In SharePoint 2010, backing up a site or saving as a template is extremely easy, using the Save Site as Template feature in Site Settings.

The way you do this is, first, go to the site you want to the site you want to back up or save as a template. Then, go to Site Actions/Site Settings. Under the Site Actions heading, you will see a link for ‘Save site as template’. This is what you will be using for either function you need.

Click on that link (‘Save site as template’). The next screen will prompt you for a filename and a Template Name. Whatever you put in the FileName textbox is what you will see when creating a new site with that template. The key thing here is whether or not to include content or not. If you want to backup the site and use it in another site, or maybe remove your existing SP 2010 installation and start over, using this site, you will definitely make sure you check the ‘Include Content’ checkbox. If you are truly using it as a template only, do not check the box.

When you click on the ‘OK’ button here, it will convert the site into a template and put it in the Galleries section of your SharePoint installation, so you are not through yet. You will see a link for the ‘solution gallery’ or ‘template gallery’. Be sure to click on this link. It will take you to the Solution Gallery in your SharePoint Installation, where you will see your newly created template. The last step is to click on the new template link, which will allow you to download the site template locally. Save it on your own, local computer. This way, you can upload it whenever you’d like to the same or a new installation. If you don’t click on the solution gallery link, you can always go back to your root site, Site Actions/Site Settings and, under the ‘Galleries’ section, you can click on ‘Solutions’.

Go to the same place when you want to upload a new template you have saved previously. Just click on the Solutions Tab in the Ribbon, and you will see an Upload Solution button. When you click on this button, you will be able to browse for any locally saved template solutions (.wsp files) on your computer and then upload them to your Root site.

Lastly, when you create a new site, under the ‘Blank and Custom’ category, you will see the templates you have available after saving or uploading. And there you go – it’s a much easier task than expected!