So you want to learn how to back up a forum? Here's the way I do it. Backups are very important in case your host goes nuts on you or even worse - your site goes offline; especially when you're down for a certain amount of time. Paying for backups might be okay, but why pay when you can easily back up your own files for free? It makes sense to take the free route to me in this case. In this guide, I'll show you how to back up your forum with ease. You can stow it away knowing that in the near future, you can restore it if need be. Please note that restoring a backup using this guide will be done in a future documentation. This guide covers how to back up a file using cPanel and phpMyAdmin and also works with any software which uses MySQL as its database structure (which includes all major forum software and almost all content management systems). If you use another Web Hosting control panel other than cPanel, there is a good chance that you can use similar methods (database backup is the exact same if that control panel uses phpMyAdmin, which is widely used) as long as a compression option is available. If not, you can always download file by file using FTP or whatnot. This also works great when you want to change hosts as well.
Backing up your files:
1.) Go to cPanel. Obviously login.
2.) Click on File Manager. Locate where your forum is in Document Root for: and be sure it's selected. Also select Show hidden files (dotfiles).
3.) After clicking Go, you should be in your file manager. My forum structure might look different just because all my forum files are in the forum folder, but that doesn't matter. Hit the Select All button and all your files will be selected. We're going to compress all your files (don't worry, your files stay in place), so hit compress.
4.) A menu should pop up. I've always found the tar.gz file has always been consistent, and also has a good compression (usually is better than zip). 7-Zip is a very good program to unzip tar.gz compression (you won't really have to though) if you need it, but Zip would work correctly as well if you can't install that. When you're done, hit Compress, and all the files will be automatically compressed. Another menu pops up telling you which files have been compressed.
5.) Look at that. It seems to me that a tar.gz file has appeared. Download it by simply double clicking the file, and choose where to save it. You're done after that if it downloaded successfully! Now, files are one thing, but a forum will never run in your life unless the database is there, so let's back that one up.
6.) After it gets successfully deleted, be sure to delete your tar.gz in the folder.
Backing up your Database:
1.) Login to cPanel, and look for phpMyAdmin. Click on it, and you'll be entering phpMyAdmin to back up your file.
2.) To the left, find your database. Mine's _rockbandforums in this case. Click on it.
3.) Now, you want to export the database. That basically means (for those who don't know the lingo) the server exports the database for you to download. After clicking on the desired database, you click export on top.
4.) You then go to another menu, where you have to fiddle with some options. In structure, be sure "Add DROP TABLE / VIEW / PROCEDURE / FUNCTION" and "Add CREATE PROCEDURE / FUNCTION" are checked off, and be sure the middle guys are checked as well. On the bottom, they give you options to change the name and stuff, so give it a name, preferrably with a date. I recommend compressing the database as "gzipped."
5.) Now, all you have to do is to save it after it pops up. This might take a minute or two. All you have to do is download and you're done!
Anyways, that's how you back up something. We will be covering backup restoration in a week or two. Hope this helps.