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22 January 2009
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Properly Backing Up Your vBulletin Database

This is our first article in a series that will outline how to properly backup your entire site and use it to setup a test environment on your current hosting account.

When you install vBulletin, one of its core components is the MySQL database. This database holds all the information for your entire site including settings, templates, users, posts and statistical information to name the least.  If the database would ever become corrupt to an unrecoverable point, or should your hosting company have a data-loss issue, or a hacker wipes out your database this information is all unrecoverable unless you have a reliable backup method in place.

Making database backups is the most essential in this process. File backups can be taken less frequently since files hardly change. vBulletin using php scripting technology that makes your site dynamic, and to call information from the database and serve it to the end user, making the need for many files or changes to those files largely unneeded. We’re going to cover the basics of the MySQL database first, followed up with file system backups.

Tools you’ll need

  • PuTTy (a free windows SSH client)
  • FTP Program of your choice

The only 100% reliable method of backing up your database is via the SSH interface also known as the command line. By issuing 1 simple command you can have your database backed up and ready to go to your home computer for a secure off site backup. This method assumes you are on cPanel hosting, and SSH is available to you.

  1. Login to your server via the PuTTy client (SSH) if available. If you do not have SSH available contact your hosting company or skip to the PhpMyAdmin Section.
  2. You’ll need to login as the the account user, or under the “root/super user” account.
  3. Once there create a new directory to store backups. Run the following command: mkdir backups (I strongly suggest this is not stored in the public_html folder any where!)
  4. Navigate into your new backup folder with: cd backups
  5. Next is the fun part of backing up your database You’ll need to know your database username and password or have the root account information. The following command is what you want to use: mysqldump -u account_dbusername -p database_name.sql | gzip -9 database_backup.sql.gz

Your database is now backed up, in a compressed format for storage efficency. But you aren’t done yet, the key to taking backups is to move them off-site (off the hosting company server). You’ll need to login to your hosting account via FTP and navigate to the backups folder you created. Download the database_backup.sql.gz file

Some links maybe of interest for you:

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