How to backup your website

With our Plesk and Installatron (1-click web apps) optimized hosting services, there are two key ways to back up your website: Plesk Backup Manager and Installatron Backups.

If you have an application managing your website, like Magento, Modx, or WordPress, you can use 1-click web apps to manage your backups. If you do not, then you will need to use the Plesk Backup Manager.

Both allow you to back up to Dropbox (with the right configuration) and FTP if you wish to complete your backups to a remote location.

Plesk Backup Manager

Advantage: Incremental Backups

Here’s how to use the Plesk Backup Manager to back up your website (files & databases), emails, and Plesk configuration all in one.

  • To get started, Log in to Plesk
  • Once in Plesk, select “Backup Manager” – this is found in the upper right corner in Plesk 12.5 and newer.
  • If you wish to backup right now, choose the “Backup” button. If you wish to set a schedule, choose “Schedule”
  • Choose the option to “Activate this backup task” then configure your backup frequency. It’s strongly recommended to enable incremental backups to save on disk space
  • Given that your backups will take up space within the total storage limits of your plan, we typically recommend a schedule like this:
    • Weekly Incremental (choose a random day of the week) at a time between 1am and 5am.
    • Full Monthly kept for 1 month
  • An alternate schedule:
    • Daily Incremental (choose a random day of the week) at a time between 1am and 5am.
    • Full Weekly kept for 1 week
  • Select the items you’d like to backup. Domain Configuration means the Plesk config — this is handy to have because it means you can restore everything in one-fell swoop if needed.
  • The remaining two check boxes are to select between “Mail” and “Website”.

All set!

Incremental backups mean that Plesk will take one large complete duplicate of everything you specified, then each of the next backups will contain only the changed files. This way each of your backups don’t need to fully duplicate all of the data, saving you disk space.

1-Click Web Apps Backups

Advantage: simple singular web app backup and restore

  • To get started, Log in to Plesk
  • Once in Plesk, select “1-click web apps” – this is found in the upper right corner in Plesk 12.5.
  • Find the app you wish to backup in the list. If you have an app installed, but it’s not showing here, you can import your app. Look for the controls in the upper right (a few buttons that allow you to interact with the app).
  • Backup Now: If you wish to make a backup now, click the second button, which has an arrow pointing to the right, and you’ll be all set!
  • Scheduling: If you wish to schedule backups, click the first icon that has a wrench.
    • Scroll to the bottom section entitled “Automatic Backup” and select the schedule you prefer.
    • Note that on our shared servers the 1-click web apps utility will automatically prune your backups to at most 2 or 3 depending on the server you’re on.

That’s it!

Pick One…

It is strongly recommended to choose only one of the above two backup options. This because the Plesk Backup Manager will include all of the 1-click web app backups within its backups, thusly using more of your hosting plan’s storage space, which is redundant.

With Plesk Onyx 17.5 (should be available on all servers as of end of Jul 2017) you can now configure Plesk backups to ignore certain directories. If you have the storage available and you wish to use both Plesk and 1-click backups, you can simply configure Plesk’s backup manager to ignore the folder “/application_backups” and run both simultaneously without any issues!

Backup Plugins

If you have a plugin within your web app (like BackupBuddy for WordPress) it’s still strongly recommended to choose one available backup solution.

Anything that runs within your provided web hosting space (like a plugin) is inherently limited by the resources applied to your hosting account as a whole, such as timeouts and memory limitations, and will likely not function as reliably as the tools described above. That said, if you’ve got one that you’re confident works well within our hosting environments, then feel free to continue using it; just be sure to disable 1-click web apps and Plesk backups while you do so.

Jordan is a computer, security, and network systems expert and a lover of all things web and tech. Jordan consults with project management for software companies. Jordan is a founder and managing partner at Websavers Inc.

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