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Exclude data from the backup

More often than not you have data on your site you don't want to include in the backup set. This can be host-specific directories (e.g. cgi-bin, stats, etc), log files, temporary data, an huge but immutable collection of large media files, click tracking tables, download log database records and so forth. The exclusion filters allow you to fine tune what should be left out of the backup set.

Files and Directories Exclusion

Very often our sites have files or folders which don't really belong to the backup. A few examples are:

  • Additional sites whose root folders are subdirectories of your site's root. As explained elsewhere in this documentation, backing them up and restoring them would end up overwriting more sites than you bargained for.

  • Directories with large amounts of videos, images, download repositories or other infrequently changing files. In most cases it makes sense to exclude them from your daily backups and only include them in a separate weekly or monthly backup profile.

  • Leftover files you had forgotten about until the time came to back up your site. For example, that really big ZIP file with the previous version of your site you meant to delete two years ago.

Akeeba Backup lets you exclude files and folders to solve these problems.

Before discussing this feature, you should be aware of some automatic file and folder exclusions applied by Akeeba Backup. Akeeba Backup will automatically exclude your site's temp-folder and logs folder as configured in your site's Global Configuration; the "cache" directories under your site's root and administrator directory; and all files and directories inside the Akeeba Backup's output directory. This means that you should never use a folder whose contents you intend to back up as your backup output directory, your site's temp-folder or your site's logs folder. Moreover, do not leave the temp-folder and / or log folder blank or set them to your site's root in your site's Global Configuration. Doing so will result in your backup archive NOT having any of your site's files since the site's root will be automatically excluded by the automatic filters as explained above.

Files and Directories Exclusion - Browser View

At the top of the page there are two tabs, allowing you to switch between the Browser and Summary views.

The middle area contains a few controls you need to know about:

  • The Root Directory drop-down menu. Akeeba Backup can define filters for the site's files or for each of the off-site directories separately. The default selection, [SITEROOT], contains all filters pertaining to the main site's files. If you have defined off-site directories, you can select the appropriate directory from the drop-down list in order to define filters for that directory.

  • The Reset all filters button will, as the name implies, remove all of the file and directory exclusion filters for the selected root directory.

  • The List all exclusions button takes you to the Summary View page.

  • The Current directory bread crumb list. It shows the current path relative to the Root directory above. Clicking on a subdirectory allows you to quickly navigate to it.

The lower area consists of two panes, showing the folders and files in the current directory. The icons next to each item are an exclusion type each. You can use them to enable / disable filters on each folder or file. The top row of each panes has controls (icons) which apply the filters to all of the listed folders or files below it.

Each icon can have three states: on (yellow background), off (gray background), or force enabled (red background). You can toggle between the on and off states by clicking on the icon. The force enabled state means that this exclusion type is active (on) and forcibly enabled by another feature of Akeeba Backup, such as the automatic exclusions discussed above, the regular expressions filters or a programmatic filter (plug-in) by a third-party developer. Force enabled filters cannot be changed through this page.

The available filters for directories are:

  • Exclude Directory. When enabled, the folder and all of its contents (subdirectories and files) will not be included in the backup. This filter overrides the Skip Subdirectories and Skip Files filters.

  • Skip subdirectories. When enabled, the subdirectories of this directory will not be included in the backup. However, the directory itself and its files will be included in the backup.

  • Skip files. When enabled, the files inside this directory will not be included in the backup. However, the directory itself and its folders (and the files inside these folders) will be included in the backup.

If both Skip Subdirectories and Skip Files filters are enabled on a folder then an empty folder will be included in the backup. If you do not want the folder to be included at all use the Exclude Directory filter.

Clicking on a folder name in the Folders pane will navigate inside it.

The available filters for files are:

  • Exclude File. When enabled, the file will not be included in the backup.

  • The file name.

Each file name displays its size to the right. The file size will be displayed in the unit which is more convenient, i.e. bytes, KB, MB or GB. If you see no unit of measurement, the size is displayed in bytes.

Files and Directories Exclusion - Summary View

The Summary View displays a list of filters instead of a directory browser.

At the top you have the Root Directory drop-down menu. Akeeba Backup can define filters for the site's files or for each of the off-site directories separately. The default selection, [SITEROOT], contains all filters pertaining to the main site's files. If you have defined off-site directories, you can select the appropriate directory from the drop-down list in order to define filters for that directory.

On the top side of the grid you have the Add new filter buttons:

  • Exclude Directory. The named folder and all of its contents (subdirectories and files) will not be included in the backup. This filter overrides the Skip Subdirectories and Skip Files filters.

  • Skip Subdirectories. The subdirectories of the named folder will not be included in the backup. However, the folder itself and its files will be included in the backup.

  • Skip Files. The files inside the named folder will not be included in the backup. However, the folder itself and its subfolders (and the files inside these folders) will be included in the backup

  • Exclude File. The file will not be included in the backup.

The same notes regarding use of folder filters described in the Browser View apply.

Each line of the grid displays the following information:

  • The filter type. As described above in the add new filter buttons.

  • Trashcan. When you click it, the filter row will be removed.

  • Pencil. When you click it, the row switches to edit mode

  • The filter item itself. It is the relative path to the directory or file which the filter row applies to. The path is relative to the Root directory displayed on the selection box on top.

When you click on the pencil icon, the filter item becomes an edit box. You can type in the new relative path and then click outside the edit box, or press Tab on your keyboard, to immediately save the changes.