How Do You Automatically Backup Your Web Server Files With WinSCP Over FTP?


Angela Bailey

If you want to ensure the safety and security of your web server files, it is essential to have a reliable and automated backup system in place. One popular tool for this purpose is WinSCP, which allows you to transfer files between your local machine and the server using the FTP (File Transfer Protocol) protocol.

Why Is Automated Backup Important?

Backing up your web server files is crucial for several reasons:

  • Data loss prevention: Accidental deletion, hardware failure, or malware attacks can lead to the loss of important files. Regular backups can help you recover lost data.
  • Disaster recovery: Natural disasters like fires or floods can damage server infrastructure.

    Having off-site backups ensures that you can restore your website quickly in such situations.

  • Version control: Automated backups allow you to maintain different versions of your website’s files. This enables easy rollback to a previous version if something goes wrong with an update or modification.

Using WinSCP for Automated Backups

To automatically backup your web server files using WinSCP over FTP, follow these steps:

Step 1: Install WinSCP

If you haven’t already done so, download and install WinSCP from their official website (https://winscp.php). Choose the appropriate version based on your operating system.

Step 2: Create a Backup Directory on Your Local Machine

Create a directory on your local machine where you want to store the backup files. Make sure there is enough storage space available to accommodate regular backups.

Step 3: Launch WinSCP

Launch WinSCP and enter the FTP details of your web server (host, username, password, and port) in the login window. Click on “Login” to connect to your server.

Step 4: Configure Session Options

Once connected, go to “Options” in the toolbar and select “Preferences.” In the preferences window, navigate to the “Backup” section.

Note: The exact location of the backup settings may vary slightly depending on the version of WinSCP you are using.

Step 5: Configure Backup Settings

In the backup preferences, choose the directory you created in Step 2 as the local backup directory. You can also specify additional options such as compression and encryption based on your requirements.

Step 6: Schedule Automated Backups

To schedule automated backups, go to “Commands” in the toolbar and select “Scheduler.” In the scheduler window, click on “Add” to create a new task.

Note: Some versions of WinSCP may use different terminology for scheduling tasks (e.g., “Tasks” instead of “Scheduler”).

Step 7: Configure Task Parameters

In the task configuration window, specify details such as task name, frequency (daily, weekly, etc.), time of execution, and the source/destination directories for backup. Make sure to choose appropriate synchronization options based on your backup requirements.

Step 8: Save and Enable Task

Once you have configured all task parameters, save it by clicking on “OK” or similar button. Then enable it by checking the corresponding checkbox or activating it using any other available option.

Step 9: Test and Verify

To ensure that the automated backup is working correctly, manually trigger the task or wait for it to run automatically based on your configuration. Verify that the backup files are being created in the specified local directory.


Automated backups are essential for protecting your web server files. By using WinSCP to automate the backup process over FTP, you can ensure the safety and accessibility of your important data. Remember to regularly monitor and verify your backups to address any issues promptly.

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