Automated course backup



Automating course backups

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 an automated course backup schedule

To set the backup schedule:

  1. Go to Administration > Site administration > Courses > Backups > Automated backup setup.
  2. Set backup_auto_active to enabled.
  3. Select the days of the week to run the backup.
  4. 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.
  5. Set the "Save to..." path. If we can, choose a backup path on another machine or on a different drive than the one Moodle is on. We 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.
  6. Set all other options appropriately.
  7. Click the "Save changes" button.

Tip: To save disk space, we can choose to delete backups older than a specified number of days. If so, you should also specify a minimum number of backups to be kept. (The settings 'Delete backups older than' and 'Minimum number of backups kept' are new in Moodle 3.0 onwards.)

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.

Backups report

A last execution log of scheduled course backups can be found in Administration > Site administration > Reports > Backups. It displays a list of all course backups made, the time taken to create them, their status (see below), and the next scheduled automated backup execution time.

Clicking the 'View logs' icon next to the course name (1 in screenshot below) will display a detailed backup log for a particular course, including date, hour and minute when each step of the backup was performed (2). This log is useful for troubleshooting backup errors.

Backup status

Course versus site backups