This tutorial will illustrate how to create a backup of all of the files on your account. PLEASE NOTE: this will not back up your MySQL databases, your e-mail forwarders, or any information about your mailing lists. For information on backing up your MySQL databases see this tutorial. If you need assitance backing up e-mail forwarders or your mailing lists, please contact Technical Support.

NOTE: You will need additional space on your account to create a backup. It is generally accepted that you will need twice the amount of space that your current files are taking up, in order to create a backup. Please contact us if you are unsure if you will have enough space on your account to create a backup.

For this tutorial you will need shell access to your account. The shell access that we provide is SSH or Secure SHell. You will need an SSH client in order to access your shell. Two popular SSH clients for Windows are SecureCRT and Putty. If you have not already, you will need to download and install one of these clients. If you are using a different operating system, you will need to find an SSH client for your OS.

Once you log into your account, you should see a prompt similiar to the one in the below screenshot:

If you type the command ls you should see a list of files and directories that are in your home directory.

Now to begin creating your backup. To create a backup, we are going to use a combination of two programs, but require only one command. First we are going to lump all of the files into one big file. Then we are going to compress this file, so it takes up less space. To perform this operation, type the following command:

tar -zcf filename.tar.gz *

PLEASE NOTE: if you do not have enough space on your account, you will probably get a disk quota error. Contact us if you have any problems.

A couple of points need to be made clear about the above command:

First, where you see filename you will need to specify a filename for the archive or backup you are creating. USUALLY, the filename consists of the username of the account, since it is unique. NOTE: the .tar.gz file extension for the filename. This is required to insure that the file associations are correct, plus it makes the filename look cleaner.

Second, the parameter list -zcf tells the program tar what to do. A run down of the parameters are as follows: Lastly, the * is just a wildcard character, and tells tar to archive all the files and directories.

For example, if I were logged in and my username was amsnac2, I would use the following command:

tar -zcf amsnac2.tar.gz *
This is illustrated again in the below screenshot:

After you hit enter, the time it takes to perform the operation may vary. It all depends on how big your account is. Please allow ample time for the process to complete. Once the command has finished, you should be at a prompt. You can type ls again and you will see the backup file in your directory.

You can now close the shell. Type exit at the prompt, or close the program. You will now need to log into your account with an FTP client. The screenshot made for this tutorial was made using WS_FTP. However, you can use any FTP client you desire. You will need to download a copy of the backup to your local computer. When you log into your account via FTP, you should see the backup file listed.

Simply download this file to a safe location on your hard drive. You may also want to consider copying the backup file to a secondary storage medium, in case something was to happen to your hard drive. It all depends on how critical the information is and how cautious you want to be.

As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions or experience any problems.