This tutorial refers to Boonex Dolphin database backup and restore, the same process could be used for any other type of web site as well. Whether you have or use Dolphin 6.0.x, 6.1.x, 7.0.x, wordpress, phpBB, vbulletin, etc., etc.

Although it can be time consuming to back up both your Dolphin web site files/folders and database, it is a must. Do not rely on your host to keep these for you. Not only do they fail to do so in some cases, but many only do weekly backups. Which means if you messed something up you could potentially lose nearly a full week of data and files.

You might check out this tutorial for an automatic database backup solution or option:
How to Create Automatic Mysql Database Backups

If or when you decide to upgrade Dolphin you must make both a file/folder backup and database backup before attempting an upgrade.

You should also backup your database at the very least prior to installing a mod or module. Many of them do make changes to the database. If something goes wrong you can, then restore your backup.

There are also other times you should backup your database that you probably don't even think about. Simply working in your Dolphin Administration panel almost always makes changes to your database. Make sure you know what you are doing in the Administration Panel. It is a very good idea to backup your database before messing with something that you are not sure about.

There is a backup feature in the Dolphin Administration area in:

  • Tools
    • Database Backup

I personally do not recommend using it or relying on it as your primary means of backing up your database. Should the need arise for you to actually restore a backup and your Administration area is inaccessible it's not going to do you much good if you can't restore it.

For a better, more reliable, stable and solid backup solution you should perform backups at the hosting level using your hosts control panel. Become familiar with how to download and restore in your hosting control panel.

My preferred hosting control panel is Cpanel. It is very popular and used by many hosting companies. There is a certain level of learning required, but it is fairly easy to get the hang of. If you ever wanted to switch hosts and they both use cpanel, transferring your site from one to the other can be done very fast. Many will even do it for you for free if you decide to switch to them.

The screenshots below are from a standard default cpanel setup. If your host has cpanel they could look slightly different. Some hosting companies use color skins and/or logos that can make them appear slightly different. Just look for similar areas and icons in your hosts cpanel.

Backup your Dolphin site files/folders and MySQL database using cpanel:

1. Login to cpanel.

2. Find and navigate to the "Files" area and choose "Backups".

3. Find the Partial Backups area and the "Download a Home Directory Backup". Click on the "Home Directory" button.

It will prompt you to download and ask you where you want to save it. A good location to save to is your desktop so you can find it easy.

This will download all your files and folders in 1 compressed file, usually a .tar.gz format type.

  • The time it takes to download will depend on the size of your site, how much content, pictures, video, etc. you have uploaded and the speed of your internet connection. If you have a lot of videos uploaded it can take a while.

Do not use the "Full Backup" ("Download or Generate a Full Web Site Backup") area or button.

That is if you want to move or transfer to another host. It is only restorable by your host, not you in cpanel. And, it will create and generate the backup on the server in your hosting account which you would have to retrieve by ftp or filemanager. So don't mess with it unless you are moving to another host or really know what you are doing.

4. Return to the "Backups" page or screen if you are not already there.

This time in the "Partial Backups" area find "Download a MySQL Database Backup" and simply click on the name of your database in the list. In this case, I just click on "demo_test".

You will be prompted once again to download (your database this time). Again, a good place to save it to would be your desktop.

These are usually compressed too and are generally much smaller in size than the Home Directory backup so it should finish much faster. It will most likely be sql.gz format.


Now keep them in a safe location. You might create a folder on your local pc with a distinct name and place them in there. Perhaps a folder called "sitename-date-backups" or similar.

Restore backups in cpanel

To Restore a Home Directory Backup in cpanel:

If you need to restore your downloaded Home Directory Backup (all your files and folders).

1. Navigate to the "Backups" page or screen in cpanel again.

2. Now locate "Restore a Home Directory Backup" area.

Click on the "Browse" button to locate the home directory .tar.gz file you downloaded.

Then, click the "Upload" button.

Wait for it to finish.

Once again the time it will take to upload will vary depending on the size of your .tar.gz backup and how fast your internet upload speed is.

Be patient and let it finish doing its thing!

To Restore a Mysql Database Backup:

1. Find "Restore a MySQL Database" area and simply click on the "Browse" button.

Locate your backup .sql.gz file you downloaded and click the "Upload" button.

Wait for it to finish.

Generally your database backup .sql.gz files will be much smaller than a home directory backup unless you have a very huge site. Which means it should only take a fraction of the time to upload compared to a home directory backup. With an average site and internet connection usually only a few seconds to maybe 1-2 minutes to upload a database backup.

Keep good backups in dated folders if possible.

Drop a notepad or other text file in a folder along with the backups that include notes to yourself explaining what the backup contains or was for.

Create a backup before performing upgrades, changes, modifications, etc. so you can restore (especially a database backup) if necessary.


  • Backup before installing some - modification - name - date - link to mod.

Other - Opening Downloaded Backup Files:
If you would like to open or extract the contents of the "Home Directory Backup" or the "Mysql Database Backup", but you do not have a program capable of handling .tar/.tar.gz formats you can use a very good and free program:


Written By
Tutorial by: Jeremy LeSarge (AKA Ray)

I am the owner and administrator of DialMe.com. I write Tutorials for Boonex Dolphin as well as tips and resources surrounding website programming and development. I enjoy working with WordPress, SEO, and Web Hosting / Servers. I also maintain a WordPress Blog here on this site where you will find a variety of technology and webmaster resources.

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