Knowledge Base

VPS & Dedicated Hosting: How to Manage Your Server Backups with SFTP

Managing server backups is a crucial task for ensuring the safety and integrity of your data. Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) provides a reliable and secure method for managing these backups, whether you're using a a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server.

This article guides you through securely downloading and deleting server backups.

How to Download Server Backups and How to Delete Server Backups — VPS servers and Dedicated servers

Make sure you have FTP software installed before you begin. If you need FTP software, view the Bluehost guide to get one for free: FTP Client Recommendations.

Other guides at Bluehost you may also find useful are:

There are a few options to consider when downloading or deleting the server backups on a VPS or Dedicated Server. The first will be how to manage it with SFTP. To do this, you'll need an FTP client. In this article, we will use Filezilla.

To get started, open Filezilla. To download Filezilla, please see http://filezilla-project.org.

  1. Go to File in the top left and select Site Manager
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  2. Now click New Site.  You'll need to enter the following information:
    • Host: Your Server IP
    • Protocol: SFTP
    • Logon Type: Normal
    • Username: root
    • Password: your root password 
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  3. Once you have entered the information, click Connect

    Note: When you connect, you will likely be prompted to accept the host key.  Click OK and proceed.

  4. Once connected, you will be taken to /root (which is the root users directory; you can't do much in there); go up a directory. 
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  5. Now that you're at / you can navigate to the backup directory and then the cpbackup directory.
    • If you are using Legacy Backup (the default backup manager), you'll want to go to /backup/cpbackup
    • If you are using Backup Configuration, then you'll want to go to /backup 
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  6. In the /backup/cpbackup directory, you will find a daily, weekly, and monthly directory. Depending on which backups you have running, you'll want to go to the directory for them.  By default, daily and monthly backups are running.  So if you want to modify your daily backup, you'd go to the daily directory. 
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  7. The file you want to get will be username.tar.gz,  username would be the account's Username. Once you're there, you can drag and drop the file to where you want to download it or delete it if that is your purpose. 
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It is strongly recommended that you download anything before you delete it. Deleting any of your files is a bad idea unless you know what it is, you have a backup, or you are 100% sure it's not needed.


This article is particularly relevant for users with VPS Hosting and Dedicated Server Hosting.

Using FTP software to transfer, backup, or delete multiple files all at once results in a faster and easier way for you to handle multiple files all at once. This guide shows you how to download server backups and how to delete server backups for your VPS server or dedicated server. You can download or delete multiple files at once using a free FTP/SFTP software; check out FTP Client Recommendations.

For more FTP/SFTP recommendations, check out our Bluehost blog article: The 6 Best FTP Clients for Your Website.


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