How to backup and restore your site using Plesk

Time to Read: 5 minutes Difficulty Level: Beginner
Tools Needed: access to your hosting control panel (Plesk) Last Updated:

Use Plesk to create backups of your site

This guide shows you how to use Plesk to schedule automated backups of your site. Backups taken this way are stored on your server and contribute to your disk space usage. You can download backups to store locally or even send them automatically to your FTP repo.

We always recommend that you take backups of your site for your own peace of mind and ease of use. We do take our own emergency backups of all servers, but if you have your own backups you’ll have more control over restoring your site if the need arises. In particular, you should always ensure that you have a recent backup of your site before making any significant development changes to it.

How to create a Plesk backup
How to restore your site using a Plesk backup

How to create a Plesk backup

​Log into the Plesk control panel and browse to your domain. In this example, we’ll schedule a backup for the domain.

Select the Backup Manager tool from the right hand side-bar.

This page provides a list of any existing backups you have. Click Schedule to begin.

Check the box next to Activate this backup task to switch on the backup schedule.

The option for Use incremental backup is selected by default because incremental backups provide the most efficient use of disk space. You can toggle this setting off if you would prefer every backup to be a full backup, but note that the first backup taken in any schedule will always be a full backup.

Use the drop-down menus to select how regularly you want to run your backup and specify a time of day.

If you’re using incremental backups, next choose how often full backups should be taken (weekly, monthly or even yearly!) and how long backups should be kept on the server for before they rotate away.

Under the Backup settings menu you can choose which components of your site to backup. At the very least, you should include User files and databases (because for most users’ purposes, a backup without these isn’t really a backup at all) but you can choose whether or not to include Mail configuration and content in your backups.

Choose whether or not you wish to receive a notification email for any error that are generated during the backup process. You’ll need to specify the email address that this will be sent to.

Choose whether you want to Suspend the domain until the backup is completed. This option will result in backups taking less time but will mean that the site is unavailable whilst the backup runs.

Click OK when you’re happy with the settings. Your backups should now be scheduled.

If you want to take just a single backup, the process is almost identical. Instead of clicking Schedule, click on Backup instead.

How to restore your site using a Plesk backup

Before restoring your site from a backup, the first but most important step is one that may not occur to you. First you should follow the steps above to create a fresh backup of your site in its current state, if you have sufficient disk space. This is because if something goes wrong with the restore, you’ll have a copy of your site in its current state that you can then roll back to.

Once you’re ready to start the restore , log into the Plesk control panel and browse to your domain. In this example, we’ll restore a backup for the domain.

Browse to the Backup Manager tool in the right-hand sidebar.

Select the desired backup by clicking on the data timestamp.

Next choose what you want to restore. Your Plesk backups allow you to restore individual components of the site as well as giving you the option to roll back entirely to the backup. Under the “What do you want to restore?” option you can choose to leave the default setting in place (Selected Objects) and choose individual databases and files (for example).

The other option is to use All objects (entire system). This setting still gives you some control over what to restore and you can check the boxes to confirm which components of site you want to restore. Unlike the first option, choosing to restore Databases will mean that you restore all databases from your backup - you won’t be able to name one individual database to restore.

Before confirming the restore, you have two additional options that you can configure. You can check the box for Suspend domains until the restoration is completed to restore the backup . We recommend doing this so that the site cannot be viewed or interacted with whilst the restore is in progress.

You can also check the box next to When the restoration is completed, send a notification to .... and specify an email address to receive the notification that your restore has completed.