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SSH WordPress Backup

Copyright 2015-2016 Caleb Evans
Released under the MIT license

Build Status Coverage Status

SSH WordPress Backup is a command line utility for creating and restoring local backups of a remote WordPress database via SSH.

Getting Started


This utility assumes that you have (or have access to) the following:

  • A Linux server with support for SSH
  • SSH access to said server
  • A WordPress installation on said server
  • The mysql and mysqldump utilities installed on said server
  • Python 3 installed on both the local and remote systems

Configuring SSH

If you have not yet configured SSH key-based authentication on your server, please follow the steps outlined in this article.

Configuration files

This command line utility requires a single argument: the path to a specially-formatted configuration file. This configuration file must have the .ini extension and must contain the following properties (except those properties marked as optional):


  • wordpress: the absolute path to the directory for the remote WordPress site
    • e.g. ~/public_html/mysite
  • remote_backup: the absolute path to the database backup file to be created
    • the path may include date format sequences such as %Y
    • the utility will automatically create intermediate directories apart of the path if they do not exist
    • e.g. ~/backups/mysitedb-%Y-%m-%d.sql.gz
  • local_backup: the absolute path to the local backup file to be created
    • the path may also include date format sequences
    • like remote_backup, the utility will also create intermediate directories if they do not exist
    • e.g. ~/Documents/Backups/%Y-%m-%d/mysitedb-%H-%M-%S.sql.gz


  • user: the name of the user under which to log in
  • hostname: the hostname or IP address used to connect.
  • port: the port number used to connect


  • compressor: the shell command used for compressing the database backup on the server
    • if you specify this option, you must ensure that the file extensions for paths.remote_backup and paths.local_backup match that of the chosen compressor
    • e.g. gzip, bzip2, gzip --best, bzip -v
  • decompressor: the shell command used for decompressing the backup when restoring from backup
    • if this option is present, the compressor option must also be present (and vice-versa)
    • e.g. gzip -d, bzip2 -d
  • max_local_backups: optional; the maximum number of local backups to keep
    • as new local backups are created, old backups are purged to keep within the limit
    • this option only applies if you use date format sequences in paths.local_backup (the only case in which multiple backups for the same site would exist)
    • if option is omitted, all local backups are kept

Please see the included example.ini file for an example configuration.

Adding a command alias

To make the utility easily accessible from the command line, you will need to symlink the utility's driver script to /usr/local/bin. Doing so will allow you to run the utility via the ssh-wp-backup command.

Assuming the CWD is the local project directory:

ln -sf "$PWD"/swb/ /usr/local/bin/ssh-wp-backup

Running the utility

Backing up

Once you have crafted one or more configuration files to your liking, you can run the utility by invoking the command ssh-wp-backup and providing the path to a configuration file. The utility will then back up the WordPress database according to the parameters set in the configuration file.

ssh-wp-backup ../mysite-config.ini

The utility will display the download progress when copying the file from the remote server to your local machine.

Restoring from backup

To restore a WordPress database to a local backup, specify the --restore or -r option, along with the path to a compressed local backup.

ssh-wp-backup ../mysite-config.ini -r ../mysite-backup.sql.gz

Bypassing confirmation prompt

By default, the utility prompts you for confirmation before restoring from backup. However, you may bypass this prompt by providing the --force or -f option.

ssh-wp-backup ../mysite-config.ini -rf ../mysite-backup.sql.gz

Silencing output

To silence output from the utility (both stdout and stderr), use the --quiet or -q option:

ssh-wp-backup -q ../mysite-config.ini


If you'd like to submit a bug report or feature request, please submit an issue on GitHub.


A utility for creating local backups of a remote WordPress database via SSH




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