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Chapter 3. Using the Akeeba Backup component

Table of Contents

Pages outside the Control Panel panes
Common navigation elements
The Control Panel
Editing the component's Options
Basic Operations
Profiles Management
Configuration Wizard
Configuration
The main settings
Basic Configuration
Advanced configuration
Site overrides
Optional filters
Quota management
Fine tuning
Database dump engines
Native MySQL Backup Engine
Reverse Engineering Database Dump Engine
File and directories scanner engines
Smart scanner
Large site scanner
Archiver engines
ZIP format
JPA format
Encrypted Archives (JPS format)
DirectFTP
DirectSFTP
ZIP using ZIPArchive class
Data processing engines
No post-processing
Upload to CloudMe
Upload to Microsoft Windows Azure BLOB Storage service
Upload to RackSpace CloudFiles
Upload to DreamObjects
Upload to Dropbox
Upload to Dropbox (v2 API)
Send by email
Upload to OneDrive
Upload to Remote FTP server
Upload to Google Storage
Upload to Google Drive
Upload to iDriveSync
Upload to Amazon S3 (Legacy API)
Upload to Amazon S3
Upload to Remote SFTP server
Upload to SugarSync
Upload to WebDAV
Upload to Box.net / Box.com
Backup now
Manage Backups
Integrated restoration
Manage remotely stored files
Discover and import archives
View Log
Include data to the backup
Multiple Databases Definitions
Off-site Directories Inclusion
Exclude data from the backup
Files and Directories Exclusion
Database Tables Exclusion
RegEx Files and Directories Exclusion
Regular Expressions recipes for files and directories
RegEx Database Tables Exclusion
Regular Expressions recipes for database tables
Automating your backup
Taking backups automatically
Front-end backup, for use with CRON
Native CRON script
Alternative CRON script
Checking for failed backups automatically
Front-end backup failure check, for use with CRON
Native CRON script for failed backup checks
Alternative CRON script

In this chapter you are going to find detailed reference of all the pages, options and features of the Akeeba Backup components. To get things organized in a logical manner, we chose to present the individual pages in the same manner they appear on the component's Control Panel page, i.e. the first page which is presented to you when you launch the component's back-end. Some of the pages are not available as Control Panel icons, but from different areas of the component. These are discussed first.

Pages outside the Control Panel panes

Common navigation elements

All pages have their title displayed above their contents. On the tool bar there is a Control Panel icon. Clicking it will bring you back to Akeeba Backup's Control Panel (the first page of the component, with all the buttons).

On pages where editing takes place (e.g. the Configuration page, the profiles editor, etc) instead of the Control Panel icon there is a Cancel icon which discards any changes made and returns you to the previous page. On those pages you will also find a Save icon which saves settings and returns you to the previous page, as well as an Apply icon which saves settings and returns you to the same editing page.

On the bottom of each page, just above the Joomla!™ footer, there is the license information. On the Control Panel page of the Akeeba Backup Core editions there is also a donation link appearing on the right sidebar; if you feel that Akeeba Backup was useful for you do not hesitate to donate any amount you deem appropriate.

The Control Panel

The main page which loads when you click on Components, Akeeba Backup is called the Control Panel screen. From here you can see if everything is in working order and access all of the component's functions and configuration options.

If Akeeba Backup detects a problem with loading the necessary Javascript files, it will issue a big warning message notifying you that it couldn't load the necessary Javascript files. Sometimes, depending on your server settings, this message will not be shown but the interface will behave erratically and appear different than the screen shots provided in here. In this case, you have to use your favorite FTP client and give the media/com_akeeba directory and all of its contained subdirectories and files 0755 permissions (read/write/execute for the owner, read/execute for group and others). If this doesn't work, one of your system plugins is killing Akeeba Backup's jQuery integration. In this case, please contact us. Even if you're not a subscriber, please drop us a line using the Contact Us page so that we can figure out what happened and help you. That said, Akeeba Backup will try to automatically do the necessary changes for you, as long as you have provided FTP connection information to your site's Global Configuration and enabled the FTP option in that page.

[Tip]Tip

Due to the way this warning works you may see a yellow or red flash in the Control Panel, Configuration or Backup Now pages. This is normal and nothing to worry about. It's just your browser being faster in rendering the page than Javascript files loading from your server.

If you see a blank page instead of the Control Panel, you may have a very old version of PHP installed on your server. Please check the minimum requirements of your currently installed Akeeba Backup version. Akeeba Backup will try to detect incompatible PHP versions but this is not always possible.

The profile selection box

Under the quick links, there is the profile selection box. It serves a double purpose, indicating the active profile and letting you switch between available profiles. Clicking on the drop down allows you to select a new profile. Changing the selection (clicking on the drop down list and selecting a new profile) automatically makes this new profile current and Akeeba Backup notifies you about that. Should this not happen, you can manually click on the Switch Profile button on the right to forcibly make the selected profile current.

[Tip]Tip

The active profile is applied in all functions of the component, including configuration, filter settings, inclusion options, etc. The only settings which are not dependent on the active profile are those accessible from the Options toolbar button. Keep this in mind when editing any of Akeeba Backup's settings!

On the right hand side of the page, you will find a column with useful information.

There are two areas:

Status Summary

In this area you can find information regarding the status of your backup output directory. Akeeba Backup will warn you if this directory is unwritable. If the text reads that there are potential problems you must take a look at the details below to find out what these might be!

[Important]Important

No matter what the PHP Safe Mode setting is, it is possible that your host enforces open_basedir restrictions which only allow you to have an output directory under a handful of predefined locations. On this occasion, Akeeba Backup will report the folder unwritable even though you might have enforced 0777 (read, write and execute allowed for all) permissions. These restrictions are reported in the section below the overall status text as an item entitled "open_basedir restrictions".

If any potential problems have been detected, right below the overall status you will find one or several warnings links. Just click on each warning's description to get a pop up window explaining the potential problem, its impact on your backup and precautionary or corrective steps you can take. If this section is empty, no detectable problems were found; this is a good thing, indeed!

[Important]Important

You are supposed to read the full text of the warnings by clicking on each item. Quite often users post for support on our forum asking something which is already written in the full text of the warnings. Please, DO NOT seek support unless you have read the detailed descriptions of all of the potential problems appearing in this box.

Below of all this information you can find a donation link. If you feel that Akeeba Backup has saved your day - and you do not wish or can't afford subscribing to the Professional edition - you can donate a small amount of money to help us keep the free version going!

Backup Statistics

This panel informs you about the status of your last backup attempt. The information shown is the date and time of backup, the origin (e.g. remote, backend, frontend and so on), the profile used and the backup status.

The left navigation panel set

The left navigation panel set allows access to the different functions of the component, by clicking on each icon.

You can edit the component-wide options (formerly: component parameters) by clicking on the Options button towards the top right hand of the page, in the Joomla! toolbar area.

Editing the component's Options

You can edit the component-wide options (formerly: component parameters) by clicking on the Options button towards the top right hand of the page, in the Joomla! toolbar area. The Options editor opens in a new page.

Component options are component-wide and take effect regardless of the active profile.

There are several tabs:

Permissions

This is the standard Joomla! ACL permissions setup tab. Akeeba Backup fully supports supports Joomla! ACLs and uses the following three custom permissions:

Backup Now

Allows the users of the group to take backups.

Configure

(The second one displayed in each group) Allows the users of the group to access the Configuration page, as well as all features which define what is included/excluded from the backup

Download

Allows the users of the group to download backup archives from the Manage Backups page.

Front-end backup

Here you can define options which affect front-end, CRON and remote backups.

Enable front-end and remote backup

Akeeba Backup allows you to take backups from the front-end, or from compatible remote clients (e.g. Akeeba Remote CLI and other third party products or services). In order to be able to do so, you have to enable this option.

Secret word

Whenever you need to take a front-end backup, you have to supply this secret word to let Akeeba Backup know that you really have access to its functions and you're not an impostor, or a hacker attempting to cause a massive denial of service attack by overloading your server with backup operations.

Please note that if you use any character other than a-z, A-Z and 0-9 you MUST NOT use the secret word verbatim in the front-end backup URL. Instead, you have to URL-encode it. The Schedule Automatic Backups page does that automatically for you. Just go to Components, Akeeba Backup, click Schedule Automatic Backups, scroll all the way down and use one of the tabs to get the URL or command line you need to use with the secret word properly encoded in the URL.

[Important]Important

For security reasons you are recommended to use a "secret word" consisting of at least 16 random, mixed case alphanumeric characters. It should not be a dictionary word or based off a dictionary word. One good resource for truly random secret words is Radom.org's password generator. A secret key returned by this generator would require several quadrillions of trillions years to brute force using the available technology in the foreseeable future, i.e. it's really secure to use.

DO NOT USE SHORT OR SIMPLE SECRET WORDS such as "p@ssw0rd", "secret", "admin", "1234", "unicorn", "Morpheus" or "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious". An attacker would try these simple passphrases first and take control over your backups very easily.

[Warning]Warning

As of Akeeba Backup 4.5.0, the front-end backup feature and the JSON API will be DISABLED if you are using a Secret Word with a low complexity. The complexity is calculated based on password best practice criteria. As a rule of thumb use a 16 character secret word consisting of mixed case alphanumeric characters.

[Note]Note

Why is this field not a password field? The Secret word is transmitted in the clear when you load the page and is also visible when you view the source of the page or right click on the field and choose Inspect Element. In other words, as long as someone has access to the component configuration page they can trivially find out the secret word. Not to mention that the secret work is also plainly visible in the Schedule Automatic Backups page.

Email on backup completion

When enabled, Akeeba Backup will send an email regarding the backup status every time a front-end or remote backup is complete or failed.

Email address

When the above option is enabled, the email will be sent to this email address. If you leave it blank, Akeeba Backup will send a copy of the email to all Super Administrators of the site.

Email subject

This option lets you customise the subject of the email message which will be sent when a remote, CRON or front-end backup succeeds. You can use the same variables you can use in file names, i.e. [HOST] for the domain name of your site and [DATE] for the current date and time stamp. Leave blank to use the generic default option.

Email body

This option lets you customise the body of the email message which will be sent when a remote, CRON or front-end backup succeeds. Leave blank to use the generic default option. The email is delivered as plain text; you may not use any HTML to format it. You can use the same variables you can use in file names, i.e. [HOST] for the domain name of your site and [DATE] for the current date and time stamp, inside the body text. Moreover, you may also use any or all of the following variables in order to enhance the clarity of your message:

[PROFILENUMBER]

The numeric ID of the current backup profile

[PROFILENAME]

The description of the current backup profile

[PARTCOUNT]

The number of archive parts of the backup archive which was just generated

[FILELIST]

A list of filenames of the archive parts of the backup archive which was just generated

[REMOTESTATUS]

Available since Akeeba Backup 3.5.3. Shows the status of post-processing, e.g. uploading the file to remote storage like Amazon S3. If you are not using post-processing, this is always empty. If the transfer to the remote storage was successful it will output "Post-processing (upload to remote storage) was successful". If the transfer fails it will output "Post-processing (upload to remote storage) has FAILED".

The options under Check for failed backups are used with the feature for checking for failed backups automatically.

Stuck backup timeout

A backup will be considered stuck (failed) after this many seconds of inactivity. Please note that uploading backup archives to remote storage, such as Amazon S3, using the native CRON mode might take substantially longer than that. We advise you to leave this value as is and schedule the backup failure checks to take place a substantial amount of time (e.g. 1 hour) after the expected end time of your scheduled backups. If a backup failure check takes place before a backup has finished it is very possible that you will end up with a failed backup!

Email address

The email address which will be notified for failed backups

Email subject

Leave blank to use the default. You can use all of Akeeba Backup's variables you can use for naming archive files, e.g. [HOST] and [DATE]

Email body

Leave blank to use the default. You can use all of Akeeba Backup's variables you can use for naming archive files, e.g. [HOST] and [DATE].

Live update

These options define how Akeeba Backup will notify you regarding available updates

Download ID

If and only if you are using the Professional release you have to specify your Download ID for the live update feature to work properly. You can get your Download ID by visiting AkeebaBackup.com and clicking My Subscriptions. Your Download ID is printed below the list of subscriptions. Filling in this field is required so that only users with a valid Professional subscription can download update packages, just as you'd expect from any commercial software.

[Note]Note

Users of Akeeba Backup Core do not need to supply this information. Akeeba Backup Core is provided free of charge to everybody, therefore there is no need to validate the update against a username and a password.

Security

These options define how Akeeba Backup will secure your settings

Use Encryption

Your settings can be automatically stored encrypted using the industry standard AES-128 encryption scheme. This will protect your passwords and settings from prying eyes. If, however, you do not want to use this feature, please set this option to No and reload the Control Panel page to apply this setting. Do note that your server must have either the mcrypt or the OpenSSL PHP extension installed for this feature to work. Please keep in mind that even if your site is using HTTPS this doesn't mean that you have the OpenSSL PHP extension installed. You usually have to ask your host to enable it for you.

[Tip]Tip

For security reasons, we recommend always having this option turned on

Please note that you may have to go to the Configuration page and click on the Save button before Akeeba Backup can successfully detect if your server supports encryption or not. Before doing that, Akeeba Backup might always report that your server does not support encryption.

Back-end

These options define how Akeeba Backup will display its administration interface

Date format

Defines how the Start time of backups will display in the Manage Backups page. Leave blank to use the default date format. The date format follows the conventions of the PHP date() function.

Push notifications

Akeeba Backup 4.2.2 and later can notify you on backup start, finish and –sometimes– on backup failure using push notifications delivered through the third party application Pushbullet. Push messages are delivered to all your devices running the Pushbullet client software including smartphones and tablets (iOS, Android, Windows) as well as laptops and desktops (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X).

Please note that backup failure notifications are only delivered for backups started through the back-end. For technical reasons beyond our control these notifications can not be delivered for remote (JSON API) and scheduled (CRON job) backups: if the backup fails the PHP executable stops working, therefore our PHP code to send notifications can not work.

Push notifications

Select the push notifications type. Currently only Pushbullet and None are supported. If you choose None the push notifications are disabled.

Pushbullet Access Token

Enter your Pushbullet Access Token. You can find it in your Pushbullet account page. Do note that this token gives full access to your Pushbullet account and is visible by everyone who can view and edit Akeeba Backup's settings.