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Akeeba Backup troubleshooting guide

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Installation, upgrade and update troubleshooting for Akeeba Backup, Admin Tools and other software on Joomla!

Technically, installation problems are not caused by Akeeba Backup's code. The problem comes from Joomla! and the way some of its functions work. Update issues are similarly caused either by wrong setup or unrelated issues. In this page we have instructions which will help you troubleshoot all such issues. Please follow all of them. Yes, it is a long page, indeed, but there's a reason for this.

You get an error about the package not being uploaded to the server

The packages of our latest versions of our components are rather big. Since the default maximum upload size on most servers is just 2Mb this may cause an upload error. The best solution is to ask your host to set the following in the server's php.ini:

upload_max_filesize = 10M
post_max_size = 10M

If this is not possible, there's a good chance that the following lines in your .htaccess file may work on most servers:

php_value upload_max_filesize 10M
php_value post_max_size 10M

There is also another alternative, but it won't work on all hosts: installation by URL. Please go to the Download section of our site and select the software and version you want to download. Next to the "Download now" button you will see a link called "DirectLink". Right click on it and select "Copy link address" (the exact phrase depends on the browser, but it should have to do about copying the link or its address / URL / location).

Now go to your site's back-end, Extensions, Extensions Manager and find the Install from URL field. Note: on Joomla! 3.x you have to click on the "Install from URL" tab to see that field. Replace the contents of the "Install URL" field with the contents of your clipboard (the DirectLink URL you copied above) and click on the "Install" button next to this textbox. As long as your server supports installing extensions from URL the installation should go through.

If this still doesn't help please read on for further troubleshooting tips

"Install path does not exist"

Joomla! requires the PHP Gzip and ZIP extensions to be installed. If either is not installed or if it's blocked then Joomla! will be unable to install extensions. Unfortunately, a cascade of unhandled errors inside Joomla! itself will cause it to come up with the unhelpful and disorienting "Install path does not exist" error message.

Solution: ask your host to enabled the GZip and ZIP extensions in PHP. Furthermore, ask them to make sure that they are not blocking the functionality of these extensions e.g. by using disable_functions or disable_classes in their php.ini file.

Please note that we routinely see hosts disabling functions zip_open, gzuncompress, gzdeflate and gzdecode for ostensible "security reasons". First of all Joomla! WILL NOT work properly when any of these functions is unavailable. Moreover and despite what your host tells you, disabling this functions does not increase your site's security in any conceivable way. If your host denies to unblock these functions please take your site to a different host that understands how server security really works.

"Unable to write entry" or "Unable to create destination" error

This error message comes from Joomla! and it means that there is a file or directory permissions issue. Unfortunately this message is very non-specific and provides no useful information for troubleshooting. This is something we have already reported to the Joomla! project along with a proposed fix. It may take months to years before it's fixed.

In the meantime, all you can do is ask your host to make sure that all folders and files on your site are writeable by the user under which your site runs. This is not something you or us can do. Please do ask your host.

If this doesn't help it might mean that you have reached the filesystem capacity of your server. Please note that your account on the server might have several limits:

  • Maximum total size of files and database data. This is the most common limit, e.g. your host telling you that you can use 10G of space in total. Please remember that this includes your database data. Moreover, keep in mind that "unlimited" is a marketing term, not reality. Usually you get up to a certain size limit and you have to ask for more, explaining why.

  • Maximum number of files. This is usually NOT advertised. Many hosts will only allow you up to a maximum number of files, e.g. 100,000. If you try to exceed that count the file is not created / replaced, as if the permissions were not adequate to write to it. Please note that most times the host engineers will call it "inode count" because that's technically what they are limiting on your hosting user account.

  • The physical disk size. All the aforementioned limits are great, but you cannot create files beyond the physical capacity of the disks on your server. Most modern hosts use virtualized, network attached storage to provide ever-expanding capacity on demand. However, some cheaper hosts and dedicated servers still have regular disks attached with finite storage limits.

  • Also remember that your hosting control panel does not report the limit information in real time. You may have already exceeded your limits but your control panel not having been updated with this information.

If you are not sure about these limits please ask your host.

Upgrading from Core to Professional

Sometimes, when you try to upgrade from a Core to a Professional release some files are not installed and the Professional edition's features are missing. Just download the latest installation ZIP package and go to Extensions, Install / Uninstall (Joomla! 1.5) or Extensions, Manage Extensions (Joomla! 1.6 and later), then use Upload and Install to install the extension again. Important: DO NOT uninstall the component before reinstalling it!

If you get a blank page or an error message (e.g. a 500 - An error has occurred page with something like Unknown controller installer underneath) you will need to do one more step before reinstalling Akeeba Backup. Go to Extensions, Plugin Manager, find the System - System Restore Points plugin and disable it. Then retry installing Akeeba Backup.

The same instructions also apply when your Extensions Manager (the Extensions, Manage Extensions menu item) results in a blank page or a 500 error page. You have to disable the System Restore Points plugin and reinstall Akeeba Backup Professional.

Updating our Professional releases

When trying to update the component you may get errors like JFolder::files: Path is not a folder or similar. You may also experience a blank page. In any case, please make sure that you ARE NOT using Joomla!'s own extensions updater.

[Tip]Tip

For step by step instructions, please visit our Instructions page (for subscribers only).

If you are using Akeeba Backup Professional or Admin Tools Professional, you need to supply the Download ID to the component, otherwise the update will fail with error messges about not being able to download the file or that the XML manifest file was not found. Begin by logging in to our site and clicking on the My Subscriptions link. You will find a Download ID box. Copy the Download ID code (it's a 32 letter code).

If you have Akeeba Backup Professional, go to Components, Akeeba Backup and click on Component Parameters. Scroll down to the Download ID field and paste the Download ID there. Then click on Save. Go back, click on the Update Found button and click on Refresh update information (this is required for Live Update to fetch your Download ID after entering it for the first time). Then click on Update Now.

If you have Admin Tools Professional, go to Components, Akeeba Backup and click on Parameters or Options in the top right corner of the page. Find Download ID field and paste the Download ID there. Then click on Save. Go back, click on the Update Found button and click on Refresh update information (this is required for Live Update to fetch your Download ID after entering it for the first time). Then click on Update Now.

Pleas note that you only need to do this procedure once on each site you have installed our Professional releases. Future upgrades should work by just clicking on the Update Now button.

If this doesn't work, you can always download the latest installation package of Akeeba Backup Professional or Admin Tools Professional and install it on your site without uninstalling your existing version. Please remember that if you uninstall your existing version you will instantly lose all of your settings. Moreover, if you uninstall Akeeba Backup and are using the default backup output directory all of your existing backups will be deleted and gone forever without any chance of recovering them, ever. So, please, do not uninstall your existing version.

Joomla! 1.6/1.7/2.5/3.0/3.1/3.2 installation problems

Sometimes you get a strange error like "DB: Database reported no error" or "Error building admin menus" when trying to install Akeeba software. What this really means is that after a failed installation attempt, Joomla! 1.6 does not clean up after itself, making it impossible to retry installing a component. Using phpMyAdmin you have to find and delete three database records in three tables to rectify this Joomla! issue. IMPORTANT: This is a bug in the Joomla! extensions installer (com_installer), not a bug with Akeeba software. We did propose a patch which wasn't accepted. We're still waiting for the promised "proper fix".

We'll use Akeeba Backup (com_akeeba) as our example. The keys to our other software are com_admintools for Admin Tools, com_ars for Akeeba Release System. The process is always the same.

  1. First go to Extensions, Extensions Manager, Manage, find any mentions of Akeeba or COM_AKEEBA and uninstall them. It may lead to an error, but don't worry about it yet. Now open phpMyAdmin for the next three steps.

  2. Table jos_assets - Find the row where the name column is com_akeeba and delete it

  3. Table jos_extensions - Find the row where the type column is component and the element column is com_akeeba and delete it

  4. Table jos_menu - Find the row where the title is COM_AKEEBA and delete it

Now you can retry installing the extension.

Check your Joomla! version

We publish the compatibility of our software with Joomla! versions in the Compatibility page on our site. You can find a link on this page at the bottom of every page of our site.

If you have an site still based on the ancient Joomla! 1.5 version please double check your Joomla! version. Joomla! 1.5.0 through 1.5.10 can not install any of our components. This is a limitation of these extremely outdated releases. If you have such a site, upgrade it. Joomla! 1.5.11 through 1.5.14 may or may not be able to install our components. Again, these are limitation of those outdated Joomla! releases on certain hosts. The only workaround is to upgrade your Joomla! installation.

Checking your temporary directory

First, we will have to make sure that you are using a valid temporary directory. Many sites are configured to use the system-wide (/tmp) directory or an invalid directory, causing installation problems. In order to change your site's temporary directory setting you have to follow this procedure:

  1. Go to your site's administrator back-end and click Site, System Information from the top menu.

  2. Click on the PHP Information link

  3. Scroll down the page and find the line starting with SCRIPT_FILENAME.

    [Tip]Tip

    With most browsers you can search on the page for this text. Use CTRL-F (Windows, Linux) or CMD-F (Mac OS X) to start searching on the page. This keyboard shortcut works on Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer.

    Next to the SCRIPT_FILENAME label you can see a path, e.g. /home/myuser/public_html/administrator/index.php

    Replace the administrator/index.php part at the end of this path with tmp , i.e. /home/myuser/public_html/tmp and note down this path. This is your new temp path.

  4. If SCRIPT_FILENAME is not present you will have to follow an alternative method. Create a new text file named cwd.php with the following contents:

    <?php
    echo getcwd();

    Upload it to your site's root.

    Try accessing it through the web browser, i.e. http://www.example.com/cwd.php where http://www.example.com is the URL to your site. If you get a 403 Forbidden error message please remember to temporarily rename your .htaccess file to .htaccess.disabled before accessing the cwd.php file and rename it back afterwards.

    You can see a path, e.g. /home/myuser/public_html

    Append /tmp at the end of this path, i.e. /home/myuser/public_html/tmp and note it down. This is your new temp path.

    Now delete cwd.php for security reasons.

  5. Replace the administrator/index.php part at the end of the path you jotted down with tmp , i.e. /home/myuser/public_html/tmp and note down this path. This is your new temp path.

  6. Go to Site, Global Configuration menu item from the top menu.

  7. Click on the Server link

  8. Find the Path to Temp-folder and replace its contents with the new temp path from step #5.

  9. Save your Global Configuration

Enable FTP

On most shared hosts which do not run suPHP (if you didn't understand anything, most likely the following is applicable to you too) you have to enable Joomla!'s FTP layer. Otherwise Joomla! won't be able to write the files to its directories and installation will fail.

  1. Go to Site, Global Configuration menu item from the top menu.

  2. Click on the Server tab

  3. Set Enable FTP to Yes

  4. In the FTP Host try using 127.0.0.1 or localhost or the FTP hostname assigned by your host

  5. In the FTP Username and FTP Password fields provide the FTP username and password assigned by your host

  6. In the FTP Root you have to type in the FTP path to your site's root. Here is the easy way to find it using FileZilla:

    Connect to your site using FileZilla. Navigate inside the folder Joomla! is installed in. Usually it's a directory named public_html, htdocs, www or something similar. If unsure don't ask us, ask your host. Now, on the right-hand pane you will find the FTP path. Most likely it will look something like /public_html. Copy this and paste it into the FTP Root text box in your Joomla!'s Global Configuration page.

  7. Save your Global Configuration. If you got everything correctly, you should see a message that your configuration was saved. If you see an error message please seek assistance on the Joomla! Forum.

Manual installation

Sometimes Joomla!™ is unable to properly extract ZIP archives due to technical limitations on your server. In this case, you can follow a manual installation procedure.

First, you have to extract the installation ZIP file in a subdirectory named akeeba on your local PC. Then, upload the entire subdirectory inside your site's temporary directory. At this point, there should be a subdirectory named akeeba inside your site's temporary directory which contains all of the ZIP package's files.

If you are unsure where your site's temporary directory is located, you can look it up by going to the Global Configuration, click on the Server tab and take a look at the Path to Temp-folder setting. The default setting is the tmp directory under your site's root. Rarely, especially on automated installations using Fantastico, this might have been assigned the system-wide /tmp directory. In this case, please consult your host for instructions on how to upload files inside this directory, or about changing your Joomla!™ temporary directory back to the default location and making it writable.

Assuming that you are past this uploading step, click on the Extensions, Install/Uninstall (Joomla! 1.5) or Extensions, Manage (Joomla! 1.6 users) link on the top menu. In this page, locate the Install Directory edit box in the Install from Directory area. It is already filled in with the absolute path to your temporary directory, for example /var/www/joomla/tmp. Please append /akeeba to it. As per our example, it should look something like /var/www/joomla/tmp/akeeba. Then, click on the Install button.

Still problems?

If you still can't install Akeeba Backup and you are receiving messages regarding unwritable directories, inability to move files or other similar file system related error messages, please do not ask us for support. These errors stem from your site set up and can best be resolved by asking for help in the official Joomla!™ forums. We can only support software we develop ourselves. Joomla!'s extension installer is certainly not developed by us, therefore we can't help you. Thank you for your understanding