How to backup Site Collections in SharePoint Server?

Megha Sharma | Updated On - 30 Dec 2020 |

Read time 4 min

In this blog, find the ways and detailed procedures to backup Site Collections in SharePoint Server.

A SharePoint Server backup is a disaster recovery practice that is recommended to perform regularly. SharePoint backup includes the backups of the content database, apps, configuration database, Secure Store Service application, App Management service application database, etc. Among these backups, the SharePoint Site Collections backup is also important as it stores the SharePoint apps. It is an important consideration for those who perform SharePoint backups.

Performing Site Collections Backup in SharePoint Server Manually

The manual ways to backup Site Collections in SharePoint Server 2013 and newer versions are

  1. Backup through Central Administration

    Main Agenda: Utilizing the SharePoint Server Central Administration features to perform the Site Collections backup manually.


    • Create a folder on the system drive to save the backup
    • The user performing the procedure must be a member of the Farms Administrators group
    • Windows SharePoint Services Timer V4 service must be assigned the Full Control permissions over the created backup folder.


    Follow these instructions to perform the backup of SharePoint Site Collections using the Central Administration of the SharePoint Server.

    1. Start your SharePoint Server and open the Central Administration.
    2. On the Central Administration page, move to Backup and Restore and then click on the Perform a site collection backup option under it.
    3. The Site Collection Backup page will get opened. Here, choose the Site Collection from the provided list for the backup purpose. In the Filename section, provide the local path of the folder where the backup is required to be stored. Then click on the Start Backup option.
    4. The live status of the backup can be viewed under the Site Collection Backup section. The status gets updated automatically after 30 seconds, though users can Refresh it manually as well using the same name option.


    • Simple to perform, not complicated.


    • Lengthy, time taking process, especially while performing multiple Site Collection backups
    • Does not support Office 365 SharePoint and older versions of SharePoint Server
  2. Backup through PowerShell

    Main Agenda: Executing the command for the backup of SharePoint Site Collections in PowerShell.


    • Create a folder on the system drive to save the backup
    • The user performing the procedure must have securityadmin fixed server role on the SQL Server instance and db_owner fixed database role on all databases to be updated
    • Membership in the Administrators group on the Server (on which the PowerShell is running)


    Once all the pre-requisites are fulfilled, and the permissions are assigned, users can move forward to perform the actual process.

    1. Launch the SharePoint Management Shell as an administrator (right-click on the SharePoint Management Shell icon and click on Run as administrator option).
    2. Run this command on the opened Command Prompt to back up the SharePoint Site Collection.
      Backup-SPSite -Identity <SiteCollectionGUIDorURL> -Path <BackupFile> [-Force] [-NoSiteLock] [-UseSqlSnapshot] [-Verbose]

    Provide the bolded details in the above command – Site Collection GUID or URL (for backup) and the backup file folder path (created in advance on the system).

    Note: The additional parameters in the above command are:

    • Force parameter for overwriting the existing backup
    • NoSiteLock parameter for avoiding read-only lock on the site collection during the backup
    • UseSqlSnapshot parameter for consistency in backups

    These parameters are optional, and users can use it as per their requirements.

    Users can run this command in the SharePoint Management Shell to restore the Site Collection in the SharePoint Farm.

    Restore-SPSite -Identity <SiteCollectionURL> -Path <Backup file> [-DatabaseServer <DatabaseServerName>] [-DatabaseName <ContentDatabaseName>]


    • A short procedure


    • Unfriendly to novice users
    • Does not support Office 365 SharePoint and older versions of SharePoint Server

We had described everything related to manual methods, including their advantages and disadvantages. Some drawbacks drive the users to have a second thought on utilizing the manual backup method.

Why a Professional Solution?

For the backup of older SharePoint Server versions and Office 365 SharePoint Site Collections, you need an alternative solution. It is due to the lack of any manual solution to fulfill these requirements.

We have selected the most reliable solution from those available in the market – Kernel Migrator for SharePoint. It is a third-party utility which along with facilitating migrations between different SharePoint On-premises Servers versions and between SharePoint Online. This SharePoint Migration tool allows us to download SharePoint Online/SharePoint On-premises Server data (including Site Collections) to the File System. The process is direct with minimum steps, and allows selective data migration with its filters.

SharePoint Online/SharePoint On-premises Server data