From Online Manual
Whatever anybody else might tell you, backing-up is the most important thing you can ever do with SMF or any website. If something goes wrong, yes, you may well be able to fix it. If you can't, maybe somebody else can. But what happens if nobody CAN help you?
Bye-bye forum. Bye-bye members. Bye-bye posts.
Now, you REALLY don't want that to happen, do you? 'course not. So, what to do?
You may have noticed that there's a facility in SMF's "Forum Maintenance" section, to backup your database. Sadly, it's not terribly good. So, we'll ignore that. Also, though, what about your actual site? What about restoring the backups?
Firstly, let's deal with the database.
Backing up your database
When you bought your domain, your host will have given you details on how to access your site's CPanel, or something similar.
There, you'll be able to access something called "phpmyadmin".
Now, of course, different hosts will have different ways of accessing that. For the sake of this article, I'm going to give the means of accessing it via CPanel. Other hosts may be different. But, they'll be pretty similar.
Backing up your database with CPanel
- Firstly, look for the section labelled "Files" and click on (You guessed it) "Backups".
- In the new page that opens, you'll see "Download a MySQL Database Backup".
- Under that,click on the name of your database and a requester will open, so that you can choose where that backup should be downloaded to.
It really is as simple as that!
So, there really is no excuse for not backing up, OK?
The second way, is to use phpMyAdmin.
Backing up your database with phpMyAdmin
Again, you'll need your site's CPanel.
- Look for the section labelled "Databases".
- Under that heading, you'll find "phpMyAdmin".
- If you click that, you'll see a page that might, at first, seem somewhat scary.
- It IS. Be careful what you do, there, because you can SERIOUSLY break things.
- Look at the left-hand pane and you'll see the name(s) of your databases.
- Click on one of them and you'll taken to another scary page.
- On there, you'll see some tabs, along the top. The one you want is labelled "Export".
- When you click on that, you'll get yet another page.
- Under "View dump (schema) of database", you'll see "Export".
- Just below that, click "Select all".
- At the bottom of the page, ensure that "Save as file" is checked.
- Then, click "Go".
The rest, I think you'll be familiar with.
Restoring your database
Restoring your database with phpMyAdmin
To restore your backed-up database, you do exactly the same as to backup, except that instead of clicking "Export", you need the "Import" tab and you navigate to your backup file, by clicking on "Choose", under "Location of the text file".
Please, be aware, though, that if you have large databases, it may be not possible to backup using phpMyAdmin, as phpMyAdmin has some file size limits.
Backing up your forum files
There are two common ways of doing this.
Firstly, you can open your FTP client and use it to download everything to your hard disk.
The other way is to use your site's CPanel (Or whatever your host uses).
- Go to CPanel, look for the section labelled "Files" and click on "Backups".
- In the new page that opens, you'll see "Download a Home Directory Backup".
- Just below that, click on the "Home Directory" button.
- You'll get a requester, so that you can choose where the backup's saved to and you're away!
This will save your whole site. So, be aware, of course, that this can take a LONG time to do, especially if you have a lot of files on your site.
Restoring your forum files
Again, this can be done by using FTP to transfer the backed-up files from your hard disk to your site.
The other way is to go to the same place in your site's CPanel (Or whatever your host uses) that you use to backup.
- Go to cPanel, look for the section labelled "Files" and click on "Backups".
- In the new page that opens, you'll see "Restore a Home Directory Backup". Click "Choose" to navigate to your backup, then "Upload" to start the restoration.