Secure Remote FTP Backups in cPanel

Backing up the files on your computer is essential and the same holds true for the data on your website.  Sure, your web host probably makes a habit of backing up data but why put your fate in their hands?  After all, anything can go wrong including hardware failure, fire or even natural disasters.  Fortunately, there are options for backing up your own website data and storing a copy for a rainy day.  This tutorial will go over how you can perform secure backups to a remote FTP server with cPanel.

What Can You Backup?

cPanel’s backup tool is a real lifesaver and incredibly easy to use.  It allows you to download a zip file of databases, email configurations, databases and the entire contents of the site to your computer hard drive.  While you can’t automatically schedule backups like a client program, the tool is pretty efficient.

The backup utility and cPanel allows you to perform the following:

  • Full backups
  • Backups of your home directory
  • MySQL backups
  • Email filters and forwarders backup.

You can also instantly restore the same items with the exception of full backups.

Performing a Full Backup

If you want to be on the safe side then a full backup is the way to go.  This method will create an archive of your website files and configurations.  Keep in mind that full backups are designed for moving your content to another server or maintaining a copy on your local hard drive.  These type of backups cannot be restored through the control panel interface.

Following these steps to create a full backup of your site.

  • Select the “Backups” icon from the cPanel interface.
  • Next, click the “Download or Generate a Full Backup” tab.
  • For “Backup Destination”, you want to choose a location the backup copy will be saved to. Your choices include

– Home Directory

– Remote FTP Server

– Remote FTP Server (Passive mode transfer)

– Secure Copy (scp)

Since you want to securely backup your files on a remote FTP server, we will follow directions for the FTP/SCP Settings.

  • Enter Address– Enter the email address where you want cPanel to send confirmation letting you know when the full backup has been created.
  • Remote Server (FTP/SCP only)– Enter the host name or IP address of where you want to back up the file.
  • Remote User (FTP/SCP only)– Enter the user ID to the remote server where you want to the send the backup file.
  • Remote Password (FTP/SCP only)– Enter the password to the remote server where you want to send the backup file.
  • Port (FTP/SCP only)– Enter the port number to the remote server where you want to send the backup file
  • Remote Dir (FTP/SCP only)– Enter the directory name of the remote server where you want to send the backup file.
  • Click on the “Generate Backup” tab.

After clicking the tab, you should see a statement explaining that you will receive email notification to the provided email account after a full backup of has been completed.  Once you receive the message, click the “Go Back” link in the body of the email.  This will take you back to cPanel where you will find an entry that reads “Backups Available for Download”.  The backup has been sent to the remote server and you can now download it at any time.

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