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Backup now

Before we go on describing the Backup Now page, we have to discuss something important pertaining to the overall backup and restoration process. In order for the restoration to work properly, the original site must have a readable and valid configuration.php on its root. This means that a 'trick' some very few webmasters use, providing a configuration.php which includes an off-server-root PHP file, is incompatible with the restoration procedure. If the 'trick' has been effective on the original site, the installer will have blanks in its options and if the user proceeds with the restoration/installation procedure the site will not work as expected, as crucial options will have the default or no value at all!

Moreover we would like to remind you that restoring to a temporary URL (something like http://www.yourhost.com/~youruser) will NOT work. This has to do with the way Joomla!, Apache and PHP session management works. It has nothing to do with Akeeba Backup. Even if you install straight up Joomla! on a temporary URL you'll have problems logging in or, at the very least, with SEF URLs.

Backup start

The initial backup page lets you define a short description (required) and an optional lengthy comment for this backup attempt. This information will be presented to you in the backup administration page to help you identify different backups. The default description contains the date and time of backup. Both the description and comment will be stored in a file named README.html inside your archive's installation directory, but only if the backup mode is full backup.

Since Akeeba Backup 3.1.b1 both the description and the comment support Akeeba Backup's file naming "variables", e.g. [SITE], [DATE] and [TIME]. These variables are documented in the Output Directory configuration option's description. It goes without saying, but these variables can also be used in the case of automated backups, e.g. CRON-mode backups.

There are two more fields which may be displayed on this page:

  • Encryption key. When you are using the JPS (encrypted archive) format the contents of the archive are encrypted using the AES-256 algorithm and this password. In order to extract the archive you will need to enter this password. If you had entered a default password for JPS files in the Configuration page this field is pre-filled with that password.

    [Important]Important

    The password is case-sensitive. ABC, abc and Abc are three different passwords! Also note that the password is non-recoverable. If you lose or forget your password you will not be able to extract your JPS archive.

  • ANGIE Password. As of Akeeba Backup 3.7.5 the ANGIE installer (embedded in the backup archive) allows you to password protect it. This means that you will have to enter this password before you can restore your site. This feature is designed to prevent unauthorised users from "stumbling" on your site while it's still undergoing restoration and copy your database passwords or obtain other information about your site.

    We STRONGLY advise that you always use an ANGIE Password if you intend to restore your site on a live server. This is the only way to prevent accidental information leak.

    [Important]Important

    The password is case-sensitive. ABC, abc and Abc are three different passwords! Unlike the JPS password, setting an ANGIE password will not prevent anyone from extracting the archive and looking at its contents. It will only prevent people attempting to browse your site while you're restoring a backup from seeing potentially confidential information in the installer.

Whenever you are ready to start the backup, just click the Backup Now button. Do note that above the description field, there might be one or more warnings. These are the same warnings appearing in the Control Panel's right-hand pane and act as a reminder.

[Important]Important

Default output directory is in use is not an error message! It's just a reminder that the default output directory is a well known location on your site. In theory, a malicious user could figure out the name of the backup archive and download it directly over the web. In order to deter that, Akeeba Backup places a .htaccess file (compatible with virtually all Apache installations) and a web.config file (compatible only with IIS 7) to deter that. If you are using a host which doesn't support the directives of those two files, the contents of that directory may be inadvertently available over the web to malicious users. If in doubt, ask your host. Do not ask us, please, we are not your host.

Our recommendation: consult your host about the proper way to create a backup output directory above your site's root and make it writable by PHP. Then, use that directory as the Output Directory in all of your backup profiles. This method offers the best protection.

Backup progress page

Once you click on the Backup Now button, the backup progress page appears. You must not navigate away from this page or close your browser window until the backup is complete. Otherwise, the backup process will be interrupted and no backup file will be created (or you'll end up with an incomplete backup file). Akeeba Backup disables the Joomla! menu during backup to prevent accidentally switching to a different page.

The backup progress page consists of a large pane. The top section of the pane lists the steps Akeeba Backup has to take in order to complete your backup. Steps in gray background have not been dealt with yet. Steps in green background have been successfully completed. The step in blue background is the one being currently processed.

Below that, you will find two lines. The first line will show you which table or directory has been backed up in the previous step. This is very important. When the backup crashes, it hasn't necessarily crashed backing up the table or directory you see on the screen. Most likely that the table/directory which has been successfully backed up. The real problem appears in the log file and this is why we are adamant in asking for a backup log to be posted with your support request. The line below is normally used for messages of lesser importance, such as noting the percentage of a table already completed (especially useful when backing up huge tables) and the name of the archive part which was processed by a data processing engine.

The big bar is the overall progress bar and displays an approximation of the backup progress. Do note that during file backup you may see this bar jump back and forth. This is normal and, please, do not report it as a bug. It is exactly how it is supposed to behave. The reason is rather simple. Before your site is backed up, Akeeba Backup doesn't know how many files and directories it contains. As a result, it tries to do an educated guess and display an approximate backup progress. Guesswork is never accurate, which causes some jumping back and forth. Nothing to worry about, your backup is working without a problem.

The next thing you see is time elapsed since the last server response. This resets to 0 when a new backup step is started. If you see a last server response over 300 seconds –except when the application is uploading your backup archives– you can assume that your backup has crashed. Only in this case you should navigate away from the backup page and take a look at the log file for any error messages. Always try different configuration options, especially changing the minimum and maximum execution time, before filing a support request.

Should a minor (non fatal) error occur, Akeeba Backup displays a new Warnings pane with yellow background. This box holds the warnings which have occurred during the backup process, in chronological order. These are also logged in the Akeeba Backup Debug Log and marked with the WARNING label, that is if your log level is at least Errors and Warnings. Usual causes of warnings are unreadable files and directories. Akeeba Backup regards them as minor errors because, even though the backup process can go through, what you get might be a partial backup which doesn't meet your expectations. In case warnings appear on your screen you are advised to review them and assess their importance.

Sometimes your backup may halt with an AJAX error. This means that there was a communications error between the browser and your server. In most cases this is a temporary server or network issue. Depending on your configuration preferences, Akeeba Backup may try to resume the backup after a while. By default, Akeeba Backup will retry resuming the backup at most three consecutive times and after waiting 10 seconds after each error. If the backup cannot be resumed you will receive an error page, at which point your backup has positively failed.

Backup completion page

After the whole process is complete, Akeeba Backup will clean up any temporary files it has created. Akeeba Backup will also clean temporary files and delete incomplete archive files upon detecting a backup failure. Please note that log files are not removed by default. You will have to go to the Manage Backups page, select the failed backup attempt(s) and then click on Delete Files or Delete to have it remove the log files of failed backups.

By that point, your site backup file has been created. You can now navigate out of the backup page and possibly into the backup administration page, clicking on the handy button which appears below the backup completion message.

Frequently asked questions

Where are my backup files?

How can I download my backup files?

I got an "AJAX loading error" when backing up. What should I do?

How do I know that my backup archive works?

What happens if I have a backup problem?

How do I get support?