Import a space from Confluence Cloud

As of 16 July 2019, usernames are no longer included in space exports from Confluence Cloud.

Email addresses will be included, regardless of profile visibility settings, if the person performing the export is a Site Admin.

Email matching is available in selected Confluence versions. See below for more information.

The user base of your Confluence Cloud and Confluence Data Center sites are separate. Although the same people may have accounts on both sites, the way information is stored about them is different. For example, in Confluence Cloud usernames have been replaced by email addresses, and they have an additional ID (a random string of characters) that acts as a unique identifier. 

When you restore a space into Confluence we attempt to attribute content based on username. If the two usernames match, we will attribute content to the user. 

In spaces exported from Cloud, where there is no username, we will attempt to match users by their email addresses. To reduce the risk of making restricted pages visible to the wrong person, restored content will be attributed to 'unknown user' if:

  • the email address is used by multiple user accounts (with different usernames), or
  • the user account doesn't have an email address (for example if it is marked private, and the space was exported by someone who is not a Site Admin, the email address would not be included in the export).

Email matching is available in the following Confluence Data Center and Server versions:

  • 6.6.14 and any later 6.6 Long Term Support release version
  • 6.13.5 and any later 6.13 Long Term Support release version
  • 6.15.4 and later

In all other versions, the content will be attributed to an 'unknown user' if we're unable to match by username.

Restore (import) a space from Confluence Cloud

To restore a small space from Confluence Cloud:

  1. In Confluence Cloud, export the space to XML
  2. In Confluence Data Center, go to Administration  > General ConfigurationBackup and restore.
  3. Select Restore site or spaces
  4. Under What do you want to restore?, select Spaces
  5. Under Restore from, select Local drive
  6. Under Select file, select Choose file and browse for your export file.
  7. Select Upload and restore
  8. You will see a confirmation message
  9. Select Upload and restore once more

To import a large space, the steps are the same, however we recommend dropping the export file into your home directory, rather than uploading it via your browser. See Restore a Space or multiple Spaces for more details. 

You may need to restore some permissions to the space if any users or groups aren't present if your destination site. 

About unknown users

Any cloud user accounts found in the space export, that are not reconciled with an existing Data Center user, will appear in the Unsynced from directory list. They may be listed by email address, or by ID (depending on whether the Cloud user has chosen to keep their email address private). 

Permissions and restrictions are respected, so if a space or page is restricted to just one of these users, it will not be visible to other people. An administrator will need to restore permissions after the import is complete. 

Restore permissions and restrictions

If the content you import is not attributed to existing users, there will be some work to do to restore the correct permissions to the right people. People may not be able to see the space until you do this. 

Restore space admin permissions

The first step is to make sure the space has at least one space administrator. To do this:

  1. Go to Administration  > General Configuration > Space Permissions
  2. Choose Recover Permissions beside the newly imported space
  3. Choose Manage Permissions.  This will take you to the Permissions page in that space
  4. Grant a user or group Space Admin permission for the space and save your changes

If you're a member of the confluence-administrators super group, you can skip steps 2 and 3, and navigate directly to the space. 

Restore space permissions

Now that the space has at least one space admin, they can restore any other permissions. 

  1. Go to the space and choose Space tools > Permissions from the bottom of the sidebar
  2. Grant each user the desired permissions. It can be useful to have the space permissions screen in Confluence Cloud open while you do this. 

As long as any groups are named the same in Confluence Cloud and Confluence Data Center, you shouldn't need to make any changes to groups. If your groups aren't named the same, you can add any relevant groups at this point. 

Restore page restrictions

Pages with view restrictions applied in Confluence Cloud may be associated with unknown users in Confluence Data Center. This means the pages won't be visible.

Space admins can remove individual page restrictions 

  1. Go to the space and choose Space tools > Permissions from the bottom of the sidebar
  2. Go to the Restricted Pages tab. Any pages with view or edit restrictions will be listed. 
  3. Click the padlock icon beside the page to remove one of the View restrictions
  4. If the page is still restricted, use your browser back button and click the padlock beside another View restriction. Repeat this process until enough restrictions have been removed that you can see the page (you'll land on Page Information). 
  5. Choose 
    More options
     > Restrictions.  
  6. You can now reinstate the view and edit restrictions. It can be useful to have the Confluence Cloud page open to refer to. 

Removing restrictions so that you can see the page may mean that the page becomes temporarily visible to others. If this is a concern you can either apply a temporary view restriction to a parent page, or perhaps remove space permissions until you've finished restoring the right view restrictions. 

Understanding the risks

When restoring a space from Confluence Cloud, there's a small risk that content is attributed to the wrong user, which would make any restricted pages visible to the wrong person. This is because the only information we can use to match the user is their email address, which can be changed by the user themselves or by an administrator.

It's essential that email addresses are associated with the correct user accounts. Content may be attributed to the wrong user account if the email address has been changed maliciously, or accidentally, for example if a username and email combination has been reused, so that a former and current employee share the same username and email address. 

We mitigate this risk by only associating content to user accounts that have a unique email address. We don't match accounts with no email address, or where the same email address has been used for multiple user accounts with different usernames, even if they exist in different user directories. 

However, if the space you are importing is sensitive, you may want to manually check whether there have been any changes to email addresses recently, before importing a space from Confluence Cloud.

Last modified on Dec 7, 2023

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