Backup your MySQL database

mysql backup cronjob

I recommend that you set up a backup for any database that you have. This guarantees your production data will be safe and you don’t loose data in case of a desaster. Below, I’ve sketched out easy process of setting up a backup with regular data dumps.

Create the backup

I advice you to always prefix your backups in some meaningfull way, for example you could sufix it with _backup_ followed by the current date and time.

$ mysql -u root -p
mysql> CREATE DATABASE db_name_backup_06_10_2020;
mysql> exit

Load data from old database into new database

$ mysqldump -u root -password=secure_password db_name | mysql -u root -password=my_password db_name_backup_2020_10_06

Automate the backup

If you want to get it to the next step you could also create a shell script to do the job for you. Shell scripts allow you to easily automate tasks in Linux.

Create Shell Script

Open terminal and run the following command to create an empty shell script file.

$ vim /home/

Add shell script to backup MySQL

Add the following code to your shell script file. Replace dbname, dbuser and dbpass with your database name, username and password respectively.


echo "Backup starting..."
sufix="backup_$(date +'%m-%d-%Y')"
sudo mysqldump  -u db_user -p db_pass --no-tablespaces db_name  >/home/${db_backup}
echo "Backup complete!"

First define the execution environment for shell script and echo a message that indicates the backup has started. Then create a sufix variable to store current date backup_06_10_2020. Use this variable to define the backup file name (.sql) for the database backup. Finally, run the MySQL command to backup database, store it in /home folder and echo the message that database backup is complete.

If you want to compress the backup data, you can modify the mysqldump command and basically pipe the output to gzip command to create the gzip file. Also you have to modify the final file name to be a .gz file instead of a .sql file.

sufix="_backup_$(date +'%m-%d-%Y')"
sudo mysqldump  -u db_user -p db_pass --no-tablespaces db_name | gzip -c >/home/${db_backup}

Make the script executable

To make your shell script executable run the following command.

$ sudo chmod +x /home/

Test the script

Execute the shell script using the following command.

$ sudo /home/
Backup starting...
Backup complete!

Schedule it as a cron comand

Now we can add the above command as a cronjob to regularly take database backup.

Open crontab file with the following command.

$ sudo crontab -e

Add the following line to it. It will run your script everyday at 10.a.m. You can change it as per your requirement.

0 2 * * * sudo /home/ >/dev/null 2>&1

Save and close the file by pressing esc + :wq. You can check if you correctly saved the file with the command.

$ sudo crontab -l

In the above code “0 2 * * *” indicates that the cron job should be run every day at 2:00AM.

To avoid file not found or permission denied errors make sure you write the full path to your shell script and that you use sudo to schedule the cronjob.

That’s all, you have learnt how to create a shell script to backup MySQL database. Also you automated the process by creating a cronjob to run the shell script every day. If you run the above shell script everyday as a cronjob, it will create different backup files, one for each day of the month.

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