We work tirelessly to create, edit, and enhance sites and site collections; sometimes making hundreds of hours of changes. It would be a shame to lose all of this work simply because no one backed-up the site collection and disaster struck.
The backup and restore processes are both simple, and easy to use. The most important part of the process is knowing that a site collection backup can be done either from Central Administration or from Windows Management Shell; however a site collection restore can only be done via Windows Management Shell.
Site Collection Backup:
No matter which method you use, you must first create a folder to store the backup.
If you choose to use Windows Management Shell the next step is to run a backup script.
The script follows the syntax: Backup-SPSite <SiteCollectionURL> –Path <BackupFile>
The great thing about backups is that you can name your file, so if you need to number your backups or base the name on the site collection, it is a simple task.
If you choose to use Central Administration, the process is done through the User Interface:
Central Administration > Backup and Restore > Perform a site collection backup
Which leads you to this page:
From here you can choose the site collection you wish to backup, and then specify the location where the backup file will be stored- in this case it is the same location used via Windows Management Shell.
If you are not sure of the URL of the site collection you wish to backup then Central Administration is a safer route because you can browse through all site collections to find the one you wish to backup. However, if you have many site collections and already know the URL then Windows Management Shell is easier to use.
Site Collection Restore:
Remember, a site collection restore can only be done via Windows Management Shell:
The restore script follows similar syntax to the backup script: Restore-SPSite <DestinationSiteCollectionURL> -Path <BackupFile> [-Force]
In this case the Force command is in brackets because it is optional- if you already have a site collection at the specified URL you must force the restore, but if the URL is not being used then you don’t need the Force command.
It is a good idea to backup the site collections once a week. The operation is simple, but can take up space if you start backing up daily so be cautious as to how often you backup, and be sure to delete old backups.