Manual:Backing up a wiki
It is important to make regular backups of your wiki (data and files). This page provides an overview of the backup process for a typical MediaWiki wiki; you will probably want to devise your own backup scripts or schedule to suit the size of your wiki and your individual needs.
MediaWiki stores important data in two places:
- Pages and their contents, users and their preferences, metadata, search index, etc.
- File system
- Software configuration files, custom skins, extensions, images (including deleted images), etc.
Consider making the wiki read-only before creating the backup - see $wgReadOnly. This makes sure all parts of your backup are consistent (some of your installed extensions may write data nonetheless).
You will have to choose a method for transferring files from the server where they are:
- Non-private data you can simply publish on archive.org and/or in a
dumps/directory of your webserver.
- SCP (or WinSCP), SFTP/FTP or any other transfer protocol you choose.
- The hosting company might provide a file manager interface via a web browser; check with your provider.
Most of the critical data in the wiki is stored in the database. When using the default MySQL or MariaDB backend, the database can be dumped into a script file which can be used later to recreate the database and all the data in it from scratch.
See the package on Debian:
$ apt show automysqlbackup [...] Description: automysqlbackup creates backup every day, week and month for all of your MySQL database, to a configured folder. There's nothing to do but to install this package, and you'll rest assured that you have a way to go back in the history of your database. [...]
Install the package:
# apt install automysqlbackup
All your databases will be saved in /var/lib/automysqlbackup/:
$ find /var/lib/automysqlbackup/ /var/lib/automysqlbackup/ /var/lib/automysqlbackup/weekly /var/lib/automysqlbackup/weekly/my_wiki /var/lib/automysqlbackup/weekly/my_wiki/my_wiki_week.18.2016-05-07_15h32m.sql.gz /var/lib/automysqlbackup/monthly /var/lib/automysqlbackup/daily /var/lib/automysqlbackup/daily/my_wiki
Restore a database:
gunzip < /var/lib/automysqlbackup/weekly/my_wiki/my_wiki_week.18.2016-05-07_15h32m.sql.gz|mysql -uUSER -pPASSWORD my_wiki
For other distributions, see on Sourceforge.
Mysqldump from the command line
The most convenient way to create a dump file of the database you want to back up is to use the standard MySQL dump tool mysqldump from the command line. Be sure to get the parameters right or you may have difficulty restoring the database. Depending on database size, mysqldump could take a considerable amount of time.
First insert the following line into LocalSettings.php
$wgReadOnly = 'Dumping Database, Access will be restored shortly';
this can be removed as soon as the dump is completed.
Example of the command to run on the Linux/UNIX shell:
mysqldump -h hostname -u userid -p --default-character-set=whatever dbname > backup.sql
dbname as appropriate.
All four may be found in your LocalSettings.php (LSP) file.
hostname may be found under $wgDBserver; by default it is localhost.
userid may be found under $wgDBuser,
whatever may be found under $wgDBTableOptions, where it is listed after
whatever is not specified mysqldump will likely use the default of utf8, or if using an older version of MySQL, latin1.
dbname may be found under $wgDBname.
After running this line from the command line mysqldump will prompt for the server password (which may be found under Manual:$wgDBpassword in LSP).
See mysqldump for a full list of command line parameters.
The output from mysqldump can instead be piped to gzip, for a smaller output file, as follows
mysqldump -h hostname -u userid -p dbname | gzip > backup.sql.gz
Some newer versions of MySQL might show an error about tablespaces and PROCESS privilege. MediaWiki does not use tablespaces. The solution is to add the --no-tablespaces option to the command:
mysqldump --no-tablespaces -h hostname -u userid -p dbname | gzip > backup.sql.gz
A similar mysqldump command can be used to produce XML output instead, by including the --xml parameter.
mysqldump -h hostname -u userid -p --xml dbname > backup.xml
and to compress the file with a pipe to gzip
mysqldump -h hostname -u userid -p --xml dbname | gzip > backup.xml.gz
Remember to also backup the file system components of the wiki that might be required, e.g., images, logo, and extensions.
Running mysqldump with Cron
Cron is the time-based job scheduler in Unix-like computer operating systems. Cron enables users to schedule jobs (commands or shell scripts) to run periodically at certain times or dates.
A sample command that you may run from a crontab may look like this:
nice -n 19 mysqldump -u $USER --password=$PASSWORD $DATABASE -c | nice -n 19 gzip -9 > ~/backup/wiki-$DATABASE-$(date '+%Y%m%d').sql.gz
nice -n 19 lowers the priority of the process.
Use valid values for
$DATABASE. This will write a backup file with the weekday in the filename so you would have a rolling set of backups. If you want to save the files and extensions as well, you might want to use this one.
If you want to add this task in Cron through Cpanel then you must escape the character "%"
/usr/bin/mysqldump -u $USER --password=$PASSWORD $DATABASE -c | /bin/gzip > ~/backup/wiki-$DATABASE-$(date '+\%Y\%m\%d').sql.gz
or you will get an error:
/bin/sh: -c: line 0: unexpected EOF while looking for matching `'' /bin/sh: -c: line 1: syntax error: unexpected end of file
Some of the tables dumped have different degrees of temporariness. So to save disk space (beyond just gziping), although those tables need to be present in a proper dump, their data does not. However, under certain circumstances the disadvantage of having to rebuild all this data may outweigh saving disk space (for example, on a large wiki where restoration speed is paramount).
See mailing list thread mysql5 binary schema about the topic.
Latin-1 to UTF-8 conversion
You can use the
pg_dump tool to back up a MediaWiki PostgreSQL database. For example:
pg_dump mywiki > mywikidump.sql
will dump the
mywiki database to mywikidump.sql.
To restore the dump:
psql mywiki -f mywikidump.sql
You may also want to dump the global information, e.g. the database users:
pg_dumpall --globals > postgres_globals.sql
If your wiki is currently offline, its database can be backed up by simply copying the database file.
Otherwise, you should use a maintenance script:
php maintenance/sqlite.php --backup-to <backup file name>, which will make sure that operation is atomic and there are no inconsistencies.
If your database is not really huge and server is not under heavy load, users editing the wiki will notice nothing but a short lag.
Users who are just reading will not notice anything in any case.
Turn your wiki to read only by adding
$wgReadOnly = 'Site Maintenance'; to LocalSettings.php.
Open the browser to your phpadmin link, login, choose the wiki database.
(Check LocalSettings.php if you're not sure).
Make sure all items under Export are highlighted, and make sure Structure is highlighted (it's important to maintain the table structure).
Optionally check Add DROP TABLE to delete existing references when importing.
Make sure Data is checked.
Then click on GO and save the backup file.
$wgReadOnly = 'Site Maintenance'; from LocalSettings.php
Remember to also backup the file system components of the wiki that might be required, e.g. images, logo, and extensions.
- For a tutorial, see Siteground: MySQL Export: How to backup a MySQL database using phpMyAdmin
- Backing up the Database
HeidiSQL is similar to phpMyAdmin, but without any restrictions of phpMyAdmin's free version. HeidiSQL requires a direct database connection, where some hosts may only offer web interfaces (phpMyAdmin) to firewalled databases.
MediaWiki stores other components of the wiki in the file system where this is more appropriate than insertion into the database.
The most important of these are LocalSettings.php and uploaded files in the
images/ directory (including deleted files, thumbnails, and rendered math and SVG images, if applicable).
The best method to back these up is to place them into an archive file, such as a
.tar file, which can then be compressed if desired. On Windows, applications such as WinZip or 7-zip can be used.
For Linux variants, assuming the wiki is stored in
tar zcvhf wikidata.tgz /srv/www/htdocs/wiki
It should be possible to backup the entire "wiki" folder in "htdocs" if using XAMPP.
LocalSettings.php is the most important of these, but a wiki might also have things like
.htaccess or other web server configuration files that should be backed up.
Files uploaded to the wiki are by default put into the
images/ directory, separated into subdirectories such as
There are also other directories such as
These should all be backed up.
images/thumb/ can be backed up along with everything else, but can optionally be excluded in order to save backup space.
This directory stores the derived thumbnails of images and other files; generally multiple thumbnails per wiki file.
After restoring from backup, these thumbnails will be recreated as required (although depending on $wgGenerateThumbnailOnParse this may need to be a manual process).
Backup the content of the wiki (XML dump)
It is also a good idea to create an XML dump in addition to the database dump. XML dumps contain the content of the wiki (wiki pages with all their revisions), without the site-related data (they do not contain user accounts, image metadata, logs, etc).
XML dumps are less likely to cause problems with character encoding, as a means of transferring large amounts of content quickly, and can easily be used by third party tools, which makes XML dumps a good fallback should your main database dump become unusable.
You can also create an XML dump for a specific set of pages online, using Special:Export, although attempting to dump large quantities of pages through this interface will usually time out.
To import an XML dump into a wiki, use the command-line tool
For a small set of pages, you can also use the Special:Import page via your browser (by default, this is restricted to the sysop group).
As an alternative to
importDump.php, you can use MWDumper, which is faster, but requires a Java runtime environment.
See Manual:Importing XML dumps for more information.
Without shell access to the server
If you have no shell access, use the WikiTeam Python script dumpgenerator.py from a DOS, Unix or Linux command-line. Requires Python v2 (a third-party Python 3.x port has been created, and works with a patch).
To get an XML, with edit histories, dump and a dump of all images plus their descriptions. Without extensions and LocalSettings.php configs.
python dumpgenerator.py --api=http://www.sdiy.info/w/api.php --xml --images
On MediaWiki 1.27+ you can use
--xml --xmlrevisions, which should be faster.
Full instructions are at the WikiTeam tutorial.
See also Meta:Data dumps.
- Unofficial backup script by User:Duesentrieb.
- Unofficial backup script by Flominator; creates a backup of all files and the database, with optional backup rotation.
- User:Darizotas/MediaWiki Backup Script for Windows - a script for backing up a Windows MediaWiki install. Note: Has no restore feature.
- Unofficial web-based backup script, mw_tools, by Wanglong (allwiki.com); you can use it to back up your database, or use the backup files to recover the database, the operation is very easy.
- WikiTeam tools - if you do not have server access (e.g. your wiki is in a free wikifarm), you can generate an XML dump and an image dump using WikiTeam tools (see some saved wikis).
- Another backup script that: dumps DB, files (just pictures by default, option to include all files in installation), and XML; puts the site into read-only mode; timestamps backups; and reads the charset from LocalSettings. Script does not need to be modified for each site to be backed up. Does not (yet) rotate old backups. Usage:
backup.sh -d backup/directory -w installation/directory. Also provides a script to restore a backup
restore.sh -a backup/directory/dated_archive.tar.gz -w installation/directory.
- Another unofficial MediaWiki backup script for Windows by Lanthanis that: exports the pages of specified namespaces as an XML file; dumps specified database tables; and adds further specified folders and files to a ZIP backup file. Can be used with Windows task scheduler.
- Script to make periodical backups mw_backup. This script will make daily, weekly and monthly backups of your database and images directory when run as a daily cron job.
- Extension:DumpsOnDemand – Allows users to generate and download database dumps
- Extension:DataDump – Allows users to generate and download XML and file/image dumps
- Help:Export is a quick and easy way to save all pages on your wiki.
- Manual:Restoring a wiki from backup
- Manual:Moving a wiki
- Manual:Restoring wiki code from cached HTML — if you don't have a successful backup
- Exporting all the files of a wiki
- Manual talk:Backing up a wiki#Ubuntu 10.10 - Step by Step Instructions
- XML dumps are independent of the database structure, and can be imported into future (and even past) versions of MediaWiki.