How to Download a Backup of Your Website

How to Download a Backup of Your Website

Whether you’re a personal website owner or an online business entrepreneur, you want to make sure your website is secure. Losing your site data due to a human error, malware, or hardware malfunction can be hard to recover from.

Ensure this doesn’t happen by backing up your website on a regular basis. This might sound like a technically difficult task, but it’s actually quite simple to do.

This article will explain both how to back up a website manually and via your hosting provider’s control panel.

Why and How Often Do You Need a Website Backup?  

A website backup is a copy of all your data, files, and databases. Its purpose is to prevent data loss if something happens and your current site breaks down.

If you don’t have a backup service set up, you can lose essential data in case of an accident. If you’re running an eCommerce business, this can have a negative effect by interrupting revenue streams and losing the trust of your customers. 

While hosting providers and content management systems have ways to prevent data loss, no system is 100% secure. For example, WordPress powers 40.7% of all websites, making it a popular target for malware infections and hacking attempts. 

In fact, there are around 90,000 attacks on WordPress websites per minute. 

These are due to various WordPress vulnerabilities – 52% of them are due to WordPress plugins, and 11% are due to WordPress themes. This makes it crucial to ensure that the WordPress themes and plugins you install come from credible sources.

Furthermore, there’s a chance you might come across an error while updating the WordPress core files, themes, and plugins. Incomplete or corrupted data and files can result in your site not loading correctly, which might require you to restore the site to the previous version.  

The general rule of thumb is that you should backup your website whenever you make significant changes. You can also create a regular backup schedule by using a backup service, depending on how frequently you update your site. 

How to Backup Your Website Manually via FTP and phpMyAdmin? 

Most web hosts offer an automatic website backup solution. However, there are times when this backup service may not work, and you will need to do it yourself.  

Keep in mind that you need to download both the website files and the database when backing up your site manually. Otherwise, the backup will not work, and your data may be lost.

Backing Up Website Manually via FTP

With FTP, you won’t need to log in to your hosting account every time you want to backup your website files and data. However, you will need an FTP client. 

For this guide, we’ll be using the FileZilla FTP client.

Step 1: Connect to the FTP server via an FTP client

  1. Open FileZilla.
  2. Gather all of your FTP details from your hosting account. For Hostinger clients, follow our tutorial on how to configure FileZilla.   
  3. Open FileZilla, click File -> Site Manager -> New Site.
  4. Set Logon Type to Normal. Then, fill in your website’s FTP information.
    1. Host – your website’s domain name.
    2. User –  FTP account username.
    3. Password – FTP account password.
configuration page of filezilla
  1. Press Connect once you are done.

Step 2: Download the website files to your computer

  1. On the FileZilla interface’s upper-left corner, click Desktop or any other folder where you want to save your backups.
    Screenshot of desktop folder

  2. Right-click on the lower-left quadrant, select Create directory and enter it. Name the new directory – for example, Website Backup.
    Creating a directory on Filezilla

  3. On the upper-right quadrant of the FileZilla interface, click on your domain and find the public_html folder.
    A public HTML folder

  4. Drag and drop the public_html folder to the lower-left quadrant or the Website Backup folder. 
  5. Wait until the download is complete.

Backing Up Your Website Database via phpMyAdmin

Next, you need to download the website’s database from the phpMyAdmin control panel. We will be using hPanel for this guide.

  1. Access your hPanel, then select Dashboard under the CMS you’re using. In this case, it’s WordPress.
    WordPress dashboard icon on hPanel

  2. Find the Database sidebar and click on Manage database. It will direct you to the phpMyAdmin area.
    Managing database on the hPanel

  3. Make sure your database and all its files are selected, then press Export.
    phpMyAdmin folder

  4. Choose Quick for the Export method and SQL for Format. Click Go to continue.
    Screenshot of exporting SQL

Once the SQL file is downloaded, make sure to save it in the same folder as the backup files on your computer.

Downloading a Full Website Backup via hPanel

Hostinger automatically creates weekly or daily backups, depending on your hosting plan. The easiest way to download the backup databases and files is by following these steps:

Step 1: Download website files 

  1. Log in to the hPanel, go to Files -> Backups.
    Files section on the hPanel
  2. Click the Select button under Files backups.
    Files Backups on hPanel
  3. Choose the most recent date. Press Prepare to Download.
    Downloading backup data on hPanel

  4. You will get a notification when the process is finished. Click on it to proceed with the download.

Step 2: Download website database

  1. Press the Select button under Database backups.
    Database backups on hPanel

  2. Choose which backup data you want to download, then click Show databases
  3. Select the most recent backup date and press Prepare to Download.
    Preparing to download data on hPanel

  4. Wait until a notification pops up. Click on it to download the database.

If you want to have the latest copy of your files, click Generate new backup -> Select.

Generating Backups section on hPanel

Keep in mind that this backup plan will override your old backup files, so proceed with caution.

Backup Your Website via hPanel One-Click Backups

If you don’t want to download the website data and just want to restore your site’s previous version, you can make use of our one-click restore feature.

Restoring files

  1. On your hPanel, navigate to Files -> Backups.
  2. Press the Files backups Select button. 
  3. Choose the backup date from the drop-down menu, click Show files.
  4. Select the file you want and press Restore files.
    Restoring files on hPanel

Restoring databases

  1. In Backups, select the Database backups.
  2. Pick the backup data you need, press Show databases.
  3. Select the database you wish to restore, click Restore.
    Restoring databases on hPanel

  4. Wait until the process is done.

If you encounter any problems or have questions, feel free to contact our support team.

Generating and Downloading a Full Website Backup via cPanel

cPanel offers several backup options for its users: automatic full backup, a partial backup, and a manual backup.

Option 1: Automatic Full Account Backup

This type of backup solution lets you create a full account backup, including the website’s home directory, MySQL databases, emails, and DNS settings. It’s mainly used for transferring your account to another hosting provider.

Start by logging into your cPanel, then follow these steps:

  1. Head to the Files -> Backup.
    Backup folder on cPanel

  2. Under Full Backup, press Download a Full Account Backup.
  3. On the Backup Destination drop-down menu, select Home Directory.
    Generating full backup on cPanel
  4. Click Generate Backup, and the backup will start automatically.
  5. Press Go Back and check whether or not your files are ready for download. If it’s still in progress, wait for a few minutes and refresh the page.
  6. You will see links under Backups Available for Download. Select the most recent one.
    Downloading backup on cPanel

Option 2: Automatic Home Directory Backup

This backup method is the simplest out of the available options since it only requires a single click. However, it only saves your files and emails.

Here’s a way to download a home directory backup:

  1. From your cPanel dashboard, navigate Files -> Backups
  2. Find the Partial Backups section, click on the Home Directory button.
    Downloading partial backups on cPanel

  3. The download process will start automatically.

Option 3: Manual Website Backup

This backup feature allows you to backup selected files only. However, the steps to backing up the site’s content without a specialized backup tool are a bit more complicated.

Before proceeding, you need to find the root folder where your site files are located. It’s usually in the public_html directory, but it is also possible for your website to be installed in a subdirectory like /w/.

Here’s what you need to do to start the backup process:

  1. Log into cPanel and head to Files -> File Manager.
  2. Locate the root folder of your site and right-click to Compress.
    Compressing the root folder

  3. Choose a Compression Type. We recommend either Zip or Tar, then click Compress File(s).
    `compression options for the root folder
  4. Close the Compression Results window and head over to the File Manager to locate the generated file.
  5. Select the file, in this case, public_html.zip. Head to the upper menu bar and click Download.

Once the last step is done, you will have backed up all the necessary files of your site.

Option 4: Using the Backup Wizard

cPanel also has beginner-friendly backup software that is helpful for those who are new to website backups. If you’re scared to make a mistake when backing up your site manually, simply follow the steps below:

  1. Login to your cPanel, and go to Files -> Backup Wizard.
    Backup wizard on the cPanel

  2. Press the Back Up button. 
  3. Choose the type of backup you want – Full Backup or Partial Backup.
  4. Pick Home Directory as the Backup Destination.
  5. Feel free to type in your email address if you want to receive an email notification once the backup is complete.
    Generating full backup on cPanel

  6. Click Generate Backup, wait for a couple of minutes, and press Go Back
  7. Under the Backups Available for Download, click on the link to download the backup file.
    Backups available for download

Conclusion

Scheduling or manually performing regular website backups is essential to avoid potential problems in the future. Even with the best website security measures in place, accidents can cause significant data loss.

If your site has been backed up, however, restoring the backup will be quick and easy. You won’t have to rebuild anything from scratch, and you won’t lose any critical data.

To quickly recap, you can back up your site in three different ways:

  • Manually via FTP and phpMyAdmin.
  • With hPanel by downloading a full website backup and using the one-click restore feature.
  • With cPanel by downloading a full account, home directory, and selected file backups. Plus, using the backup wizard.

Make sure to back up your website regularly, even if it’s just for peace of mind. 

Author
The author

Ratna Siti N.

Ratna is a web hosting expert and content writer at Hostinger. With her experience with all things tech and SEO, she is ever-ready to share. In her spare time, Ratna likes to read a good book or resume her cross-stitch project.