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Backup Your MySQL Database with phpMyAdmin

One of the most important tasks for a webmaster is to keep a current backup of your database or databases. How the database is used will determine the frequency of your backups. If the database is for a large website or in-house application, you probably will use a program to backup your database automatically. But if you are a small website or the database is low priority, you might just perform the backup manually.

One easy way to manually backup your database is to use the backup feature of a database management application such as the open source, freeware program called phpMyAdmin. The Export feature of this program will create a backup file containing both the structure of your database and the data stored there. The instructions below are for the phpMyAdmin version 2.8.1. (If you are using a different version, the workspace may vary slightly.)

  1. Open the phpMyAdmin program.
  2. Click on the link for the database you wish to backup.
  3. Click on the Export button in the Menubar.

    Next you will see a form with two columns. Letís work on the left column first.

  4. In the Export section, select the tables you wish to include in the backup file. Most of the time, you will want to select them all. This is the default.
  5. Also in this section, choose the format for the backup file. Because this export is for backup purposes, choose the .SQL format. To restore your database, you will import this same .SQL file. If you are exporting this file for a report, you might want to choose one of the reader-friendly formats like PDF.

    Now move to the left column.

  6. Verify that there are checkmarks in the boxes of the Structure and Data sections and use the default settings.
  7. In the Save as file section, type in the actual name of the database and set Compression to None.
  8. Click the Go button to open the dialog box.
  9. Choose Save to Disk and click OK.
  10. In the next dialog box, choose a location to store your backup file on your hard drive.

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