Do you keep backups of my files?
We make a full backup of your files, databases, and any e-mail stored on our servers every night.
On this page:
- Reviewing available backups
- What is the “Backup ID”?
- Making extra backups
- Accessing backups using FTP
- Accessing backups from the shell
- Restoring files
- Are they daily, weekly or monthly backups? How long are they stored?
- What gets backed up?
- E-mail backups
- MySQL database backups
- Are the backups on-site or off-site?
- Do you guarantee the availability of backups?
Reviewing available backups
You can use the “My Account” control panel to see the backups that have been made for your site:
- Login to the “My Account” control panel (having trouble?)
- Click Backups
You'll see a complete list of all backups that are currently available.
What is the “Backup ID”?
The “Backup ID” shown in the list is a unique identifying number you can tell us if you ask us to restore files for you instead of doing it yourself.
Making extra backups
To make an additional backup (which is useful just before upgrading software on your site, for example), first review the available backups as described above. Then scroll down to the bottom of the backup list and click the link to make a backup.
When you do so, a message will appear saying “A backup is currently in progress and will appear here in a few minutes”, with a link to refresh the page to see the backup status. If you want to know when the backup is done, you can reload the page every so often until the “backup is currently in progress” message disappears.
Accessing backups using FTP
To do this, set up an additional FTP account that has access to your "home directory". Then you can use your FTP program to view the contents of the "backups-tigertech" directory (folder) and copy files to your own computer.
The name of each backup directory is the time (U.S. Pacific time) that the backup finished. There's also a special directory named "current" that always points to the most recent backup.
The backups are "read-only" — you can view, download and copy them, but you won't be able to delete or modify them.
Accessing backups from the shell
Advanced users can also access backups from the command-line shell. You'd just change to the "backups-tigertech" directory and browse the files:
You can usually restore files yourself. Just use an FTP program to access the files you need from an older backup (using an additional FTP account, as described above), then re-publish them.
If you would like us to do it for you, please contact us. Be sure to mention:
- The “Backup ID” of the backup we should restore (from the control panel listing).
- What we should restore: files? databases? e-mail?
- Whether you want all the files, databases and e-mail mailboxes restored, or just specific ones.
The fee for restoring data is as follows:
- First time we’re asked to restore data: no charge.
- Second time we’re asked to restore data: $25.00.
- Third and subsequent times we’re asked to restore data: $50.00.
Again, you can avoid fees by accessing the backup files yourself using FTP or the shell.
Are they daily, weekly or monthly backups? How long are they stored?
Our system attempts to keep at least the following backups:
- The last five daily backups
- A backup made 7-13 days ago and a backup made 14-20 days ago (two "weekly" backups)
- A backup made during the first week of the previous month (a "monthly" backup)
Backups from other days are often also available. See your control panel for an exact list.
What gets backed up?
Backups include all of the files for your account, including:
- Web site files
- All files in your home directory, such as your Web site access logs.
- E-mail mailboxes (but see below for details)
- MySQL databases (but see below for details)
- Mailman mailing list settings and archives
Your e-mail messages are located in the "mailstore" directory of your home directory, and are therefore backed up automatically.
However, we can only back up messages that are actually on our servers. This includes all new (unread) mail and all mail you can see in Webmail. It will not include old (previously read) incoming messages if you read mail using a program like Outlook on your own computer and you've configured that e-mail program to delete messages from the server when you read them.
So if you use your own mail program instead of Webmail, and that program deletes messages from the server after they've been read, your computer will have the only copy of the old messages. You'd need to back up your own computer to make a backup of that old incoming mail and your sent mail.
If you want our backup system to store copies of your old incoming messages, too, you should make sure your mail program leaves messages on our servers after you read them. With an IMAP connection, this will happen automatically; with a POP connection, you may need to change a setting in your mail program.
Finally, keep in mind that we can only back up e-mail that's stored in a mailbox on our servers. Any messages that you simply forward to another site will never reach our backup system in the first place. (Whoever handles the final delivery should be backing them up there, of course.)
Restoring e-mail is more complicated than restoring other files. If you’re a technically advanced user comfortable using the command-line shell, we offer a script called restore-email that will offer to restore all deleted mail files from all available backups. You would run it like this:
Running this will show you what messages can be restored before it actually does anything (it may take several minutes for the script to display anything if you have thousands of messages.) The script does have some options that can be used to narrow down what gets restored, which you can see by typing:
For more complicated restoration scenarios, or if you aren't comfortable using the shell, you’ll need to contact us.
MySQL database backups
MySQL databases are also included in the daily backups. Each database is exported ("dumped") into a file that is available in the "mysql" directory of each backup.
Please read this page for information about backing up and restoring databases.
Are the backups on-site or off-site?
We make both on-site backups (for quick retrieval) and off-site backups (for disaster recovery).
The backups listed in your control panel are the on-site backups, although they are on separate physical disks on separate servers to increase redundancy. They're not just "snapshots" on the same disk, like the "backups" offered by some companies.
We also make daily off-site backups of your data. The off-site backups are stored in a different data center run by a different company. The off-site backup servers use strong security practices to block malicious attacks that could damage the primary backup servers. For example, we don't allow SSH connections to the off-site backup servers, ensuring that a "zero day remote root vulnerability" can't be used by "hackers" to destroy all backup data.
Do you guarantee the availability of backups?
We make backups as part of our planning to recover from various disasters, including data erasure, hard drive or server failures, and data center destruction.
We're glad to make our backup system available to customers, too, because it can be very useful. However, we should emphasize that we cannot guarantee any backups (the "DATA BACKUP DISCLAIMER" section of our Terms of Service has a specific notice about this).
Although we use and test our backup system regularly and consider it reliable, technical problems could prevent us from being able to restore any particular backup listed in your control panel. And of course, we may not have data from the particular moment you want to restore.
Even worse: although we’ve been in this business a long time and expect to be here far longer, we regularly hear horror stories from customers of other hosting companies who had no backups when the other company suddenly went out of business. You don’t want to be one of those people if something unimaginable happens to us.
A wise course of action is to not trust any Web hosting company with all your data — not even Tiger Technologies. You should make your own additional backups on your own computer (not just on our servers) to meet your own requirements.