Backup Stratagy

You hear and read a lot about making backups, but what is the best way to make them? To be safe in case of server failure you MUST backup to somewhere other than your server. Dropbox and the like spring to mind, but their free packages soon get full, and the bigger packages are not exactly cheap. Of course, we all have almost unlimited free space, and that is the computer. Can we back up here? Of course, but you need to put in some time and effort (and maybe some money)

Doing them manually is the cheapest of course, but it takes time and relies on you remembering. Can it be automated? Of course it can but all of the 'all in one' packages I have tried have problems. Either they crash, don't back up everything I want, or cost a fortune.

So here is how I do it. It depending on the software you use, it can be free (or minimal cost)

Firstly you need to backup the database(s) david63 has a wonderful extension that does just that, but what if you have non phpBB databases you want to backup?

In comes MySQLDumper. It is free, easy to configure, and will make a backup of every database on your server as often as you require. Download, unzip and upload the MySQLDumper folder to your server. Go to and install the software using the wizard. Once you have done that you will need to edit one of the files and re upload it.

Go to click Backup click perl and copy the entry under Entry in for absolute_path_of_configdir: It will be in the following form:-

CODE: Select all



and paste the above into my $absolute_path_of_configdir

save and upload the contents of MySQLDumper/msd_cron/ to your cgi-bin and CHMOD them to 755

Next copy the entry under Commandline in the Shell or for the Crontab: It will be in the following form:-

CODE: Select all

perl /home/*********/public_html/cgi-bin/ -config=mysqldumper -html_output=0
Go to your cPanel, find the CRON job link and paste that information into the Command window and set the frequency you would like the backup to be made. Then save the job.




MySQLDumper will now run at the frequency you have set, saving the backups in the work directory.

So, now you have backups of your database, but they are still on your server. You can of course have MySQLDumper email them to you, but that might soon fill your email inbox. How can we get them onto the computer? I use NetDrive. It comes with a 30 day free trial, and after that costs £40+VAT. If you decide not to purchase, it will still work, albeit with limited facilities.

NetDrive mounts your server as a drive on your computer allowing you remote access without having to use a FTP program. Just be aware that if you delete a folder of file from the mounted drive you WILL delete it from your server as well.

Anyway, install and configure the software and you will see a new drive on your computer.

Now you can copy/paste the files to your computer, but we are trying to automate it. What you need now is a computer backup program. There are a number available, ranging from free to very expensive. I already have Acronis, so obviously I use that. Its not the cheapest, but the the best and has the most facilities of any I have tried. You can schedule it to backup any file/folder on your computer to anywhere on your local network.

So, what do I need to backup? Databases obviously, so select the MySQLDumper/work/backup directory. If you allow uploading of avatars, attached images etc you will also need to backup your forums /images and /files directories. I suggest that you also have a backup of your config.php file. All of the other files can be ignored as you can always re download them from should the need arise.

... and that is it. You can now sit back and relax knowing that your website is safely backed up.