Restoring a Space

This page tells you how to import the contents of a Confluence space into another Confluence site, via an XML backup file.

You can export the content of a space, including pages, comments and attachments. The process involves converting the data in the space into XML format. The end product is a zip file that contains XML file(s) and optionally, all the attachments in the space. To transfer this data to another Confluence site, restore this zip file as described below.

You need to have System Administrator permissions in order to restore a space from an XML zip file.

Before you start

Before you start, please check the following important notes.

Note 1: You cannot restore to a previous version

Let's assume you are importing a space from site A to site B. In this case, site B must be running the same version of Confluence as site A, or a later version than site A. The space import is not backwards compatible.

Note 2: You cannot restore to a different major Confluence version

Confluence only supports compatibility for space import and export when executed within the same major version of Confluence. (This issue is logged as CONF-26111.)

Clarifying our terminology: By major version, we mean the version defined in the first two sections of the release number. For example, Confluence 2.2 and Confluence 2.3 are different major versions. Confluence 2.2.1 and Confluence 2.2.6 are the same major version.

Restoration data must share the same major version number. This means that a space export created in one major version of Confluence cannot be imported into a different major version of Confluence. For example, if you create a space export in Confluence 2.3.5, it cannot be imported into a Confluence 2.4.1 site. It can be however imported into 2.3.7. Similarly, a space export created in 5.0 can not be imported into 5.1.2. However, it can be restored into a Confluence 5.0.2 site.

If you need to import a space from a different major version, see the workaround described below.

On this page:

Related pages:

(warning) The information on this page does not apply to Confluence Cloud.


If you try to restore a space from a different major version of Confluence, you will see an error message similar to the one below and the import action will stop.

Screenshot: Clash of major versions on space restore

Note 3: Make sure the space does not already exist

Confluence will only allow you to restore a space if there is not already a space with that key on the site. If you already have a space with the same key, you will need to delete or rename the existing space before restoring the new one.

Restoring a space from an XML backup

You can restore data from an XML backup file located somewhere on your local computer or a shared drive, or you can copy the XML file into the Confluence installation and restore it from there. The second option is recommended for large backup files. Both options are described below.

To restore data from an XML backup located outside Confluence:

  1. Choose the cog icon , then choose General Configuration under Confluence Administration.
  2. Choose Backup and Restore in the left-hand panel.
  3. Choose Choose File and browse for the backup file.
  4. Uncheck Build Index if you want to create the index at a later stage.
  5. Choose Upload and Restore.

To restore data from an XML backup located in your Confluence installation:

  1. Copy your XML backup zip file into the restore directory in your Confluence home directory. For example:
    • On UNIX: /opt/java/src/confluence/deployments/conf.atlassian.com/home/restore
    • On Windows: C:\Program Files\Atlassian\Application Data\Confluence x.x\restore
  2. Choose the cog icon , then choose General Configuration under Confluence Administration.
  3. Choose Backup and Restore in the left-hand panel.
  4. The zip file that you copied in step 1 will appear in the list of files under the heading Restore a backup from the Confluence Home Directory on your Confluence Administration Console. Select the zip file.
  5. Uncheck Build Index if you want to create the index at a later stage.
  6. Choose Restore.

Workaround for restoring spaces between major releases

If you need to import a space from an earlier major version, you can use a temporary Confluence installation to upgrade the space export to the right version number:

  1. Download the same version of Confluence as the version you exported the space from. You can get older versions of Confluence at the Confluence Downloads Archive.
  2. Install that version of Confluence on a temporary server.
  3. Import the space into this temporary Confluence site.
  4. Upgrade Confluence on your temporary site to same version as the site where you want to import the space. See Upgrading Confluence.
  5. Export the space from your temporary Confluence site. It will now have the correct version number.
  6. Import the space into your production Confluence site.

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