How do I backup my forums?

The recommended method is listed below; this is not the only method but it's what tends to go the fastest (especially with larger forums). We only recommend using the built in "backup database" tool as a last resort as it'll take forever to run on even a moderately small forum.

Please Note: MySQL File Creation times, Compression Times, Extraction Times, and Download Times will vary based on Server Resources, Database and Archive size, and Internet Connection Speed.

MySQL Backup in Unix or Linux
If you're on a Linux/Unix machine, you can use the Command Line tools via SSH to create a database dump (backup of the mysql database) by inserting the command:
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mysqldump -uusername -ppassword databasename > databasename.sql


If you wish to compress the above output so that it's easier to transfer around, then you can do:
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tar -cvpzf databasename.tgz databasename.sql


If you've compressed the output and would like to decompress it, then you can run:
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tar -xzvf databasename.tgz

(the output will extract as databasename/databasename.sql)

And to restore said backup, after you purge data out of the MySQL database:
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mysql -h localhost -uusername -ppassword databasename < databasename.sql


File Backup in Linux or Unix
You can easily backup your entire UBB.Threads directory (with or without the cache) with a quick one liner:

Without the Cache:
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tar -cvpzf forum_backup.tgz /path/to/your/forum --exclude-from=/path/to/your/forum/cache


With the Cache:
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tar -cvpzf forum_backup.tgz /path/to/your/forum


Extracting the Backup:
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tar -xzvf forum_backup.tgz


PHPMyAdmin Notice
I myself don't recommend that you create your database backup from within PHPMyAdmin (or any other web script) as it can take much longer than the aforementioned methods as you're hopping through the webserver to do something that it doesn't really need to be doing.

Another issue with using PHP scripts to create a database dump is that you could end up hitting the "PHP Maximum Execution Time" limit which is usually about 60 seconds... If this is the case, the archive you're presented with will generally not be complete and you'll end up with missing records. This is generally not a problem with databases under 100mb or so; but is still something one would have to worry about.
Posted on July 14th, 2007

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