Use Joomla Akeeba Backup to create a Test site using an existing site’s files (so upgrades can be tested before applying to live site):

  1. Install Akeeba Backup onto existing site.
  2. Take a backup.
  3. FTP download the resulting Akeeba Backup .jpa file to hard drive (MUST use Binary* Transfer Type). Curretly using Cyberduck to FTP the Akeeba Backup .jpa file.
  4. Create a new database and directory on server for Test site.
  5. Download Akeeba Kickstart to hard drive (a PDF user’s guide is part of the download). Do not try to install it in Joomla!. Instead, unzip it first, then locate the following 2** files and upload them to Test site’s empty directory:
    • en-GB.kickstart.ini
    • kickstart.php
  6. FTP upload the Akeeba Backup .jpa file to Test site’s empty directory. (MUST use Binary Transfer Type). Currently using Cyberduck FTP.
  7. Launch Kickstart by visiting its URL. It usually has the form of http://www.example.com/kickstart.php.
  8. Under the “Select an extraction method” heading, choose “Directly” for Write to Files. Extraction process begins.
  9. Restore files.
  10. Set database credentials.
  11. Frontend keeps downloading the index page. Solution: Delete AddHandler PHP 5.3 line from HTAccess file.
  12. Admin login: 500 Internal Server Error. Solution (at least for my set up): disable the HTAccess and HTPasswd files in administration directory (they’re left over from Admin Tools security setting on previous site).

*MUST use Binary Transfer Type to FTP the .jpa file, otherwise the file gets corrupted. ASCII file transfers will corrupt the backup archive and cause extraction issues.
**Your installation may need more of the available files.