Back up site definitions before updating Dreamweaver

by James Cook on August 13, 2011

In spite of a few reports of serious bugs in Dreamweaver CS5.5, it has, for the most part, proven to be a solid and stable release. But that doesn't mean you should take the upgrade process lightly.

For instance, I recently came across a report of site definitions being lost when some Mac Users upgraded Dreamweaver to version CS5 (see While I haven't heard of the issue occurring with the CS5.5 update or on Windows systems, it still serves as a reminder of a simple step that you can take to protect your site definitions before you upgrade: back them up. Here's how it's done.

Back up all your site definitions

  1. Select the Site>Manage Sites… menu option.
  2. In the Manage Sites dialog select all of your sites. You can do this by Command/Control+clicking on each site name or by selecting the first site in the list and Shift+clicking on the last site in the list.
  3. With all the sites selected, click the Export… button.
  4. In the Export Site dialog you will be prompted to save the site definition file (a .ste file) for your first site. The settings you choose will be used for saving all your site definitions. Each site definition will be saved individually, so I recommend saving the definitions into a folder you create specifically for them.
  5. Navigate to the folder where you want to save your definitions and click Save.
  6. You will be prompted to choose on of the following options:
    1. Back up my settings…
    2. Share settings with other users…
  7. Since, the first option saves all of your site information, this is the option you want in order to be able to restore your site definitions later. Select it and click OK.
  8. Back in the Manage Sites dialog, click OK. The site definitions for all of your sites will be saved into the selected folder.

To restore  a site definition from the backup .ste file, Choose the Site>Manage Sites… menu option and in the Manage Sites dialog click the Import… button and locate and open the backup file for the site you wish to restore.

Once you've backed up all your existing sites, I recommend you back up new sites as you create them and existing sites if, and when, you edit the site definition. And be sure to keep a copy of your backups in a safe location.

Backing up only takes a few minutes but, when the unexpected happens, it can save you hours of frustration.

If you found this article useful you might also want to check out Recovering Lost Site Definitions (Mac) and Recovering Dreamweaver Site Definitions on Windows

Randy Edmunds August 13, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Backing up your Site definitions is always a good idea. Don’t wait until it’s time to upgrade!

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