cPanel: Create Backup and Transfer to Another Server

If you familiar in administrating cPanel, you should know a script/tool called pkgacct. This is the backup tools being used by cPanel in order to create and manage cPanel user’s account backup. By using this tool, we can take advantage by create a centralized backup server where cPanel account backup will be sent over to another server via FTP on weekly basis.

Following picture shows the architecture of the centralized backup I made:


FTP Server

1. I will store the cPanel backup in a Windows 2008 R2 server and I will be using FileZilla as the FTP server. Download the installer from here and follow the installation wizard. Just accept all defaults value during the installation process.

2. Add FTP required port into Windows Firewall:

Start > Administrative Tools > Windows Firewall with Advanced Security > Inbound Rules > New Rule > Port > Next > under Specific local ports enter this value: 20, 21 > Next > Allow the connection > Next > tick all for Domain, Private, Public > Next > put a name like FileZilla FTP > Finish.

3. Create FTP user and assign a directory called centralized_backup under C:\ partition:

FileZilla > Users > Add > enter username and password for respective user. Then go to Shared folders > Add Shared folders > C:\centralized_backup and tick all permissions on files and directories.

4. Make sure you can telnet port 21 from the cPanel servers:

$ telnet 21
Connected to (
Escape character is '^]'.
220-FileZilla FTP server
220 version 0.9.40 beta

5. Setup a schedule task so it will delete files longer than 30 days in the centralized backup directory:

Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Task Scheduler > Create Task. Enter following information:

General > Name: Delete_old_backup
General > Security options: SYSTEM
Triggers: Weekly  every Sunday of every week
Actions: Start a program
Actions > Program/scripts: forfiles
Actions > Add arguments (optional):

/p "c:\central_backup" /s /d -30 /M *.tar.gz /c "cmd /c del @file : date >= 30 days >NUL"

Click OK to complete the setup. Screenshot of the Actions setup is as below:

cPanel Servers

1. I will use BASH script to automate the process. In each cPanel server, create a file under /root/scripts directory:

$ mkdir -p /root/scripts
$ touch /root/scripts/centralbackup

Copy and paste following contents:

# Generate backups using cpbackup and then transfer them to a central server
# Author: SecaGuy @
# Local server configuration
# FTP server configuration
# Dont change line below
FTP=`which ftp`
if [ ! -d /var/cpanel/users ]
        echo "cPanel users not found. Aborted!"
        exit 1
        eof=`ls /var/cpanel/users | egrep -v '^\..$' | egrep -v '^\...$' | wc -l`
        echo "$eof cPanel user(s) found in this server"
	[ ! -d $TEMPPATH ] && mkdir -p $TEMPPATH || :
        for (( i=1; i<=$eof; i++ ))
                CPUSER=`ls /var/cpanel/users | egrep -v '^\..$' | egrep -v '^\...$' | head -$i | tail -1`
                echo "Creating backup for user $CPUSER.."
                /usr/local/cpanel/scripts/pkgacct $CPUSER $TEMPPATH userbackup
                echo "Backup done. Transferring backup to FTP server.."
                FILENAME=`ls $TEMPPATH | grep tar.gz`
                $FTP -n $CHOST <<END_SCRIPT
                quote USER $CUSERNAME
                quote PASS $CPASSWORD
                mkdir $LHOSTNAME
                lcd $TEMPPATH
                put $FILENAME
        echo "Removing temporary files.."
        rm -Rf $TEMPPATH/backup-*
        USERDIR=`cat /var/cpanel/users/$CPUSER | grep HOMEDIRPATHS | sed 's/HOMEDIRPATHS=//g'`
        rm -Rf $USERDIR/backup-*
        echo "Backup for $CPUSER complete!"
	echo "Process complete!"
        exit 0

2. Change the permission to executable:

$ chmod 755 /root/scripts/centralbackup

Schedule the Backup

Once all cPanel servers have been setup, I can schedule them using cron job on weekly basis (every Sunday at 12:00 AM). So I will add following line into cron job list:

$ crontab -e

Add following line:

0 0 * * 0 /root/scripts/centralbackup

Save the files and restart cron daemon:

$ service crond restart

Notes: You can use cpbackup-exclude.conf as refer to cPanel documentation page, to exclude certain files or directories from being included in this backup.