Updating WordPress? Backup first!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been a little slack on occasion when updating their version of WordPress and not doing a backup. It sounds such a stupid thing to do, especially when you think about the time you’ve spent working on the site and the time you may well need to spend fixing it!

One of the things that I hated was doing an ftp download of the site. I never got on with backup utilities very well as I wanted to be in control. So, a few years back I realised there was a far simpler method to maintain backups using the Terminal in Mac OSX.

ssh username@yourdomain.com 
cd httpdocs // or whatever your WP root directory is
mysqldump -u username -p database > backupdatabse.sql
[Enter password]
tar -vcf backupfilename.tar .

And that’s pretty much it. It creates two files in your WordPress root. You can secure copy (scp) through the terminal if you want or download using ftp. Either way, the above takes very little time to do and gives you the opportunity to restore things to how they were if it does go horribly wrong.

Create MySQL Backup

There are a number of ways to backup a MySQL database. For my local environment I like a quick way to take a backup before trying something new. Rather than go through the cumbersome process of logging into Terminal, navigating to the MAMP /bin directory and then entering a very long command, which I would easily forget, it’s simpler to create a shell script and then invoke it as an Application by using AppleScript.

First, create your shell script by opening a text editor, eg TextWrangler (and not an RTF editor), and type:


On the next line type in the commands you would normally do in Terminal. In my case, I wanted to navigate to the MAMP /bin where mysqldump lives. Then, I wanted to use this to dump a sql file of a specific database within my sites directory.

cd /Applications/MAMP/Library/bin/
./mysqldump -a -uroot -pPASSWORD mydb1 > ../../../../Users/[username]/Sites/Backups/db1.sql;

Finally, close it with


You then save this in a logical place (ie somewhere you can find it!), in my case /Users/[username]/Sites/Backups/scripts/. Next go to Application > Utilities and launch AppeScript Editor. Type the following into the edit pane.

do shell script "/Users/[username]/Sites/Backups/scripts/backup_nsdaukcom_263323_db1.sh"

Save this to either Applications or a sub-directory within Applications. When you change the File Format to Applications before saving.

Once done, all you need to do to take a backup is double-click the new application you’ve created and your previous backup is overwritten with a new one.