It should go without saying that having a good data backup strategy in case of catastropic failure is essential. Every Joomla administrator should have a few extensions that get installed on every site, and Akeeba Backup should be one of them.
I can't think of any publically (or even privately) accessible Joomla site that shouldn't have Akeeba installed to take care of backing up the site should disaster befall you. Wether your hosting pooped out or something just went wonky, with Akeeba Backup, you can rest assured that you can be back up and running quickly.
What Is Akeeba Backup?
Simply, Akeeba Backup is a Joomla Extension that goes beyond just taking a backup. The one click backup makes it super easy to create a new backup whenever you want, but you can also schedule the backups (pro version) every night, week, month or whatever. Akeeba will also take care of site transfers, migrations or duplications to your development server as well.
Akeeba Backup also gives you full control over what's backed up, and where the backups get stored to. While you can save your backups on your computer for sure, you also can save them to Amazon S3 buckets, Dropbox and other online services.
How To Install Akeeba Backup
The process of installing Akeeba Backup is simple. Just head over to AkeebaBackup.com and download the latest version. Next, just go to the extension manager and upload it into Joomla to install.
You will get a confirmation message telling you Akeeba Backup was installed correctly.
Now, Head over to the Components dropdown and find Akeeba Backup:
You'll find yourself at the Akeeba Dashboard:
Take Your First Backup
First things first, we want to take a manual backup of the site. To do this, all we have to do is click on the yellow backup now button on the top row:
You can now enter a short description, protect the backup with a password and add a comment about the backup so you can remember what was going on in the future. When you're done filling out the fields, just click Backup Now! and the backup will process.
Its important to remember not to browse to a different page or do anything while the backup is processing. Just wait and go grab a coffee while you're waiting for the process to complete.
Once the backup is done, you'll see this confirmation:
Now, just click the Manage Backups button to see the backup.
Right under the manage and download column on the right, you'll see the download button. You can download the archive to your desktop this way, but the preferred method is to FTP to the site and get the backup from /administrator/components/com_akeeba/backup.
Setting Up Scheduled Backups In Akeeba Backup
The next thing that you definately want to do is setup scheduled backups. Keep in mind that this requires an Akeeba Backup Pro subscription, but it is well worth the money. I don't know about you, but I'd loose hundreds of dollars a month if I had to rebuild my live sites again from scratch, so I make sure I have the pro subscription backing up my sites.
Clicking on the Schedule Information icon:
You find youself at a very complex looking screen. Don't worry, we'll go through it now. Open up your cPanel hosting control panel and find the cronjobs icon.
Simply enter the following as I've done:
In the command field, I've entered /usr/local/bin/php /path/to/this/file/httpdocs/cli/akeeba-backup.php
Keep in mind that the /usr/local/bin/php is the path to php on my server, but could be different on yours. You can find your path by opening up a terminal window and using SSH to the server, run the following command:
find / -name php
You should see a path that's simliar to mine: On Ubuntu servers, it might be /user/local/php.
Just click the Add New Cron Job button and you're done.
Note that this will run at 12 midnight every day but at the server time, not yours, so if your server is set to UTC, it will run a backup at midnight UTC, not yours.