How to Create a Drupal 7 Backup with Backup and Migrate

In this comprehensive tutorial, we will demonstrate the process of making Drupal backups with the use of this Backup and Migrate module. For individuals looking to duplicate Drupal files and databases by hand, we also cover the detailed steps to accomplish this backup process. Note that, the following indicated methods can be useful for a website made with Drupal 7.

Why You Need to Create Drupal Backups?

Fairly speaking, there are various reasons to make a backup of your Drupal data. Obviously, it’s a great way to create a development environment that is similar to the production site when there are some changes made to the existing website. In this way, you are free to make your experimentation without affecting the SEO rankings and page views.

Based on our researches, there are around 30,000 websites attacked on a daily basis, and it has been much easier than ever to get stuck into Drupal security issues. A good solution to avoid data loss caused by human error, botched updates and corrupt hard drives is to do data backups regularly. To say the least, every piece of software has the possibility of getting broken, and the backups for the core data should be a sovereign remedy for this kind of unexpected disaster.

How to Back up & Restore a Drupal Website Automatically?

Setting up Drupal backups will be a breeze with the use of “Backup and Migrate” module. To be precise, this Drupal module not only provides you the ability to backup all your MySQL database, files and code, but also allows you to migrate a website between different environments. More importantly, it fully supports bzip, zip and gzip compression as well as the automatic scheduled backups.

Here is a quick checklist of what you need to do for duplicating and restoring your Drupal site with the “Backup and Migrate” module.

Step 1 – Enable Backup and Migrate Module

The first thing you need to do is initialize this “Backup and Migrate” module. To begin, just download this useful tool via this page. Make sure that you would download the right version that is compatible with the current version of Drupal from the “Downloads” table.

Module Download Table

To install the newly-downloaded module package, just log onto your Drupal administrator area and then jump into the upper-right “Modules” section. In the next snapshot, click the link labelled as “Install new module” to proceed.

Install New Module

This will open a new dialogue window where you are allowed to install a module/theme from a URL. Allowing for convenience and operability, you’d better click to upload your module via this “Choose File” button. After the completion of the upload task, do remember to click on the “Install” button.

Upload Module Package

The only thing left to do is follow the given instructions to initialize this module on your “Modules” page. Just like enabling any other Drupal modules, you only need to check the respective “Enabled” box and then scroll down to “Save Configuration” as below.

Enable Your Module

Step 2 – Specify File System Path

Assuming that you’ve enabled the “Backup and Migrate” module, you can navigate to “Configuration” > “System” to locate and click on the newly-added module. It is quite common that a warning saying that “You must specify a private file system path in the file system settings to backup the server” appears onscreen. To solve this problem, just hit on the clickable “File System Settings” link to specify your file system path.

Specify File System Path

Inside the “Private File System Path” text box, just modify the system path to store the private or uploaded files. As a matter of course, you can enter any desired path here.

Enter File System Path

Step 3 – Make Configurations to the Module

To customize the “Backup and Migrate” module to your liking, you should revert back to “Configurations” > “System” > “Backup and Migrate” once more. As you can see, there are a couple of tabs available from this configuration page:

Backup & Migrate Options

  • Destinations – is where to store your future backup files. Generally speaking, your files/data can be downloaded to a computer, emailed to one email account or saved to a directory. To edit or delete certain destinations, you need to modify the “Manual Backups Directory” and the “Scheduled Backups Directory” sections.
  • Schedules – is where to backup the Drupal database and files on a regular schedule. If you define a number of backups for a schedule, then those old backups would be deleted once the new ones are created.
  • Profiles – is where to save the table exclusion settings, such as backup file name, timestamp and compression settings. It is also possible to create more profiles by using the “Add Profiles” tab.
  • Backup – is where to run simple backups of your Drupal site. The included “Quick Backup” tab gives you the option to decide whether download the database. Once done with the above settings, remember to press the “Backup Now” button to start backing up your website.

Important to Note: This will open a download dialogue that prompts you to save the base backups to your computer. If you’re going to have a full data backup, you will have to click on the “Advanced Backup” option. During this process, you’d better not exclude database tables unless you want to break the Drupal install.

Step 4 – Restore from the Backup

This step is extremely useful when your Drupal 7 site goes down accidentally. Honestly speaking, the prior backups can large simplify the task of restoring all of your data and files. To do that, you only need to enter the below “Restore” tab and follow the prompt to perform this task. If you run into any problems during this period, you can navigate to “Configurations” > “Development” to clear all caches.

Restore from the Backup

Backup Drupal Manually

Before backing up your Drupal website manually, you need to install some tools to help you do your business with ease. FileZilla and phpMyAdmin are the two wonderful options to meet your needs. As they are open and free, you can easily get them from the Internet.

FTP Clients – FileZilla

FileZillaThere are various powerful FTP clients for you to choose, including FileZilla, SmartFTP, CuteFTP and more. The tool used in this article is FileZilla which is a free and amazing tool to help you download and upload the files for your website. No matter which system is used for your computer, it can run smoothly.


phpMyAdminWhen backing up Drupal, you may use this functional and user-friendly tool named phpMyAdmin to help you manage the MySQL database which is essential for Drupal site. Actually, it is unnecessary for you to look for this tool on the Internet for most of the hosting providers offer it for free.

Step 1 – Backup Your Files

Either the core files or the non-core files which is essential for the Drupal website. When you plan to backup Drupal, the first thing you need to consider is to download all of the

To handle this step, you need an FTP client called FileZilla, which we have mentioned in the preparation part. You can open the tool FileZilla and find the folder named “drupal” in the installation directory.

After the folder is selected, you can right-click to open a menu, download the folder, and save it into your local directory. It is really easy for you to backup them, but you should make sure that the whole files are selected without missing.

Backup Your Files

Step 2 – Backup Your Database

When you are installing Drupal, you are asked to create your database for your website to store the data including the posts, images, sounds, and other content of your website. Therefore, backing up the database is also necessary to help you prevent the loss of your data.

Starting this step needs you to login your account of cPanel and find the icon named “phpMyAdmin” in the Datebase part. After clicking it, new window is opened, and then you can click the item “Datebases” to open the list of databases.

Backup Your Database

Choose the database which is used by your Drupal website. If you do not know which is the right one in the list, you can search the file called “settings.php” to find the accurate information. After selecting the database, you should click it to open a new menu. Next, click the item “Export” to open a new page, which allows you to choose quick export or custom export. Then by clicking the button “go”, you can backup the database automatically.

Export Database

Step 3 – Store Your Backup

In order to find the things you have backed up easily, you need to create a folder to keep the files and database in it. The name of the older should contain the date of the backup plan to make sure that you can quickly find out which is the latest backup files.

In addition, you need to save the backup files into multiple local storages instead of only in the web server. In this case, if you meet with the trouble that your web server cannot work, you can find the backup files in other storage.