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Backup Your Databases!

This guide refers to phpMyAdmin based databases that are commonly the back end for popular content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and Joomla

Yes, it happened to me.

So… I was clearing out my web server files, databases, etc, to make room for the new website coming online, and I forgot to make a copy of my old WordPress Blog’s database before I deleted it (I copied everything else, like that helps!). Luckily, it wasn’t quite my life’s work, and I have Flickr galleries of all the images, so I can go back through and basically reproduce the articles, or at least toss Flickr galleries into some articles with a quick explanation.

I’m rather disappointed with myself… seeing as I just created more work on a schedule that really doesn’t allow for it… but hey – live and learn!

I hope that this serves as at least a reminder for anyone that might read through – always back EVERYTHING up – and don’t forget about the databases!

How to create a backup of your WordPress or Joomla databases (or any other phpMyAdmin based database on your web host)

  • Log in to your phpMyAdmin using the Hostname. Example: “prettyponies.decisivedesign.com”
  • Hopefully you have access to or remember your username and password. If the service was installed “automatically” by your hosting service, like many are these days, the information may be online, or it might be the same info you use to log into your web host.
  • Once you are logged into phpMyAdmin, you’ll see a screen like this:
phpMyAdmin for WordPress Joomla Backup
  • Now, select the database, at the top let, you want to backup (we’ll be “exporting” it, technically”). In this case, I selected “decisivedesign_###_#”
  • After you select your database, the next screen displays all of your database tables. These are what holds all of the real data for your blog… this is what I lost 🙁 You can see an example below the next list step.
  • On this screen, click on the “Export” tab (see below).
phpMyAdmin Export Database
  • Now you’ll see the following screen. Make sure and select all of the tables you want to export (probably all of them). Then, make sure you click “Save as file” at the bottom and name the file. To finish, click GO at the bottom right and, if prompted, save it where you like. It may save to your downloads folder on your computer automatically, depending on your settings.
phpMyAdmin export WordPress Joomla Database
  • That’s it, you’re done! Don’t forget to grab all of the config files, images, custom CSS files, etc off of your site via FTP too – you’ll need all of that if you want to re-install your website somewhere else!
  • If you need to import an old database into a new installation of Joomla or WordPress, all you need to do is install the fresh, blank installation at wherever.com, copy all of your custom files (CSS, images, etc) over (don’t overwrite the config files, only copy what you’ve changed), then log into your new phpMyAdmin on the new Hostname, select the database that was created for the new installation, delete all of the default tables, then use the import tab (right next to the export tab above) to import your saved/backed up/exported database. That should do the trick! Of course, I’d check the documentation on your specific platform to make sure that’s the correct option for you.

Hope this helps someone out there! And, if it did, don’t be afraid to let me know!


  1. PHP Blog on January 22, 2012 at 7:05 pm


    below are some links I found useful…

  2. User on July 1, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Hey!!I’ll definitely have to check out Sean’s post. And I love the idea of blogging about a failure and how you learned from it. I’ll have to do that one soon

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