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How to Backup MySQL Databases with WordPress

Your WordPress blog serves as an important point of public contact, and it relies on a MySQL database backup to keep all of your articles, links, options and reader comments in order. Backing up your database is a good way to protect yourself against server crashes and data loss.

Using Prebuilt Tools
While you can always write your own MySQL commands from a Linux terminal or other command-line environment, the easiest way to do your backups is to use a prebuilt tool. WordPress recommends either working with cPanel or phpMyAdmin. Both of these allow you to use a GUI-based, point-and-click approach. Other valid tools include MySQL Workbench or MySQL Administrator.

Making the Backup
After logging into your control panel, find the tab that reads "Databases" or similar; you should now see a list of the named databases on your server. Pick the name that corresponds to the database you set up when you first started your WordPress blog.

Now you should see a screen displaying the different tables inside your WordPress database. By clicking the "Export" button or tab, you can select which tables to back up. As long as you did not change your settings, the WordPress tables will almost always begin with the "wp_" prefix. You can also choose from a list of file formats compatible with programs like Open Office and Microsoft Office, but if you just want to make a backup for later restoration simply choose SQL.

You should also see sections titled "Structure" and "Data". Click all of the values under Structure and the box that says Data. Then click "Save As File" and the appropriate options. Once everything looks satisfactory, click the "Go" or "Backup Now" button to create your backup and enter a location to save the file. If your host uses cPanel, you should see an icon called Backup Wizard, which will also allow you to backup your databases individually.

Some hosts, such as BlackSun.ca, offer a backup service where their staff will make a copy of all your website files, including the databases, and mail it to you on a customized and fun USB.

In conclusion, no matter what method is used, it is very important to retain a copy of your databases. Speak with your service provider or web designer to find out more information on the location of your files and the login information you will require to make a copy of them. Your databases contain all of your site content but will only take a few minutes to download but can save you time and money if you run into a situation where your site gets hacked or the data is lost.