Another very common question that I see regarding DotNetNuke is when and how
should I backup my DotNetNuke site. This topic is VERY important and requires a
bit of planning, especially if you do not have direct access to your database
server to perform your own backups. In the following sections I will first talk
about what you must backup and why some of those items are very important. I
will then discuss how to perform a DNN backup and SQL Server backup, both
for SQL 2000 and 2005. Finally I will discuss options available for third
party modules for performing backups for individuals that do not have
direct access to their servers.
What to Backup?
Simply put, it is a best practice to backup your ENTIRE DotNetNuke directory on
the web server as well as a full backup of the database. Some people will say
that you can get by with only backing up the "portals" folder, this is NOT
correct! To successfully restore a DotNetNuke installation you must ensure that
you have all module .dll and other code files you also must have the same
validation and decryption keys. I have found that the only real method to
keep your data safe is to create a backup with all files. Given the
limited file size of the core DNN installation I have not found this to be a
hinderance, especially since the additional files that exist in my website are
all related to the content available within and is something I must have a
Performing the Backup
Performing a backup of DotNetNuke is a fairly easy two step process. First I
will discuss backing up the DNN installation directory, then I will discuss
options available for backing up the database.
Backing up the DotNetNuke Directory
You have two options when backing up the DotNetNuke directory. If you have
direct access to the server, you can simply right click on the DotNetNuke
directory and select "Send To:" -> "Compressed (Zipped) Folder". This
applies for most versions of the windows operating system. You will then have a
file named dnn441.zip where dnn441 was your directory name. This zip file will
contain all needed backup files, you will want to store this in a safe
If you do not have direct access to the server and can only access it via FTP
you will have an additional step to obtain a zip file for your site. You will
want to connect to your FTP site and COPY all files to a temporary location on
your local computer. Once all files have been copied you will want to create a
zip file including ALL files and folders that were just downloaded.
NOTE: if using a program such as WinZip for zipping, ensure that the "Use Folder
Names" option is enabled so that the folder structure is preserved within your
Backing up the DotNetNuke Database
To backup the database you must have access to the database server and the file
system of the database server. If you are in a hosted environment you will need
to rely on your hosting provider to obtain a backup, or you will need to look
into a potential third party solution to backup the database from within
DotNetNuke. If you have full access to the server please use one of the below
sets of instructions to backup your database..
Backing up a Database with SQL Server 2000 and Enterprise Manager
Follow the below steps if you wish to create a databse backup file from
Enterprise Manager for SQL Server 2000 using Enterprise Manager.
Navigate to your specific database in Enterprise Manager
Right click on the database and select "All Tasks" -> "Backup Database.."
Ensure that "Complete" is selected for the backup type
Click the "Add" button in the "Destination" section
In this section provide a full file path to the desired backup file, typically
named DATABASENAME.bak where DATABASENAME is your database name
Click "Ok" to generate your backup, you will receive a success notice upon
You will now have a full backup file containing all tables and data for your
I believe the functionality is fairly similar using SQL Server Management Studio
Express with SQL Server 2005
Backing up a Database with T-SQL Commands (2000 and 2005)
The fastest method to backup your database is to use T-SQL commands. You
simply need to create a backup device which specifies where your backup file
should go, then you simply perform a 'BACKUP DATABASE' call to perform the
database backup. The following scripts show you how to create a backup
file called MyBackup.bak in your C drive which will contain the entire dnn441
database. You will need to adapt this script to fit your configuration.
EXEC sp_addumpdevice 'disk', 'MyBackupDevice', 'C:\MyBackup.bak'
--Now backup the db
BACKUP DATABASE dnn441
Regardless if you used one of my methods above or had your hosting provider create a backup for you once you have obtained .bak file you have everything you should need to restore your site to its current state. How often you perform this type of backup really depends on the amount of activity, the frequency of actual changes, and the amount of loss you are willing to accept. A full backup plan is something that needs to be considered on an individual implementation basis and includes many factors.
Third Party Modules
Some third party backup modules exist on the market that will allow users to generate SQL Server backups without direct access to the database server. Below are a few links to these utilities. I have NOT used any of these utilities and do not recommend one over the other, I am simply providing these links as a starting point for your research into a solution.
I hope this tutorial/post has provided you the needed information to prepare a successful DotNetNuke backup. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments!