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File backups using SSH

Posted 08th October, 2018

SSH is the most secure way to take website file backups. Most good web hosts offer SSH access to your web hosting. If they do not, you will have to use FTP instead.

SSH details should consist of:

  • A hostname. This is likely to be your domain name, but might also be a server name, or an IP address.
  • A SSH username and password. This would be given to you by your hosting provider. You cannot use the root SSH user with our system; the backup will fail.
  • An optional path to your website files. If this is not entered we will backup your home directory.
  • An SSH port, which is likely to be 22 if not specified.

Once you have these, backups can be configured in as follows:

  1. Ensure the desired website is added to your dashboard or that you are delegate on the website. Advanced users: note that you can add multiple versions of a website.
  2. Click the Backups tab under your website.
  3. Under File Backups click Configure Now
  4. Choose SFTP/SSH as the Connection Type
  5. Enter the details above when prompted.

That's it! Once submitted your File Backup will go to Pending status, and shortly after we will back up your website and update this status to Ok. You will then be able to view the backups we have taken.

Common Errors

The following are common errors that may be causing file backups to fail. We try to give as much detail as possible when failing to connect.

  • SSH not enabled. SSH sometimes needs to be enabled by your web hosting provider. If they can't, you will need to fail over to FTP.
  • Hostname not responding. The hostname you entered does not resolve. Perhaps your domain name is not yet live, or it has been mistyped. Try entering the web server name, or IP address of the web server.
  • Username incorrect. Check that you are entering the full FTP/SSH username. For example it may be [email protected] rather than just username.
  • Password incorrect
  • Alternate Port. SSH can sometimes be enabled on custom ports, rather than the default port 22.
  • Path incorrect. Ensure the path to your files are correct and that you are entering the full path. For SSH you need the full path from the server root. For example in cPanel this would be /home/username/public_html.
  • RSYNC unsupported. Some hosts may not support the rsync binary as well as SFTP.

Changing Credentials Later

Credentials can be changed at any time. File backups will continue. Please note that if you change the path of a backup, will see all files as changed.

In case you require more flexibility, the same website can be added more than once to, and a site name does not necessarily need to have a connection to the backup details within the site.

Connection Failures

If we fail to back up your files we will send you an email alert informing you of the connection failure. The exact reason can be seen under the Logs tab.