How to Manually Unzip and Restore a Backup

When unzipping a backup through Standalone Importer (the Solid Backups restore script), there are two methods of unzipping that can be used, PclZip and Command-Line Zip through the PHP exec function. What happens if neither of these methods are available to be used within your server environment?

Fortunately, the Standalone Importer allows you to unzip the backup manually first and then you can go ahead with the restore. Let’s go over how to extract the files from the zip and then we can go over the changes we need to make in Standalone Importer. 

Extracting the Files


To extract data from a zip file within Windows simply right-click the zip file you wish to extract files from. Then select Extract All… which will then open a dialog box asking you to select the location on your PC where you want the files to be extracted. Where you extract the files to is up to you; just remember the location where you have extracted the files from your backup.

IMPORTANT:  Do not delete the backup .zip archive you extracted the files from as you will need this for later.


To extract data on OSX start you can simply double-click on the backup .zip file. This should start extracting the files into a folder with the same name as the backup and in the same location as the backup zip file. If double-clicking on the zip file does not start extracting the files automatically you can always right-click and then select Open With -> Archive Utility

IMPORTANT:  Do not delete the backup .zip archive you extracted the files from as you will need this for later.

cPanel File Manager

In some versions of the file manager in your cPanel, you can extract files from a zip file within the user interface. To do this, open the cPanel file manager on your host. Navigate to the zip file you wish to extract files from. Once there right-click the zip file and then select ExtractA dialog box will appear asking you to select a location for the extracted files; where you choose to store the files is up to you. If you plan on restoring immediately, extract the files to the location where you want your site to save yourself a step of having to move the files manually. 

IMPORTANT:  Do not delete the backup .zip archive you extracted the files from as you will need this for later.

Starting the Import Process with your Extracted Files

Once your files have been extracted and are located on your local computer we need to upload them to where you want to restore your site.

Using your preferred FTP program, upload all the files to the directory where you’d like to restore the site.  (If you used the tools with cPanel to extract your files and they are already located on the server where you want to restore, then you can skip this part.)

Remember you need 3 things uploaded:

  1. All the files that you extracted from the backup.
  2. The backup .zip file.
  3. ImportBuddy.php.

Tip! If you do not have enough storage space in the location you are restoring to for all your files and the backup file they originated from, you can create an empty .zip file with the exact name as the backup file and upload it instead of the full backup .zip file. 

Now that you have everything uploading to the location you wish to restore to, it’s time to begin the import.

To start the import process please navigate to the importbuddy.php script through the URL bar in your preferred browser. ex:

After you have entered in the password for your Standalone Importer script you will be on Step 1. Click the Advanced Options button. You can ignore the warning about the existing WordPress installation as that is the files you have already extracted.

Now tick the checkbox for the setting Skip unzipping or opening archive (for manual extraction).

After you have enabled the setting, continue the import as normal and follow the steps until the end.

If you need a full guide on how to restore/migrate a backup please see the help center article here.

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