Tag Archives: linux

Making site backup on Linux

Last week i had to make backup’s of some websites through the Linux shell. I usually don’t have to make server administration and i don’t remember all the linux commands that I needed to do the job, then i decided to make this post for future task guide.

When I say backup a site, i mean backup all files, even the ones that were uploaded or changed by the users, and the database.

My projects are under a version control using subversion, but there are some files that are uploaded or changed by site users and aren’t under version control. So, i need to start by cleaning the site folders removing the folder ‘.svn’ from the folders that are under version control.

First of all, i have to know how to remove a folder and all its contents. To do this i can use the “rm” command:

rm -Rf <folder name>

This command remove the folder and all its contents without asking. To achieve this behavior i set “-R” to remove recursively and “-f” to force the action and to don’t ask anything.

After know how to remove a folder, i need to find the folders to remove, this is all the “.svn”. To do this, i use the find command:

find . -follow -name “.svn” -exec rm -Rf {} \;

With the line above i search the current folder “.” and its subfolders for the folder by its name “-name ‘.svn’”, then i want to remove it ‘-exec rm -Rf {} \;’.

The “-name” is a test option for find that allow us search by the files or folders name with a pattern. This way we can search using something like “-name ‘*.jpg’“. There are several other test options that can search for files by its size, its modification date, by its permission configuration, and other. When using pattern matching it can be used with the following special chars:
*                  Matches 0 or more characters.
?                  Matches 1 character.
[AaBbCc]      Example: matches any 1 char from the list.
[^RGB]          Example: matches any 1 char not in the list.
[a-g]            Example: matches any 1 char from this range.

The “-exec” is an action option that allow the execution of other commands during the search. The command ends when the character ‘;’ is found. The “{}” means he file name that mach the condition defined by the options. The chars might have to be escaped with ‘\’ to protect them from expansion by the shell.

The find command is very complex and have many options. If you want more information check the link below.

Now i have my site folder cleaned and ready to backup. Its time to compress it and turn it in one file. To do this i ZIP the whole folder, e.q. to all its content, files and subfolders:

zip -9 -r <zip file> <folder name>

The option “-9” is used to compress more and the “-r” to do it recursively.

To finish the job i make a backup of the database (see the post Import and export a database in MySQL using Linux shell). If the export file isn’t in the sites folder it can be moved there and zipped with the other files.

mv <file path> <destination path>

Remember that the <destination path> includes the file name, even if it will be the same.

Useful links:

Import and export MySQL database using Linux shell

Usually i use phpMyAdmin to configure, change and import/export my databases. However, recently, one of my databases went so big that it i have some problems to export or import it. The solutions is doing it with the Linux shell.

Linux shell can be very painful but can be the solution either. Using it to import or export MySQL databases can be a better and easier way. With shell we can backup all our databases and download only one file, or we can set up a cron job that do backup according to a defined schedule. Another major advantage is the possibility of import large SQL dump files (the phpMyAdmin has a limit).

In this post i’ll explain out to import or export MySQL databases using mysql and mysqldump respectively.

Import MySQL database

Like i said, using the shell we can import larger files, making easier to restore a database or import it from another MySQL server (easy server migration).

First we have to put the file on the server where it will be accessed. This can be done throw FTP or other method.

When the file is in server, run the following command (replace the italic words by your values):

mysql -u username -ppassword database_name < file_name.sql


mysql -u username -p database_name < file_name.sql

In both ways we define the user, the database and the file that has the data. In the second command, instead of define the password in the command, the password will be prompt later.

Export MySQL database

To export a MySQL database is almost the same. This command can be very helpful for schedule database backups. Use the following command (replace the italic words by your values):

mysqldump -u username -ppassword database_name > file_name.sql

The result of this execution is a file_name.sql file that holds your database information. This backup can them be compressed to be smaller, downloaded or stored somewhere else.