00 pm
Hello Mitch,

Thank you for contacting us. It can take some time for backups to complete, based on the size of your account, and how busy the server is at the time you are performing the backup.

I recommend entering your email address in the available field, so you will be notified via email upon completion of the backup.

Thank you,
n/a Points
2015-06-10 2:39 pm

What if I only want to back up a single add on domain? How do I do that?

26,940 Points
2015-06-11 4:00 am
Hello Catherine,

Add-on domains are stored in folders under the primary domain (unless you've requested a change in the root domain). To backup the single add-on domain, you would backup the folder of files associated with that domain. If the domain uses a database, then you would need to export and backup the database as well.

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

Arnel C.

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