Guidelines for storing your backups remotely / "cloud backup"


This only applies to Akeeba Backup Professional.

Uploading backups to a remote location requires setting up a Post-Processing Engine in the Configuration. By default, your backups are only stored locally, on the server where the site being backed up lives. If you want the backup to be uploaded to remote storage you have to go to the Configuration page and set up a Post-Processing Engine. As with all Configuration settings, this is set up per backup profile. Each profile can have a different post-processing setup - or no post-processing setup. Remember this if you're trying to figure out why your backups don't upload.

Uploading your backup archives can happen during or after taking the actual backup. All post-processing engines have an option to "Upload parts immediately". When this is enabled (checked), Akeeba Backup will upload each backup archive part file as it's finished being created. The first part of the backup is exempt from this rule: it is always uploaded after Akeeba Backup is done backing up your site. The first part contain special information about the number of part files and / or the number and size of files in the backup, information which is only known after the backup is complete. When the "Upload parts immediately" option is disabled (unchecked, the default state) Akeeba Backup will finish taking a backup of your site and only then will it upload the backup to remote storage. Therefore, when you are perceiving an issue with Akeeba Backup "not uploading your backups" first check if you have an issue preventing the backup to be taken at all!

A failed upload to remote storage does not cause the backup record to be reported as failed. As far as Akeeba Backup is concerned, backing up and uploading are two distinct operations. If the backup completes but the upload fails the backup record will appear as "OK" (green), NOT as Failed (red). If both the backup and upload are successful the backup record will appear as either OK (if the backup archive is kept on your site's server) or Remote (if the backup archive is deleted from your site's server, the default option). This distinction makes sense: if the backup is complete you can still restore your site from the generated backup archive.

Most failed uploads are caused by timeouts. PHP and your web server have time limits, i.e. the maximum time a PHP script may process data before the web server aborts it. Uploading the backup archives to cloud storage takes time, the exact amount of which depends on the size of the file and the network speed. If that time is over either time limit your backup will fail. The time limit and the bandwidth are beyond our control. The only thing you can control is the size. Many post-processing engines support chunked uploading (breaking up the uploads in smaller bits and having the remote server piece together the file) and you can change their chunk size. A chunk size of 5 or 10 MB works best in most cases. For those post-processing engines which don't have an option for chunked uploads you will have to change the Part size for split archives in the Archiver Engine options. Again, a value of 5 or 10 MB works best in most cases. This setting will split our backup archive into multiple files (same base filename, the extensions are .j01, .j02, ..., .jpa; or .j01, .j02, ..., .jps; or .z01, .z02, ..., .zip;), the maximum size of each one being the value of this setting. To restore these backups just place ALL of these files in the same directory and choose the main .jpa, .jps or .zip file: the other parts are discovered and extracted automatically.

If you get no uploads / zero sized uploads but not error message, contact your host. We have seen many hosts putting a (broken) caching proxy in front of their web servers. Instead of letting Akeeba Backup communicate with the remote storage server they immediately return an HTTP 200 OK response without contacting the remote storage server. Unfortunately, for many remote storage services such as Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive this would be the expected response when the upload succeeds. How you can tell this happened? Check the Akeeba Backup log file. If the upload takes less than 2 seconds we GUARANTEE that your host is doing what we just described. Their first level support may deny it; ask to escalate to a server technician. They will add a proxy server exception and your remote backups will work perfectly.

You can't upload to multiple locations. You can only set up a single post-processing engine. Multiple upload locations would increase the load on your server and the likelihood that something fails during backup. Moreover, this does not offer the kind of redundancy you might hope to achieve. Instead, use Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive to automatically download the backup archive to your computer. Use a regular desktop backup software to back up the local copies of your site's backups to a NAS.

If some part files of your backups failed to upload use the Manage remote backups in the Manage Backups page to retry uploading them. Sometimes a temporary network issue may prevent the upload from going through. Using the Manage remote backups to retry the upload usually works just fine!

If your uploads fail with long, cryptic errors about the signatures being wrong please check the time and the timezone of your server. Most remote storage engines require your server's time to be set within a reasonable accuracy to the true time. This can be automated on your server by setting and running the ntpd service. If your host hasn't done so the time will drift until it's so far off the true time that uploads will fail. If you get these cryptic error messages about signatures first triple check that your credentials are set up correctly in the post-processing engine options in the Configure page for the backup profile that fails. If you have triple checked them and found them to be working, contact your host and ask them to check the time and timezone on the server. It's silly, but this is the second most common cause of upload failures (after the part size discussed above) that we keep seeing.