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Lightweight MySQL backup script in BASH
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Add DATE_FORMAT option to enable date formatting in filename
Latest commit 73b8693 Oct 10, 2019


Lightweight MySQL backup script to backup all your MySQL databases every night.

In a matter of minutes you can setup nightly backups of your MySQL databases on any Linux server with mysqldump and standard GNU utilities.


  1. Download the package
  2. Run the installer via sudo - sudo ./install
  3. Configure database and backup parameters (see Configuration below)
  4. Setup a CRON job (see CRON below)


Database Settings

These are configured in /etc/mysqlbkup.cnf. Editing this file is similar to /etc/my.cnf.

There are sensible defaults for mysqldump parameters, but you may adjust them to your needs.

Backup Settings

These are configured in /etc/mysqlbkup.config

$BACKUP_DIR - The directory where backups are written

$MAX_BACKUPS - Number of backups per database (default 3)

Compression Settings

These are configured in /etc/mysqlbkup.config

$BKUP_BIN - The binary used to compress mysqldump files

$BKUP_EXT - The extension used for compressed backup files

The default compression program is gzip and the default extension is .gz. You may change these to any program and extension you wish, in which case take note the various examples below will have different extensions accordingly.

Database filter Setting

These are configured in /etc/mysqlbkup.config

$DB_EXCLUDE_FILTER - Filter to exclude databases from the backup (see Excluding databases from backup below)


The cron is simple, just schedule it once per day.

Here we redirect STDOUT to a log file and STDERR to a separate log file.

## mysql backups --------------------------------------
1 2 * * * /usr/local/bin/ 1>> /var/log/mysqlbkup.log 2>>/var/log/mysqlbkup-err.log

What it does

The script will create directories beneath $BACKUP_DIR, named after the database. Beneath there, gzip files are created for each day the database is backed up. There will be at most $MAX_BACKUPS backup files for each database.

2013-02-10-my_db.sql.gz  2013-02-11-my_db.sql.gz  2013-02-12-my_db.sql.gz

Retrieving a backup

Just drill down into the directory of the database you desire to restore (or copy to another location). Take the prior example for instance. Suppose you wish to unpack it in your home directory and view the contents of the database. You simply copy and gunzip the file.

# Copy the database backup to your home directory
cp /var/db-backups/my_db/2013-02-12-my_db.sql.gz ~
# Unpack the database
gunzip ~/2013-02-12-my_db.sql.gz

At this point ~/2013-02-12-my_db.sql is available as a normal plain text SQL file.

Restoring a backup

Restore an unzipped SQL file:

mysql -h [host] -u [uname] -p[pass] [dbname] < [backupfile.sql]

Restore a zipped SQL file:

gunzip < [backupfile.sql.gz] | mysql -h [host] -u [uname] -p[pass] [dbname]

Excluding databases from backup

The filter string is space-separated list of entries that indicate databases to exclude. You may do an exact match such as


By default excluding filter entries use BASH pattern matching. So you might test for a prefix in the database name with a filter like this


If BASH pattern matching isn't good enough for some reason, you may alternatively use POSIX regular expressions by prefixing your entry with a tilde. For example


Again, these are space-separated entries and you can mix and match, so to include all 3 of the examples in one filter

DB_EXCLUDE_FILTER='my_db wp_* ~.*_test'


mysql & mysqldump as well as GNU versions of the following programs date, gzip, head, hostname, ls, rm, tr, wc

If you override gzip using the $BKUP_BIN option, the binary you choose must be installed and will be checked during script execution.

Dry Run

To test the script's configuration you may invoke it passing 'dry' as the first argument. dry
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