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How to restore UniFi Controller

Published onApril 30, 2024

Restoring your UniFi Controller from a backup is a crucial skill for network admins. There will be a point in time where you encounter a system failure, configuration error, or hardware upgrade. Then it will be handy if you know your way around with restoring UniFi Controllers.

UniFi includes backup and restore functionalities that can help you quickly recover your network settings and minimize downtime. In this post I'll guide you through the process of restoring your UniFi Controller. Lets make sure your network operations are back online swiftly and efficiently if disaster strikes.

Let's dive in!

Table of Contents

Restoring UniFi Controller

Regular backups protect against data loss in the event of hardware failure, software issues, or faulty configuration changes. The UniFi Controller’s automatic backup feature can be configured to save snapshots of your system settings at regular intervals.

Before initiating a restore, tick the following boxes:

  • Backup file availability: Confirm that you have access to a recent backup file, typically with a .unf extension, that you intend to restore.
  • Software version compatibility: The UniFi Controller version you are restoring should match the version used to create the backup. Version differences might lead to issues or loss of data (not always the case).
  • HardwarepPreparedness: If restoring to a new installation or after a hardware failure, make sure the hardware is properly set up and that the UniFi Controller software is installed.

Step 1: Access the UniFi Controller

Log into the UniFi Controller software. You’ll need to go through the initial setup steps to install the UniFi Controller interface if you’re setting up a new device or server.

Step 2: Navigate to the settings

  1. Open the UniFi Controller: Launch the web interface by going to your Controller’s IP address or hostname.
  2. Access settings: Look for the settings (gear) icon in the bottom left of the sidebar.

Step 3: Locate the backup section

In the settings menu, find and click on ‘Backups’. This section manages both backup creation and restoration.

Step 4: Restore from backup

  1. Select 'Restore Backup': You will see an option to restore from a previous backup.
  2. Upload your backup file: Click on the restore option, which will ask you to upload the .unf backup file from your local storage.
  3. Initiate the restoration process: After selecting the right backup file, proceed to restore it. The process will probably take several minutes (depending on the size of the backup).

Step 5: Verify the restoration

After the restoration process completes:

  1. Review configurations: Check all your network settings, site configurations, and managed devices to make sure they reflect the state saved in the backup.
  2. Test network functionality: All aspects of the network should be functioning as expected (like connectivity, device management, and other configurations).

Troubleshooting issues

  • Version mismatch: If an issues occurs, consider upgrading or downgrading the Controller software to match the backup version.
  • Incomplete restorations: Make sure that the backup file was not corrupted. Try restoring from another backup file if problems persist.
  • Device Re-Adoption: Sometimes, devices might need to be re-adopted into the Controller after a restoration. If devices show as disconnected, try adopting them again into the network.

Final thoughts

If you follow the steps above you can protect your network against unexpected failures. Restoring your UniFi Controller from a backup prevents data loss or downtime, making it a valuable skill/tool for network admins.

For larger networks or critical infrastructure, consider a managed hosting service like UniHosted. We provide managed UniFi Controllers to improve your network efficiency. Especially, if you are an MSP or IT-service business looking for reliable, secure and scalable UniFi network deployments, this is something for you.

Feel free to give us a spin! Additionally, I'm happy to walk you through personally. You can schedule a call with me (Founder of UniHosted) here.

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