Review: Akeeba Solo

Akeeba Solo's dashboard (in Dutch). A familiar sight for Joomla Fans.
Akeeba Solo’s dashboard (in Dutch). A familiar sight for Joomla Fans.

The great part about being allowed to test something in advance? Being able to work with cool things like Akeeba Solo. The downside? Not being able to tell people about Akeeba Solo until it’s launched. But now that the news is official, it’s time for our hands-on review.

I know it’s April 1st, the date on which everything is harder to believe. An Akeeba app that back-ups almost anything built in PHP? I was sceptical at first, and it wasn’t even April when I tried the Alpha of Akeeba Solo. And yet there it was. The mail telling me of its existance. A follow-up e-mail with the actual code.

Back-up anything PHP

Akeeba Solo is a stand-alone application, built to back-up PHP applications. It uses the magic of the Joomla component, but can now be injected everywhere you might need to deploy it.

Installation

Installing Akeeba Solo is reasonably simple. If you have ever installed any CMS, you’ll have no problem with this step. To get started you create a folder on your site or server and simply start transferring the files.

Once you are done, fire up your browser and navigate to the folder. The setup wizard of Akeeba Solo will be greeting you. If you’re coming from a Joomla background you might need some adjusting, as the first step is to create the database for Akeeba Solo. It’s used to contain information like your username(s), information about the back-ups and much more, which is why it’s recommended to give Akeeba Solo it’s own database.

When the setup is complete, Akeeba Solo will be working as a stand-alone back-up application, protected with a username and password.

Getting ready to back-up your site.

After installing Akeeba Solo, you configure the first back-up profile by entering some information about your site: which folders do you want to back-up, where do you want to store the files… You are also asked to provide the database settings of the app you want to back-up. If you are running Prestashop, WordPress or PHPBB you can let the app discover the database settings for you – easy!

When your first back-up profile is complete, you can start making back-ups of your site, with a click of a button. Or you can take things to the next level. Akeeba Solo is just as rich / deep as Akeeba Backup for Joomla. Here’s just a few of the features:

  • Back-up management, with the option to instantly restore a back-up (A real lifesaver)
  • Schedule back-ups using the Cronjob functionality
  • Create users to let others make back-ups
  • Back-up other databases, files, … using the same profile or other profiles
  • Back-up to the cloud storage solutions of your choice.

TIP: When you back-up your PHP application, you’ve got th options: including Akeeba Solo and it’s database, or not. We suggest you do the former, as having Akeeba Solo around can never hurt, in any situation.

Summoning your site from the dead was never easier

Another neat feature of Akeeba Solo is that it makes restoring your site really simple. For starters, there is the built-in Back-up management option. Messed up an application or site? Then restore it from within Akeeba Solo. It’s really easy / simple to do.

But you don’t always want to restore a back-up to the same location. Akeeba Solo always makes it easy to transfer your website(s). That is especially true for WordPress, PHPBB and Prestashop. Upon creating a back-up Akeeba Solo will install a special installer script that’ll make moving these CMS’es a breeze, as it handles the hard part (changing URL’s in database / config files) for you. And it does so with grace. We moved a WordPress installation between six or seven installations and the site didn’t flinch once. (Yes, Joomla fans, that is really an achievement).

If a CMS isn’t supported, you will still need to do some work. But thanks to Akeeba Solo, creating a back-up of your site has become a lot easier and user friendly.

Akeeba Solo doesn’t have to be used for just back-ups. You can use it to transfer sites, create local working copies, clone sites… We are already working on a WordPress “distro” which we clone everywhere to save time!

Flexibility

If I had to choose between Akeeba Solo and the other back-up solutions of Akeeba I would choose Akeeba Solo almost 80% of the time. Why? Because it’s flexible and able to handle what you throw at them.

Granted, Akeeba does offer a WordPress / Joomla specific extension which require less configuration. But what Akeeba Solo requires in time (approximately 60 seconds) to setup, it makes up for with what it can back-up. We succesfully back-uped and restored the following with Akeeba Solo:

  • WordPress (local backup, cloning to other locations, …)
  • Joomla (just for laughs. Didn’t try to restore it)
  • WHMCS (backup, restore. No transfer tested as WHMCS’ license doesn’t allow it)
  • Magento (Worked like a charm despite having to backup a 6GB monstrosity with a 400mb database)
  • Prestashop (all the works, including moving Prestashop to another domain)
  • PHPBB

Is this real?

Akeeba Solo is very much real. People with an Akeeba subscription can download the beta’s soon – or you can buy an early-bird subscription at 50% off. Despite waving the BETA flag the application is already very stable.

You can learn more about Akeeba Solo on http://www.akeebabackup.com

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