Last updated: 6 June 2021

As the name suggests, the Backup option in the Softaculous WordPress Manager lets you make a backup of your WordPress website.

There are other ways to make backups, and we don’t recommend using Softaculous for backups. The reason is that Softaculous backups are always stored on your hosting account (in the softaculous_backups folder in your home directory). The backups can use a lot of space, in particular if your website has lots of images. When you make a backup via Softaculous you can suddenly run out of disk space.

Because Softaculous backups have a habit of causing disk space issues we limit the number of backups on most of our servers. Once you have reached the limit any future backups will fail. So, instead of using Softaculous we recommend making backups via cPanel’s Backup feature.

Making a backup

If you still want to make a backup using Softaculous, simply click on the Backup button. By default, Softaculous backs up both the website files and database but you can exclude either. You can also add a backup note, which can be useful to keep your backups organised. The Backup Location field has no special purpose – Softaculous backups are always stored in the softaculous_backups directory on your cPanel account.

Making a backup of a WordPress website using Softaculous.

All backups are listed on the Backups and Restore page in Softaculous. The option is the fifth icon from the right in the horizontal navigation menu (the image of an archive folder). For each backup you got three options: you can download, restore and delete backups.

A list with backups made by Softaculous.
Image: a list with backups made via Softaculous.

Restoring backups

To restore a backup, click on the restore button for the backup you want to restore. On the next page you got a couple of options.

When you restore a backup using Softaculous you can choose whether or not to restore the website files and database.

Restore directory

The backup file includes both the website files and the database (unless you excluded one of them when you made the backup). If you want to just restore the database – and not the website files – then you need to make sure that this box is not ticked.

Delete existing files/folders

When you restore website files any existing files are overwritten. That is fine, of course – it is exactly what a restore is supposed to do. But what happens if there are new files on the live website that don’t exist in the backup?

By default, the new files are kept. If you prefer you can opt to let Softaculous remove all existing website files before it restores the backup. If in doubt, leave the box unticked. However, if you are restoring a website because it has been compromised then you always want to enable the option. Doing so ensures that any malicious files added since you made the backup are removed.

Restore database

When you restore the database any content changes made since the backup date are lost. You can exclude the database from the restore, and often it is fine to do so. For instance, if you are restoring a website to fix an error then you may want to untick the restore database option. There is a good change that restoring only the website files solves the issue. And if it doesn’t then you can always go back and restore the database.

Related articles

This article is part of a series of articles about Softaculous and WordPress. The other articles are: