Create timestamped database backups

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  • Applies to: Grid
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Time: 10 minutes
    • Tools needed:¬†SSH, Basic Command-Line Knowledge, VI or VIM


This article will walk you through how to create timestamped database back-up of your website on the Grid.

This article is provided as a courtesy. Installing, configuring, and troubleshooting third-party applications is outside the scope of support provided by (mt) Media Temple. Please take a moment to review the Statement of Support.


  1. Decide which database you want to back-up. I want to back-up a WordPress database called "dbXXXXX_dbname", for the website "".
  2. Log into SSH and enter your domain's document root.

    cd domains/
  3. Use VI or VIM to create a new file named '':

  4. Add the following information into the file, replacing the placeholders with your Grid & database username / password / name, and then save:

    cd ~/domains/
    mysqldump -h --add-drop-table -uXXXXX -pXXXXX dbXXXXX_dbname > database-backup-`date '+%Y.%m.%d'`.sql
  5. Run a command which will make the file executable by you, the owner:

    chmod 744
  6. Just to make sure it works, test it out:

  • If you entered the mysqldump command correctly, you should not see any error messages on the screen. To show that the command ran, when you perform a list directory command (ls), you should see a file called "", or whatever is the corresponding date. So now that we have a working script, it's time to make a regularly occurring job out of it.
  • From inside the AccountCenter, choose the 'Admin' button and then click 'Cron Jobs'.
  • Click the 'Add new cron job' button.
  • Fill out the notification email field. This is important, so you are notified if the cron job fails.
  • Fill out the "Command or script to execute" field with the full path to your backup. In this example, it will be:

  • Choose what time you want the cron job to run. Since this will be a daily backup, you might want to specify 12:00am daily. Or perhaps you would rather back things up at 6:00pm, or at 8:45am; it is up to you.
  • Once you are satisfied, press the save button.
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