How To Backup and Restore SharePoint Sites
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New call-to-actionSharePoint has seamlessly replaced the organization’s water cooler/communication hub in our world gone remote. With powerful team collaboration mechanisms and integration with Flow and PowerApps that enable it to be the bedrock of the corporate intranet, SharePoint holds business-critical data and workflows. How do you backup and restore SharePoint data, mitigating the risk of damaging data loss, while ensuring compliance? We explore manual backup, native SharePoint solutions, and third-party options to backup and restore SharePoint sites.

In this article:

Native Backup Options for SharePoint Sites

Backup of Site Collections via PowerShell

You can backup SharePoint sites via Powershell. After setting up PowerShell (instructions here), follow the instructions below

# 1 Establish a connection with the Microsoft 365 (Office 365) tenant

Connect-PnPOnline -Url

where the site address should follow the “–Url”. It is  in our example.

powershellsp – is the tenant name

sites/OrgIntranet – is the site name where the file is stored

backup and restore sharepoint sites - powershell

#2 The “Get-PnPFile” command is used to back up a file from SharePoint to a local folder

Get-PnPFile -Url "/sites/Intranet/Docs/Partner/VendorList.xlsx" -Path C:SPBackup -FileName "VendorList.xlsx"

We are copying the “VendorListxlsx” file from the folder “Partner” of the “Docs” document library on the “Intranet” site to the local computer with the path “C:SPBackup”. As a result, the file is copied to the “C:SPBackup” folder.

Backup of Site Collections via Central Administration

# 1 Under Central Administration, in the Backup and Restore section, click Perform a site collection backup.

backup and restore sharepoint sites - central administration

#2 Select the site collection you wish to backup. Enter the local path of the backup file and Click Start Backup.
backup and restore sharepoint sites - central administration

Note: You can view the general status of all backup jobs at the top of the Granular Backup Job Status page in the Readiness section. You can view the status for the current backup job in the lower part of the page in the Site Collection Backup section. If you receive any errors, you can review them in the Failure Message column of the Granular Backup Job Status page.

Disadvantages of SharePoint File Backup using Native Options

  • No auto-backup of New Sites: Users keep creating new sites, document libraries, and folders, and the onus is on you to update your backup.
  • No Failure Alerts: You will not be notified about the script failure to be able to fix a potential issue.
  • May require PowerShell or another tool to ensure the versioning settings are correct on all lists. Recycle bin only can back up sites, lists and items. It cannot backup or restore anything else such as a web application, entire site collection, service applications, SharePoint root files.
  • Only those who have certain roles can run the backups. For example, for PowerShell backup, they need to have securityadmin fixed server role on the SQL Server instance, db_owner fixed database role on all databases that are to be updated, apart from being part of the Administrators group on the server running the PowerShell cmdlets.

Native Recovery Options for SharePoint Sites

Consider you need to recover a SharePoint site for the ‘CRM Development’ project team and it was located at  The site has been mistakenly deleted, and you now receive a 404 error when you try to access the site. Here are steps to recover SharePoint sites using native options

Step 1: Go to Site Settings

  1. Go to the root site collection of the deleted site. The link in our example is  (without subsite link ‘crm’).
  2. Log in as a user with the site collection admin permissions
  3. In the top navigation panel click Settings and then select Site settings on the dropdown menu