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Automatic MySQL Database Backups

Posted (Updated ) in Database, Linux

UPDATE: This script has been superseded by my Cloud Database Backup script. It’s advised you use that instead.

If you’re a developer you should back up your data. Go ahead – do it, do it now. Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way here’s a nice automated solution to backing up your MySQL databases and optionally uploading to Amazon S3 for added safety.

The requirements for this tutorial are as follows:

  • Any Linux distribution
  • MySQL (and the mysqldump tool) with valid login credentials
  • PHP 5 with cURL extension (optional)
  • crontab

Our script will mysqldump all our databases into individual SQL files prepended with todays date, zip them, clean up the directory and if requested, upload a copy of the zip file to Amazon S3.

To get started, create a folder db_backup. For this tutorial I’ve placed db_backup in my home folder. In db_backup create a directory named backups and a text file named backup.bin with the following code replacing the DB and S3 variables at the top with your own information

#!/bin/sh
 
DATE=`date +%y-%m-%d`#current date
DIR=`dirname "$0"`/ #current directory
 
#MySQL vars
DB_USER=root
DB_PASS=password
DB_HOST=localhost
 
#Backup directory vars
BACKUP_DIR=${DIR}backups/
 
#S3 vars
S3=0 #Set to 1 to back db up to S3
S3_KEY=Your S3 Key
S3_SEC_KEY=Your S3 Secret Key
S3_BUCKET=db_backups
 
#Get list of dbs
LIST=`mysql -u${DB_USER} -p${DB_PASS} -h${DB_HOST} INFORMATION_SCHEMA -e "SELECT SCHEMA_NAME FROM SCHEMATA WHERE SCHEMA_NAME !='information_schema';"`
 
#Loop through list ignoring result table name
for each in $LIST; do
 if [ "$each" != "SCHEMA_NAME" ]; then
 mysqldump -u${DB_USER} -p${DB_PASS} -h${DB_HOST} --opt --single-transaction $each > ${BACKUP_DIR}${DATE}_${each}.sql
 fi
done
 
#Zip and remove SQL dumps
zip -qj ${BACKUP_DIR}dbBackup_${DATE} ${BACKUP_DIR}${DATE}_*.sql
rm ${BACKUP_DIR}${DATE}_*.sql
 
#Back up to S3
if [ ${S3} != 0 ]; then
 php5 -f "${DIR}S3/backup.php" "${S3_KEY}" "${S3_SEC_KEY}" "${S3_BUCKET}" "${BACKUP_DIR}dbBackup_${DATE}.zip"
fi

Here is S3/backup.php:

<?php
	require dirname(__FILE__).'/s3.php';
 
	$S3_KEY = $argv[1];
	$S3_SEC_KEY = $argv[2];
	$bucket = $argv[3];
	$file = $argv[4]; //file name including path
 
	$s3 = new S3(S3_KEY, S3_SEC_KEY);
	$key = basename($file);
	$contentType ="plain/text";
 
	//Note: the number of metadata items associated with an object is not limited to 7 by S3
	$s3->putObjectFile(
		$file,
		$bucket,
		$key,
		S3::ACL_PRIVATE,
		$metaHeaders = array(),
		$requestHeaders['Content-Disposition'] = "attachment",
		"sbnet-".date("d-m-y", time()).".sql"
	);

We’ll be executing db_backup.bin it’ll need to set as executable. While you’re at it give the script a test run. If you wish to use S3 you’ll also need to add the S3 directory from the tutorial download below.

cd ~/db_backup
chmod +x backup.bin
./backup.bin

As with most Linux tools, no news is good news – if you didn’t receive an error message when running the script, chances are it completed successfully. Open your backups directory (cd backups) and see your new shiny database backup zip file (ls).

Now for the actual ‘automatic’ part of our backups; for this we’ll be using crontab. In your terminal window type crontab -e. Depending on your setup this should open a text editor such as nano. With crontab you can set backups to occur as often as you like, at any time of the day you like. I’ve set mine to run on Fridays at 1AM since this is not likely to be a time when I’m actively using my PC.

# m h  dom mon dow   command
  0 1  *   *   5     /home/your_user_name/db_backup/backup.bin

Save and exit the text editor (For nano this will be ctrl+x, y, enter). Easy!

Download Tutorial Script

  • Scott

    Hi, where’s backup.php? I didnt see code for this.

    BTW, thanks for the help. I got it working in terms of the backup. But couldnt figure how to do the s3 without backup.php

  • Flynsarmy

    Sorry Scott. I’ve added it above. I’ll get the download link working again shortly too.

  • Felipe

    Great tutorial – thanks so much, this was helpful and works perfectly. Just one comment, on line 9 of backup.php, you are missing the $ infront of the S3 variables.

    cheers!

    • Flynsarmy

      Hey Felipe

      Glad you find it useful. You may also be interested in the newer version of the script (as mentioned at the start of this post).