Do you keep backups of my files? How can I restore a site?

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We make a full backup of your files, databases, and any email stored on our servers every night.

On this page:

Reviewing and downloading 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 Backup and Restore

You'll see a complete list of all backups that are currently available, with a link allowing you to download a .zip file of the backup contents to your computer. That file will contain a copy of everything needed to backup and restore your account with us or another company, including website files, databases, and email messages.

Making extra backups

You can make an additional backup (which is useful just before upgrading software on your site, for example).

  • Login to the “My Account” control panel (having trouble?)
  • Click Backup and Restore
  • Choose the click here to make a backup now option.

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.

Restoring a website backup using the control panel

You can use the “My Account” control panel to restore all the website files and databases from a backup:

  • Login to the “My Account” control panel (having trouble?)
  • Click Backup and Restore
  • Click Show restore options and follow the instructions

If you choose this option, it will restore all the website files and databases from that backup, which will “rollback” your site to a previous version.

This option does not affect email at all, and it doesn't let you specify individual databases or files: it’s “all or nothing” as far as the website is concerned. This is what most people want when they need to restore a site, though.

If you need a more complicated restore option, the sections below explain other options. If they don’t help, please contact us for assistance.

Restoring individual files by downloading and re-uploading them

If you need to restore only some files, you may be able to download the files you need from an older backup (you can download a whole .zip file, or download individual files using other methods described below), then re-publish them. (We also have separate instructions for restoring MySQL databases.)

If you would like us to do it for you, please contact us. Be sure to mention:

  1. The “Backup ID” of the backup we should restore (from the control panel listing).
  2. What we should restore: files? databases? email?
  3. Whether you want all the files, databases and email mailboxes restored, or just specific ones.

Accounts on our Basic Hosting or Plus Hosting plans include one free staff-assisted restore in any 12 month period, and the Business Hosting plan includes 2 free restores. If you need more than that within a 12 month period, there’s a fee of $25 for the next restore, and $50 for each subsequent restore.

To encourage customers to keep their sites updated, we also waive fees for restores that are needed solely to fix problems that result from clicking to update anything shown in the WordPress dashboard “Updates” section, or Joomla updates.

Accessing backups using SFTP

You can access your backups using an SFTP program like Cyberduck or FileZilla.

To do this:

  1. Use your SFTP program to make an SFTP connection (not a normal FTP connection).
  2. 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 using FTP

Tip: Use SFTP instead of FTP.

We recommend you use SFTP, as described above, instead of plain FTP. SFTP is more reliable and doesn’t require an additional FTP account.

If you can’t use SFTP for some reason, you can use a program like Cyberduck to make a plain FTP connection. (It’s usually better to use SFTP as described above for performance reasons; plain FTP is quite slow for large numbers of files.)

To do this:

  1. Add an additional FTP account that has access to your “home directory”.
  2. Use your FTP program to connect using that new FTP username.
  3. 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.

If you don’t see the “backups-tigertech” directory, you probably didn’t use an FTP account with access to your home directory. You usually have to add an additional FTP account. This is for security reasons, since the backups contain email and databases beyond what you can normally see with a website FTP connection.

Note that the home directory is different from the web directory that the “add FTP user” screen defaults to. Be sure to choose the home directory!

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:

cd ~/backups-tigertech

Accessing backups using rsync

Customers on Mac, Linux or other Unix-like computers can use the rsync program from the terminal to make copies of backups on their own computer. This example rsync command shows how:

rsync -avz ~/Documents/

This will require your main account password when run manually, but you can add “keys” to connect without a password and automate this. (That page is about “SSH keys”, but that’s correct: rsync uses ssh.)

Rsync is a good choice because it only copies changes each time. Copying to your computer will take a while the first time you do it, but will be much faster the next time.

The Using rsync to Keep Your Files in Sync page at techradar has a useful rsync tutorial.

Accessing backups using wget or curl

We’re occasionally asked it's possible to download a backup using the wget or curl programs. It’s usually more efficient to use rsync as described above if it’s available, but if you need to use wget or curl, you can copy the “Download .zip file” URL from our My Account control panel and use that.

For example, if the URL you copy is “”, you could use it like this:

wget ""

curl -o ""

Be sure to add quotes around the URL, as in the examples above.

Note this method is not reliable if the backup in question is very large. When viewing the backup in our control panel, you will see a warning when clicking the "Download .zip file" link if a backup is large enough to cause issues. In these cases you'll need to use the more reliable methods described above.

Are they daily, weekly or monthly backups? How long are they stored?

We try to keep at least the following backups for each hosting site:

  • The last ten daily backups
  • Ten additional “weekly” backups — that is, one backup made between 11-17 days ago, one backup made 18-24 days ago, and so on up to a backup made 81-87 days ago.
  • Four additional “monthly” backups — that is, a backup made between 88-117 days ago, a backup made 118-147 days ago, a backup made 148-177 days ago, and a backup made 178-207 days ago.

Depending on the size of your site and how much of your data changes each day, extra backups from other days may also be available. The backups section of our My Account control panel shows an exact list.

Remember that backups can be deleted at any time.

Don’t rely on a backup you see now being available in the future; older backups get deleted to make room for newer ones. If you think you might need something in a backup, download or copy it immediately.

What gets backed up?

Backups include all of the files for your account, including:

E-mail backups

Your email 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 email 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 email 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 email 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:

restore-email --help

For more complicated restoration scenarios, or if you aren't comfortable using the shell, you’ll need to contact us.

If you’re downloading backups, you’ll find that email messages are stored in compressed Maildir format and are therefore mostly useful only for restoring to a mail server, although some text editing programs may be able to show you the contents.

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.

Can I delete backups?

To protect you against destruction of data by a malicious person, we do not manually delete backups before their “natural” expiration time unless we receive a notarized request from the account owner. (If the account owner is a company or organization, the request needs to be from the board president or similar representative.)

However, if your goal is simply to make old backups inaccessible to a new person who is given the account password (as in an ownership change), we can do that a different way. We can move the existing backups to a location where only our staff have the ability to access them, making them available only if we receive a notarized request from the original owner (the new owner cannot request this under any circumstances). This process usually takes one business day. Please contact us if you need this service.

Do you guarantee the availability of backups?

We make backups as part of our planning to recover from various disasters, including data erasure, ransomware, hard drive or server failures, and even destruction of our data center.

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 much 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 to meet your own requirements, and you should copy those backup files to your own computer or other service (don’t just leave them on our servers, because if you do that, you’re not getting any protection beyond the free backups we already provide).