I am performing regular backups of my store, however, when I navigate to /var/backups/, I don't see the backup files. I only see the old backups from a month ago (and earlier) in the backups directory.

When I perform a backup, the backup shows in the admin (System > Tools > Backups). I do not see the older backups that I see in the /var/backups folder.

Did Magento change the location of the storage for these physical backups (perhaps with a new security patch)? Where can I see what the path is? I want to copy it to my network as a plan B.

I am using Magento 1.9.1.


the folder has always been var/backups.
See the method Mage_Backup_Helper_Data::getBackupsDir()

public function getBackupsDir()
    return Mage::getBaseDir('var') . DS . 'backups';

it's there in 1.9 and it has been there since the backup module was introduced.

Make sure the folder is writeable and you have enough disk space.

I was half right in my original answer.
I assumed that Mage::getBaseDir('var') always returns MAGENTO_ROOT/var but that's not always true.
Take a look at the method: Mage_Core_Model_Config_Options::getVarDir() (this is called when determining the var dir).

public function getVarDir()
    //$dir = $this->getDataSetDefault('var_dir', $this->getBaseDir().DS.'var');
    $dir = isset($this->_data['var_dir']) ? $this->_data['var_dir']
        : $this->_data['base_dir'] . DS . self::VAR_DIRECTORY;
    if (!$this->createDirIfNotExists($dir)) {
        $dir = $this->getSysTmpDir().DS.'magento'.DS.'var';
        if (!$this->createDirIfNotExists($dir)) {
            throw new Mage_Core_Exception('Unable to find writable var_dir');
    return $dir;

If the var folder cannot be created magento uses as var dir the system tmp folder and creates magento/var inside it.
So for linux that should be /tmp/magento/var.
Take a look in there, maybe you will find your missing backups.

  • I didn't get a writable error from the admin when performing the backup which I usually get if there's a permission problem. – NotJay Aug 24 '15 at 14:17
  • Also, plenty of disk space. – NotJay Aug 24 '15 at 14:17
  • 1
    Could be a permission issue after all. I viewed the permissions of the folder and it said that Apache is the owner so I am going to have IT fix that form me so I can make sure that the permissions are writable. Weird that there wasn't an error message about that and it takes the normal amount of time to build a backup. Also strange that the backups appear in the admin. Thanks! – NotJay Aug 24 '15 at 14:32
  • @NotJay. Your comment made me dig deeper. See my updated answer. This should clear the fog for "the backups appear in the admin" (I hope). – Marius Aug 24 '15 at 14:38
  • /var/tmp/ is empty. – NotJay Aug 24 '15 at 14:45

It may be that Magento doesn't have write permissions to your var/ directory and uses system temp directory instead.

Look on Mage_Core_Model_Config_Options::getVarDir() method implementation. If Magento uses system tmp directory as fallback, your backups can be created in /tmp/magento/var/backups/ directory.

  • 1
    Ha. Just realized this now myself. :) – Marius Aug 24 '15 at 14:39
  • Yeah, this is first place to look in such case :-) – Wojtek Naruniec Aug 24 '15 at 14:41
  • tmp is empty :-/ – NotJay Aug 24 '15 at 14:47
  • Maybe try to dump Mage::getBaseDir('var') . DS . 'backups' somewhere to check which path it uses. – Wojtek Naruniec Aug 24 '15 at 14:52
  • System temp is the one you find in the root directory => / and therefore /tmp. Welcome to the *nix filesystem where duplication is done on per user, per process, etc. Many var's and tmp's, depends on context. – Fiasco Labs Aug 24 '15 at 16:33

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