How To Backup Your Website (And Why It Is Important)

Data corruption, system failure, incompetent employees, natural disasters, fires, and so much more. There are all explanations as to why data can be permanently lost. Unless your hosting provider supplies off-site automatic backups, it is possible that this can happen to your website, and its precious data. Keeping a backup (Or even multiple) is beneficial in multiple ways. Not only will it save you from rewriting code and losing all your customers data when something catastrophic occurs, but having accessible backups also prevents against data corruption from viruses and other cyber attacks.

How to backup your websites files

First, locate your FTP login credentials from your hosting provider (TinkerHost.net users can find this information in the “View Account” page), then login to your FTP account over FTP (We recommend using FileZilla or WinSCP).

Next, download a copy of the root folder from the server to your computer (This is generally called “htdocs” or “public-html”). If you have multiple domain names connected to your account, most hosting providers will assign each its own root folder, so you will want to download the folder(s) that is connected to each additional domain name as well.

For example, if your hosting account has the domain names “tinkerhost.net” and “app.tinkerhost.net”, make sure to download both the primary domain’s root folder (“/htdocs” or “/public-html”), as well the root folder belonging to the subdomain (Generally “/app.tinkerhost.net/htdocs” or just “/app.tinkerhost.net”).

Note that the download can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. It all depends on the speed of your internet connection, and the size of the download. You don’t have to watch your computer the entire time (We recommend getting a snack or watching a movie). After the download is complete, you may want to rename the downloaded folder to include the word “backup”, as well as the date. Additionally, you may want to copy this backup file to an external drive or USB stick, and store it in a different location (Like a trusted friend's house or a bank deposit box), or within a locked fireproof safe.

How to backup your websites database(s)

If your website has a database, make sure to take a backup of it as well. For example, if your website uses a CMS like WordPress, an eCommerance platform like OpenCart, or just a user login page that stores user information, you probably have a database. If you are unsure if your website uses one, you can always check by following the first step below!

To start the export or check to see if you have a database, open the control panel for your website, then select the “PHPMyAdmin” (or similar) option. Once PHPMyAdmin opens, select “Databases” from the top menu (Note that some hosting providers have you select a database from the control panel instead of within PHPMyAdmin). If one or more databases appear, then move on to the next step. If nothing shows up or you are prompted to create a database table, then there is nothing more you need to do.

If you have databases active for your website, we recommend that you export each individually, instead of all together in one file. To export a database, first select the database's name to open it in the PHPMyAdmin application. Once the database is open, select the “Export” option from the top menu.

The default “Quick” export option is sufficient for most websites, but if you want your database exported in a certain format, you can use the “Advanced” or “Custom” option.


Hopefully this article provided you with the information required to successfully backup your site in order to protect your code and your customers data from getting forever lost. If you are ever looking for a quality free hosting provider to cut project costs, or just to test out code, tinkerhost.net is the service for you.

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