… starting from the point where the story stopped.
The migration from cPanel to Site Tools has been completed. Now you will be able to manage your hosting with our new Site Tools and enjoy many performance and management improvements that result from the change.The SiteGround Team
After checking my websites – as recommended by SiteGround in their
Switch from cPanel to Site Tools completed email – I was glad to see that they indeed successfully migrated my account (see part 8); I didn’t have to use their Post-migration recommended fixes. Admittedly, I am not using SiteGround emails (see Pointing my domain name to my website) and I do not have (yet) FTP (see FTP or File Manager?) nor SSH accounts, among the specific functionalities listed in the Post-migration (sub-) category of their Knowledge Base. However, the story doesn’t stop here; quite the contrary. It is now time to address the elephant in the room: the removal of my backup solution.
For reasons expounded elsewhere, I have chosen to use Softaculous to create instant backups on demand and extra1 monthly backups (to keep locally). As opposed to other serious (free) alternatives, Softaculous provides indeed a stress-free, and what is more independent, backup solution, with the possibility to backup only the WordPress files, only the database or both simultaneously; all within a single interface! As elucidated in the first part of this mini-series, one of the collateral damage from the switch from cPanel to Site Tools is the suppression of Softaculous.
We won’t use Softaculous anymore.Reneta Tsankova
In fact, SiteGround decided to remove two out of the three free, independent backup options available (i.e. Softaculous and cPanel Backup tool; see part 3). Consequently, the remaining options were (and still are) either 1) to do a manual backup (i.e. using FTP + phpMyAdmin), 2) to pay $29.95 per backup in order to access the on demand backup feature of the SiteGround Backup tool (this feature not being included in the StartUp plan), or – Hristo’s
suggestion brush-off – 3) to upgrade to the Grow Big plan (a $24.99/mo.2 alternative to my free backup solution). Thanks, but no thanks! Besides, the backup copies created by the SiteGround Backup tool cannot be downloaded locally; thus defeating the 3-2-1 backup rule (see Backup, Backup, Backup!).
Downloading a backup is not possible at the moment.Hristo Pandjarov
To sum up, the only real option left (after the migration) will be to backup manually by downloading WordPress files via FTP and exporting the database using phpMyAdmin. Unless…
We have eventually to provide a new tool that will allow you to download all your data . . . with a single click.Nikolay Todorov
This was the answer to my question during the webinar that took place on September 5, 2019 (see part 3). How long does it take to develop and implement such a tool? Are more than 15 months enough for a company that brags about developing in-house smart solutions?
How things are done in Site Tools in comparison to cPanel
The aforementioned Post-Migration (sub-) category in the SiteGround Knowledge Base is part of the Site Tools vs. cPanel category in which SiteGround listed
articles featuring how things are done in Site Tools in comparison to cPanel. Among the other 15 (sub-) categories, it is worth mentioning the following:
- Autoinstallers (if only for the article Where Can I Find Softaculous?)
- Files (if only for the article How to Upload and Manage Files with File Manager?3)
- Databases (if only for the article How to Access phpMyAdmin?)
- Backups Manager
As briefly explained in part 1, Softaculous is first and foremost a script library that automates the installation of web applications to a website. In their Knowledge Base article about where to find Softaculous, SiteGround refers to the auto-installer indeed – not to the backup solution, unfortunately!
The application installation in Site Tools now happens in Site > App Manager. To automate the installation of scripts through the interface of this tool, we are using the Softaculous Remote service.
Although not ideal, the Compress File(s) feature of File Manager can be used for transferring a backup of your WordPress files as long as your website is small. Given the upcoming suppression of Softaculous, I did experiment (before the migration) with this method, which was supposed to be the only free option left after the switch (with the suppression of both the cPanel Backup tool and the Softaculous option). Creating an archive of my Home directory (i.e. public_html) and downloading it was actually not so complicated; yet, I did not experiment with the restore process.
I will address the brand new interface (build by SiteGround) in the next post, but for now let me stick to the subject matter, namely creating a backup. First, I was surprised to see two folders – one for my website (cogitactive.com) and one for my blog (blog.cogitactive.com) – each with its own public_html. The “Site-Centric Philosophy” of Site Tools is still an enigma with my multisite configuration (see part 5). Anyway, the public_html of the blog was actually empty, so this doesn’t really matter.
To upload and manage files in Site Tools, go to Site > File Manager. Use the toolbar of File Manager to manage your files. Hover your mouse over each icon to check out what it does.
Concerning the available tools, I will have to study a little bit more than just hovering
over each icon as suggested in the SiteGround Knowledge Base. For now, just let me say that I was reserved in my enthusiasm. For instance, the Archive tool does not offer options for the compressions type anymore; you can just provide a name for your to-be-zipped file. Granted, I was choosing “Zip Archive” anyway, but still… As for the Download tool, my first attempt was a failure (invalid downloaded archive of 16 MB instead of 79 MB). My second attempt was even worse: invalid 4 MB archive! As I explained in FTP or File Manager?, FTP is the recommended way to transfer large or multiples files. However, with the previous File Manager, I had no problem downloading4 my 79 MB archive!
I just hope you will not sacrifice quality over simplicity. CogitActive
This quote is from my comment back in August 22, 2019 concerning Site Tools. Hristo’s reply was as follow:
I agree that moving away from cPanel is [a] huge change but we all believe it’s for the best. I think that once the initial issues caused by the migration are solved, you won’t want to ever get back to cPanel after a week of using our system.
One week? Let see what I have to say in the next post…
After my unsuccessful effort with the new File Manager (see above), I was glad to discover that phpMyAdmin was the same as before. The only difference was the access path:
To access phpMyAdmin in Site Tools, go to Site > MySQL > phpMyAdmin > Access phpMyAdmin.
In cPanel, you could access phpMyAdmin from Databases > phpMyAdmin.
Simplicity? Who said
There are four articles in this (sub-) category:
- How to Delete Manual Backups?
- How to Create Instant Backups?
- How to Check Restorations History?
- How to Restore Your Account or Specific Files?
Without deluding myself about it, I read each one of them! They all concern the SiteGround Backup tool. As expected, after following the indicated path (Site Tools > Security > Backups > Create & Restore), I was informed that I had 0
Available Manual Backup Slots5.
We recommend that you create a backup every time you plan to deploy changes on your site, so you can quickly restore in case anything goes wrong. You can delete your old backups to free backup slots.
Maybe it is worth asking my question (the one pseudo-answered during the webinar) again:
By removing cPanel AND Softaculous, you suppress two FREE backup solutions (out of the three server-level, independent backup options available) – the third option being a manual backup (FTP + phpMyAdmin). What tool(s) will replace these two convenient methods in the new Site Tools? Other than the SiteGround Backup tool, which is neither independent (of SiteGround’s infrastructure) nor free (i.e. on demand backups for StartUp plan)!CogitActive
To be continued…
1 It is probably worth mentioning that the automatic daily backup service offered (as in free) by SiteGround is great. Granted, I don’t have access to the backup copies and my plan (i.e. StartUp) does not allow me to create instant backups on demand; still, this is enough for my peace of mind. ^
2 When this story started, the GrowBig plan was offered (not as in free) for $19.95/mo. However, there was a recent (June 18, 2020) hike in SiteGround prices; this despite the fact that they will not have to pay for cPanel anymore. What a rip-off! ^
3 As explained in FTP or File Manager?, FTP is the recommended way to transfer large or multiples files; still, the Compress File(s) feature of File Manager might be an option for small websites (like mine). ^
4 In the webinar, Hristo explained that there was a 128 MB limitation for downloading files, but they were working on suppressing it. Whether they managed to do this already (after more than 15 months) is irrelevant because, if my math is correct, 79 MB is less than 128 MB anyway! ^
5 In fact, if you use their quick help – the How to create a backup instantly? article, in particular – you can read
There are 5 free instant backups per site each month. Of course, this applies only to their GrowBig and GoGeek plans; with a StartUp plan, you will have to purchase single backups! $29.95 per backup the last time I did check. ^