Companies use various Databases and other storage engines to run their business operations and store valuable data. MySQL is one of the widely used Relational Databases that companies use to effectively store and run their websites, background applications and manage data. It is a good practice to always maintain a backup of the data to avoid any data loss at the time of system failure or disaster.

MySQL offers a simple and automated client program to let users easily create and backup and restore points of their data. The mysqlbackup is the utility client program of MySQL that handles packing and unpacking of backup files with many other options to configure.

The mysqlbackup option makes it easier for the users to maintain the backup of the data on other locations that increase the data availability, avoids data loss, and improves the data latency. This article introduces you to a brief introduction to MySQL and mysqlbackup’ services. You will also go through the simple backup process and learn how to use the mysqlbackup command to create a backup, validate it and restore the backup to the server.


  • MySQL Server installed on your local system.
  • Some basic knowledge of SQL.

Introduction to MySQL

MySQL Logo
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MySQL is a widely used open-source Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) that allows users to store data in one or more tables and then relate the table data with each other. Written in C++ and was created by a company named MySQL AB then, the ownership transferred to Sun Micro Systems, and currently, Oracle owns MySQL. With the help of SQL language, users can create, modify, access data from the Relational Database and control the user access to the Database. Many popular websites including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube use MySQL. 

MySQL runs on many platforms that include Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, NetBSD, Oracle Solaris, Symbian, SunOS, etc. It comes with stand-alone clients that help users interact with the MySQL Database using SQL language. Companies use MySQL to manage their business operations of any scale with reliability and security.

To know more about MySQL, here.

Introduction to MySQLBackup

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The mysqlbackup is an easy-to-use client tool designed by MySQL that handles all the backup and restore operations and other tasks such as backup compression, decompression, validation, etc. It can backup all InnoDB tables and indexes, including InnoDB system tablespace, all MyISAM tables, and indexes, tables that are managed by other storage engines, etc. The mysqlbackup command-line tool can pack and unpack the backup data, add data to the backup data if any changes are done to InnoDB tables during the backup operation. Also, it can restore data, index, and log files back to their original locations.

The mysqlbackup command returns exit code 0 on the successful backup operation or the message “mysqlbackup completed OK!”. MySQL has divided the mysqbackup’ operations into different categories based on the usage of the command. The different operations of mysqlbackup are listed below:

  • Backup Operations
  • Update Operations
  • Restore Operations
  • Validation Operations
  • Other Single-File Backup Operations
  • Other Operations

Steps to Perform Backups Using mysqlbackup

Perform Backups Using mysqlbackup
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Now that you have understood about MySQL and mysqlbackup command. In this section, you will learn about the procedure to backup data using mysqlbackup. Before moving further with backup operation, there is a need to gather Database information. The information to gather includes MySQL port, Path to MySQL configuration file, Size of InnoDB redo log files, ID and password of privileged MySQL user, etc. The steps to backup the MySQL Database using mysqlbackup are listed below:

Step 1: Granting MySQL Privileges

  • First, connect with the MySQL Server using mysqlbackup command with the credentials supplied using parameters”–user” and “–password” options. 
  • The user that you will specify needs some privileges to move further or you can create a new user with limited privileges or connect with an administrative account like root.
  • The necessary privileges that you need for mysqlbackup are listed below:
    • SELECT
    • RELOAD 
    • SUPER
    • PROCESS with ALGORITHM = INPLACE clause.
    • CREATE, INSERT, DROP, and UPDATE on mysql.backup_progress and mysql.backup_history.
    • SELECT and ALTER on mysql.backup_history.
  • For simplicity, here a new user with the above privileges is created to connect to the localhost “mysql” client program using the command given below.
CREATE USER 'mysqlbackup'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
    TO `mysqlbackup`@`localhost`;
GRANT CREATE, INSERT, DROP, UPDATE ON mysql.backup_progress TO 'mysqlbackup'@'localhost'; 
    TO 'mysqlbackup'@'localhost';
  • Here, in the above command, the MySQL user is named “mysqlbackup” and you can provide any password in place of “password“.

Step 2: Backing Up MySQL Instance

  • Now, in this following tutorial entire MySQL instance to a single file will be backed up using the “backup-to-image” command that needs to be put at the end of the command.
  • You need to provide the connection information with the “mysqlbackup” command and “–user” and “–host” options. The sample command to back up the entire MySQL instance is given below.
$ mysqlbackup --user=mysqlbackup --password --host= --backup-image=/home/mysqlbackup/backups/my.mbi 
  --backup-dir=/home/mysqlbackup/backup-tmp  backup-to-image
  • Here in the above command, the mysqlbackup command is used with “–user”, “–password”, “–host” as localhost and it also has some information on the directory of the “–backup-image” and “–backup-dir”. At last, the backup-to-image option is used. The directory location may vary according to your system.
  • The following command will start the process for the backup of the MySQL instance.
  • After a successful backup process, it will return the message “mysqlbackup completed OK!“.

Step 3: Verifying a Backup

  • After a backup process is complete, it’s always a good practice to check for the integrity of the backup and verify if all the data is backed up correctly.
  • To check and validate the backup, the sample command is given below for validating a backup image.
$ mysqlbackup --backup-image=/home/mysqlbackup/backups/my.mbi validate
  • In the above command, the directory to the backup image is provided using the parameter “–backup-image” using mysqlbackup command. At the end of the command, the operation “validate” is specified.

After successful validation of the backup, it will return the message “mysqlbackup completed OK!” in the end.

Step 4: Restoring a Database

  • Till now you have backup up and validated the MySQL instance. The last thing left is to restore the backup.
  • For this, first, you need to shut down the Database Server.
  • Now, delete all the files located in the server’s directory and also delete all the files that you can find under the directory specified by “–innodb_data_home_dir”, “–innodb_log_group_home_dir”, and “–innodb_undo_directory” options for restore. There might be a case that your directories are different from the data directory.
  • After deleting all the files, use the command “copy-back-and-apply-log” with the mysqlbackup command. A sample command is given below.
$ mysqlbackup --datadir=/home/admin/bin/mysql-commercial-8.0.16/datadir 
  --backup-image=/home/mysqlbackup/backups/my.mbi --backup-dir=/home/mysqlbackup/backup-tmp 
  • The above command “copy-back-and-apply-log” will convert the raw backup into the prepared backup by updating it to a consistent state.
  • After that, it will copy all the tables, indexes, metadata, and other information to the target server.
  • The “–datadir” specifies the location of the data directory for restoring the data.
  • The “–backup-image” option provides the location of the single-file backup.
  • The “–backup-dir” is the empty directory to store temporary files during the restore process.
  • After a successful restore of the backup, the program will return the message “mysqlbackup completed OK!“.

That’s it! You have successfully performed a simple backup and restore of MySQL instance using the mysqlbackup command.


In this article, you learn about MySQL, mysqlbackup command, and how to use it. You also went through the process to create, validate and restore a simple backup of a MySQL instance. It is a good practice to maintain a backup of the MySQL Database and the mysqlbackup command is one of the simplest ways to create a backup.

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Aditya Jadon
Research Analyst, Hevo Data

Aditya Jadon is a data science enthusiast with a passion for decoding the complexities of data. He leverages his B. Tech degree, expertise in software architecture, and strong technical writing skills to craft informative and engaging content. Aditya has authored over 100 articles on data science, demonstrating his deep understanding of the field and his commitment to sharing knowledge with others.

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