Backing up (and restoring) MySQL databases

To back up your MySQL database, you can use the mysqldump command-line tool.

Backing up a database using mysqldump

We'll need to arm ourselves with 2 pieces of information, all three of which you can find on the Databases tab from your PythonAnywhere dashboard.

  • the hostname of your mysql server. You can find this on the "Databases" tab, it's usually something like yourusername.mysql.pythonanywhere-services.com

  • the full name of the database you want to back up. These usually follow the naming convention yourusername$dbname -- so the full name includes your username, and the character "$"

Armed with these two, you should open up a Bash console, and then run the following command:

cd
mysqldump -u yourusername -h yourusername.mysql.pythonanywhere-services.com 'yourusername$dbname'  > db-backup.sql

The 'single-quotes' around the database name are required, because of the '$' character in the full database name.

You'll notice that we're not entering a password for the database. That's because your password is automatically saved by the pythonanywhere system to a file at ~/.my.cnf.

The db-backup.sql file will then be available in your home folder (via the Files tab), where you can download it to a safe place.

Restoring from a backup file

If you later need to restore, run the following command:

mysql -u yourusername -h yourusername.mysql.pythonanywhere-services.com 'yourusername$dbname'  < db-backup.sql

Be aware that this will completely delete any existing data in the database though!

Scheduling the backup as a task

To automate the backup process, you can run it daily or hourly via the Schedule tab.

Simply copy and paste the mysqldump command-line from above, and paste it into a new scheduled task entry.

You could also add a task that then uploads the dump file to an off-site server using rsync or scp, but that's up to you!