Chapter 3. Using Kickstart

Preparing for the extraction

The first step is to download the latest release of Kickstart. It can be always retrieved by visiting It comes as a ZIP package. Do not try to install it in Joomla!, WordPress, Drupal etc. Instead you'll have to unzip it first. The extracted files are kickstart.php and a lot of .ini, .js and .pem files.

The kickstart.php file is required for Kickstart's operation and is self-contained, i.e. it doesn't need any other files (or Joomla!, or WordPress, or anything else) to be installed on your server.

The INI files are translation files. You only need them if you want Kickstart's interface to be translated in your language. You can safely delete any INI files which represent languages you do not speak.


Kickstart chooses the language to display based on your browser's language settings, based on the ordering you've set up in your browser, choosing the first language on that list that is available as a translation INI file. Please consult your browser's documentation for information on how to change the language list and preferred language order.

The JS files are not required, unless you don't have an Internet connection (e.g. restoring to a local server without an Internet connection) or have trouble accessing the sites where copies of these files are stored in (e.g. behind a corporate or state firewall).

The cacert.pem file is required on some servers if importing from an HTTPS URL or connecting to Amazon S3. If unsure, upload all files (see below).

The second step is uploading those files to your server. Upload kickstart.php and any files you may need to the server path you want the restored site to be installed. If you want the site to be extracted to your domain's root (something like you'll have to locate your web root. On most servers it appears as a directory named public_html, httpdocs, htdocs, www or something similar when you connect to your account by FTP. If unsure, ask your host. They know which directory it is without having to guess.


If you are using Kickstart Professional you MUST rename kickstart.php to something that does not include the word "kickstart", e.g. wfklgjhwelkurgh.php. Kickstart will refuse to operate otherwise. This is a security precaution which cannot be circumvented.

The third step is getting your archive file to the server. This can be currently performed only by having you manually upload the archive by FTP to the same directory as the one kickstart.php is in.

Two words of caution:

  1. Always, no matter what, use the Binary transfer mode to upload your backup archives by FTP. If you are using FileZilla you can do so by clicking on the Transfer menu, then the Transfer Type submenu and making sure that Binary is selected. If you do not do that, most FTP software will fall back to ASCII file transfers which will corrupt the backup archive and cause extraction issues.

  2. If you had created a multi-part archive you have to transfer all files. In the case of a JPA file they have the same name and extensions of .jpa, .j01, .j02 etc. In the case of a ZIP file they have the same name and extensions of .zip, .z01, .z02 etc. If any of the parts is missing, an extraction error will occur.

    Do note that the installer is included in the beginning of the archive. Even in the event of a partial restoration you will most likely be able to start the restoration procedure but your site will not work properly as many crucial files will be missing!

When you are done, you can launch Kickstart by visiting its URL. It usually has the form of