Backing up a website via SSH

I recently had to backup a WordPress site that I only had shell (SSH) access to – no fancy hosting admin panel. This can be used for any PHP/MySQL site.

Backup the database

  • Log into hosting server via SSH by downloading an SSH client like Putty. You’ll need the server name, and user name and a password for SSH access to the server.
  • Once you are in display the MySQL databases (remember the semi-colon)
mysql>show databases;
  • Identify the database your website is using (in wordpress you can find this in wp-config.php) and dump the database (in this case WordPressDB2) to something like wordpress.sql (
#mysqldump -uroot -pnDnxQArK WordPressDB2 > wordpress.sql
  • I then rename my backups with a time and date stamp – in the style wordpress_20120501_1040.sql – and FTP to local PC using a FTP client like FileZilla.

Backup the source code

  • Compress the source code by running this command from the root folder (the one with the wordpress folder) to create
#zip -r wordpress
  • I then rename the zip with time and date stamp – in style – and FTP to the local PC.