Backups - how do I do a site backup?

how do I do a site backup in Zen Cart?

NOTE: A full backup of your Zen Cart site has TWO parts:

  • A copy of all your Zen Cart files, and
  • A copy of your database

A. Backup your files

Use your FTP tool to make a copy of all the files on your website, by copying them from your webserver to a folder on your business computer. Preferably the directory/folder on your computer should be named by today’s date so that you can distinguish between backups.

Having this gives you not only an up-to-date set of files on your server, but also a reference point for either making changes or for making comparisons in case something gets compromised or damaged on your webserver. You can either use this set of files to restore the program back to your website, or to diagnose a problem if one occurs.

NOTE: Keeping multiple separate versions on your computer is prudent, in case something is changed unexpectedly or accidentally. So, archiving these downloaded files is wise, to a USB key or cloud based backup.

B. Backup your Database

Using phpMyAdmin to make a Database Backup

1. Open phpMyAdmin

2. Select your database from the dropdown (usually on the left side), so that its tables are displayed (they usually display on the right side).

3. Click on the Export tab. (NOTE: Be sure you’ve already selected your database from the pulldown BEFORE clicking on the Export tab)

4. Many of the default settings are fine; however, choosing the “Custom” export type will allow you to optimize your backup by selecting the following (“tick” here means “tick the checkbox” or “select the option”):

  • Tick Enclose table and fieldnames with backquotes
  • UNTICK the “CREATE DATABASE / USE statement” checkbox (you do NOT want it adding this)
  • Tick either use gzipped or zipped output so the exported data is compressed into a smaller file
  • Tick “Complete Inserts” (helpful during upgrades if you have many custom fields added by modifications made to your site)
  • Tick “Extended Inserts” to help keep the file smaller, especially if you are just making backups for safekeeping and not for troubleshooting something.

5. Click Go to do the export. It will give you the option to save the file to your PC. BE SURE TO SAVE IT to an appropriate spot on your PC. To have a redundant backup, save a copy to a thumb drive or upload it to a cloud account such as Google Drive.

Using the Backup MySQL Plugin to make a Database Backup

On hosts that permit the use of exec(), you can use the Backup MySQL Plugin to create your database backup, and then download the resultant file from YOURADMIN/backups to your local computer. Again, you will want to save a copy to a thumb drive or upload your backup to a cloud account so that you have redundancy.


  • Open phpMyAdmin
  • From the dropdown menu, select the database you wish to restore INTO
  • Click on the “Import” tab (in older phpMyAdmin versions, you might have to click the “SQL” tab instead)
  • Click on the Browse button, and select the file you downloaded when making the backup
  • You probably want to UNCHECK the “Allow interrupt of import” in the Partial Import section.
  • Click Go

NOTE: If you are going to be RESTORING to a server running different version of MySQL than what your backup came from, you should be careful about which additional switches you check. Ask your hosting company or server administrator for guidance if you are uncertain.

Still have questions? No problem! Just head over to the Zen Cart support forum and ask there.
In your post, please include your Zen Cart and PHP versions, and a link to your site.

Last modified June 19, 2020 by Chris Brown (9a317ab).