Back up, restore, or move a SharePoint site

Suppose that your team has just posted their latest quarterly reports to various document libraries on the team site, and you want to back up the site at this critical juncture. Or suppose that your team has been moved to a different group in your organization, so you need to move your team site to another server. You can use Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 to create a backup copy of a site or subsite, and then re-create that site on the same server or on another server.

When you back up and restore a site, you actually perform three separate operations: First, you back up the site to a single file. Then you create a new empty site as a destination. Finally, you restore the backup site to that destination.

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Should I use Backup and Restore or another packaging feature?

There are three different features for packaging Web sites: In Office SharePoint Designer 2007, you can back up a site or create a Web package, and in the browser you can save a site as a site template. Which feature you choose depends on what you want to accomplish.

Web Package (.fwp file)    Use this feature when you want to share or reuse Web pages or a site, list, or library structure. With Web packages, you can either package an entire site or choose the specific pages, lists, or libraries that you want. Web packages are a great way to duplicate site structure, but they cannot include list data, subsites, or security and permissions settings. Also, a Web package can include custom link bars. After you create a package, you can import and deploy the file into as many Web sites as you want. For more information on Web packages, see Export or import a Web package.

Backup and Restore (.cmp file)    Use this feature when you want to make a backup copy of an entire site or subsite, or when you want to move an entire site or subsite to another server or location. Unlike Web packages, content migration packages include list data, and you cannot choose to include only specific site elements. Note that you may lose some customizations or settings in the process. For example, the backup file does not include workflows, alerts, and properties stored at the site collection level. The backup file also does not include the Recycle Bin state or objects inside it. To use Backup and Restore, you must have administrator permissions to that site.

Site Template (.stp file)    Use this feature when you want to create multiple Web sites that start with the same base content or site structure. For example, you may want all of the subsites created on a site to have a similar site structure, look and feel, and even content. You can do this by saving a site as a site template and adding it to the Site Template Gallery so that anyone can use the site as a template. Unlike Web packages, site templates can include list data. You must have both administrator permissions to the Web site where you want to create the site template and write access to Site Template Gallery. Find a link to more information about site templates in the See Also section.

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How do I move a SharePoint site from one location to another?

SharePoint sites are not actually moved from one location or server to another; rather, they are backed up to a file, and then the content or site is re-created from the backup file.

The Backup and Restore feature in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 is the best way to move an individual site or subsite from one server to another, but this method has limitations, as outlined earlier in this article. However, if you are a server administrator, Windows SharePoint Services includes a powerful command-line administration tool called Stsadm.exe. With this tool, you can back up or restore one site collection at a time, meaning one top-level site and all its subsites. However, you cannot use Stsadm.exe to back up an individual subsite, only the collection. For more information on using Stsadm.exe, see the "Windows SharePoint Services Administrator's Guide."

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How do I publish or copy a SharePoint site from one location to another?

The Backup and Restore feature — not the Remote Web Site command — is the recommended and preferred way to copy a SharePoint site from one location to another.

The Office SharePoint Designer 2007 publishing feature (Site menu, Remote Web Site command) does not support moving all types of SharePoint content. For example, when you publish or copy a Web site from one location to another, Office SharePoint Designer 2007 cannot move Web Parts inside Web Part zones or SharePoint list data and schemas, meaning the columns, settings, and content of SharePoint lists and libraries. By contrast, the Backup and Restore feature does support moving this SharePoint content.

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Back up a Web site

Backing up a Web site creates a content migration package, or .cmp file. When you back up a Web site, you can choose to back up either the top-level Web site or the top-level Web site and any subsites. The backup file that you create includes list or library content, security settings, user information, navigation, customizations, and personalizations (such as views, site templates, and content types). The backup file does not include workflows, alerts, and properties stored at the site collection level.

To back up a site, you must have administrator permissions for that site, but you do not require administrative access to the server that is running Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.

  1. On the File menu, click Open Site.
  2. In the Open Site dialog box, browse to and click the Web site that you want to back up, and then click Open.
  3. On the Site menu, point to Administration, and then click Backup Web Site.
  4. In the Backup Web Site dialog box, to include all subsites of the current Web site in the backup, select the Include subsites in archive check box.
  5. If the current Web site is low on available storage space, click Advanced, enter a new location, and then click OK.

Backing up a Web site requires a location to store temporary backup files. By default, Office SharePoint Designer 2007 uses the current Web site. You can use another site on the same server or a location on another server on the same network — for example, \\Server name\Share name.

  1. In the Backup Web Site dialog box, click OK.
  2. In the File Save dialog box, select the location where you want to store the .cmp file.
  3. In the File name box, type the name for the file, and then click Save.

If the site that you are backing up or restoring is large, the process can take quite a while.

 Tip   To determine if there were errors during the backup process, you can check the .log file. The .log file is stored in the Temp folder for your user account. If a log file already exists from a previous backup or restore, a new log file is created with a different file name — for example, smigrate_1.log, smigrate_2.log, and so on. Search the log entries for the following error messages: cannot, could not, failure, server error, timed out, unable to, and the server sent a response.

 Note   If you are a server administrator, Windows SharePoint Services includes a powerful command-line administration tool called Stsadm.exe. With this tool, you can back up or restore one site collection at a time, meaning one top-level site and all its subsites. However, you cannot use Stsadm.exe to back up an individual subsite, only the collection. For more information on using Stsadm.exe, see the "Windows SharePoint Services Administrator's Guide."

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Restore a Web site

Step 1: Create a new empty Web site as a destination

  1. On the File menu, click New.
  2. In the New dialog box, click the Web Site tab, click General, and then click Empty Web Site.
  3. In the Specify the location of the new Web site box, enter the location where you want to restore the backup site.

You can restore the site to a different server, and you can restore it as either a new top-level site or a subsite under an existing top-level site.

  1. Click OK.

 Tip   You can also create an empty Web site through the browser by using the Site Settings or Create pages. For example, when viewing the site in the browser, click Site Actions, and then click Create. On the Create page, under Web Pages, click Sites and Workspaces. Complete the first four sections, but when you get to the Template Selection section, close the browser without making a selection. Do not apply any template — including the Blank Site template — or the restore operation will fail.

Step 2: Restore the backup file to the destination

  1. With the destination site open, on the Site menu, point to Administration, and then click Restore Web Site.
  2. In the File Open dialog box, browse to and click the .cmp file that you want to restore, and then click Open.
  3. If the current Web site is low on available storage space, click Advanced, and then do any of the following:
    • To store the archive files in another temporary location, enter a new location in the Temporary location for archive files box.

Backing up a Web site requires a location to store temporary backup files. By default, Office SharePoint Designer 2007 uses the current Web site. You can use another site on the same server or a location on another server on the same network — for example, \\Server name\Share name.

  • To store the .log file in another location, enter a new location in the Location for import log file box.

You might need to choose another location for the .log file if the server cannot write to the default location. By default, Office SharePoint Designer 2007 creates an import .log file in the current Web site. You can check this file to determine if there were errors during the restore process.

  1. In the Restore Web Site dialog box, click OK to confirm that you want to restore the .cmp file to the current empty Web site.

If the site that you are backing up or restoring is large, the process can take quite a while.

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Can I use Backup and Restore on an Office SharePoint Server 2007 site?

Within certain limitations, yes. You can use Office SharePoint Designer 2007 to back up team and personal sites within a portal site collection, but you cannot back up portal areas or the top-level portal site itself. In addition, you can only restore those team and personal sites to a portal site collection that is already properly configured on a server running Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. You cannot use Backup and Restore to move a site from a server running Office SharePoint Server 2007 to a server running Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, or the reverse.

To back up, restore, or move a Office SharePoint Server 2007 portal site, use Stsadm.exe, the Windows SharePoint Services command-line administration tool. To use this tool, you must be an administrator of the server running Office SharePoint Server 2007. For more information on using Stsadm.exe, see the "Windows SharePoint Services Administrator's Guide."

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Can I use Backup and Restore to upgrade a site from Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 to Windows SharePoint Services 3.0?

No. Backing up a site located on a server running Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 creates an .fwp file. Backing up a site on a server running Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 creates a .cmp file. These two file formats are not compatible. For information on upgrading a site to a server running Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, see the article Upgrade considerations for customized sites.

You can use the Backup and Restore feature in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 to move a Windows SharePoint Services site:

  • From a server running Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 to another server running Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.
  • From a server running Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 to another server running Windows SharePoint Services 2.0.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Designer 2007