Backing up ownCloud

When you backup your ownCloud server, there are four things that you need to copy:

  1. Your config/ directory.
  2. Your data/ directory.
  3. Your ownCloud database.
  4. Your custom theme files, if you have any. (See Theming ownCloud)

When you install your ownCloud server from our Open Build Service packages (or from distro packages, which we do not recommend) do not backup your ownCloud server files, which are the other files in your owncloud/ directory such as core/, 3rdparty/, apps/, assets/, lib/, and all the rest of the ownCloud files. If you restore these files from backup they may not be in sync with the current package versions, and will fail the code integrity check. This may also cause other errors, such as white pages.

When you install ownCloud from the source tarballs this will not be an issue, and you can safely backup your entire ownCloud installation, with the exception of your ownCloud database. Databases cannot be copied, but you must use the database tools to make a correct database dump.

To restore your ownCloud installation from backup, see Restoring ownCloud .

Backing Up the config/ and data/ Directories

Simply copy your config/ and data/ folder to a place outside of your ownCloud environment. This example uses rsync to copy the two directories to /backupdir:

rsync -Aax config data /oc-backupdir/

There are many ways to backup normal files, and you may use whatever method you are accustomed to.

Backup Database

You can’t just copy a database, but must use the database tools to make a correct database dump.


MySQL or MariaDB, which is a drop-in MySQL replacement, is the recommended database engine. To backup MySQL/MariaDB:

mysqldump --single-transaction -h [server] -u [username] -p[password] [db_name] > owncloud-dbbackup_`date +"%Y%m%d"`.bak


mysqldump --single-transaction -h localhost -u username -ppassword owncloud > owncloud-dbbackup_`date +"%Y%m%d"`.bak


sqlite3 data/owncloud.db .dump > owncloud-dbbackup_`date +"%Y%m%d"`.bak


PGPASSWORD="password" pg_dump [db_name] -h [server] -U [username] -f owncloud-dbbackup_`date +"%Y%m%d"`.bak

Restoring Files From Backup When Encryption Is Enabled

If you need to restore files from backup, which were backed up when encryption was enabled, here’s how to do it.


This is effective from at least version v8.2.7 of ownCloud onwards. Also, this is not officially supported. ownCloud officially supports either restoring the full backup or restoring nothing — not restoring individual parts of it.

  1. Restore the file from backup
  2. Restore the file’s encryption keys from backup
  3. Run occ files:scan; this makes the scanner find it. Note that, in the DB it will (1) have the “size” set to the encrypted size, which is wrong (and bigger) and (2) the “encrypted” flag will be set to 0
  4. Update the “encrypted” flag to 1 in the DB to all files under files/path, but not directories. Setting the flag to 1 tells the encryption application that the file is encrypted and needs to be processed.


There’s no need to update the encrypted flag for files in either “files_versions” or “files_trashbin”, because these aren’t scanned or found by occ files:scan.

  1. Download the file once as the user; the file’s size will be corrected automatically

This process might not be suitable across all environments. If it’s not suitable for yours, you might need to run an OCC command that does the scanning. But, that will require the user’s password or recovery key.

All documentation licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.