Automated course backup

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 1.9. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version is available here: Automated course backup.

Location: Administration > Courses > Backups


The backups page enables administrators to configure automated course backups and a backup schedule. Automated course backups runs the same functions as individual course backups. It's a good idea to schedule backups for when your server isn't usually busy. Running the backup tool over all the courses can be processor-intensive, so you shouldn't run it when there are a lot of students trying to access the server. You should always alert users with an announcement on the first page that if they log on during the backup hours they may notice a decrease in performance.

In order to make scheduled backups, you have to set up CRON to run periodically. Please refer to the cron instructions.

Setting a backup schedule

To set the backup schedule:

  1. Click the Active checkbox. This turns on the automated backup system.
  2. Click the days of the week to run the backup.
  3. Set the execution time for the backup process. For most servers, early morning will be the best time. Keep in mind the time zone your server is using.
  4. Set the "Save to..." path. If you can, choose a backup path on another machine or on a different drive than the one Moodle is on. You don’t want to lose your backups at the same time you lose your Moodle site if the drive fails. If you leave the field blank, then backup zip files will be saved in the backup folder of each course files folder. On a Linux server the path might look like: /home/(your user or domain)/public_html/archive/ or if it's below the publicly accessible folders: /home/(your user or domain)/archive/ if the path is not recognized a red X is shown after saving, otherwise a green check.
  5. Click the "Save changes" button.

Once you've set up your backup schedule, Moodle will automatically create archives of all the courses on the server at the time you specified. Once the backup is complete, Moodle will send you an email describing the status of the backup.

Note: From 1.6 onwards, course backups automatically skip courses which are unavailable to students and have not been changed in the last month.

Course versus site backups

  • Automated course backups are more expensive in terms of time and CPU usage. The recovery time to have your site running again is longer.
  • Course backups are useful for obtaining "fresh" copies of courses to be re-used or distributed individually, however they should never be used as a primary backup system (unless your hosting doesn't allow the preferred site backups).

See also