Migrating database servers

As I’m migrating websites and applications from one server to another, I’m also migrating databases from one server to another.

Even though I’ve done this dozens, if not hundreds, of times, I always find myself looking up how to do this. I’m migrating from one MySQL (MariaDB) servers to another MySQL (MariaDB), so relatively straightforward but still some command syntax I don’t remember off the top of my head.

First, export the old database to a file:

mysqldump --add-drop-table -h $DBHOST -u $DBUSER -p $DBNAME >$DBNAME.07-NOV-2023.bak.sql

The this mysqldump command produces output that will re-create the necessary tables and insert the data.

In this case I’m not compressing the output, but it would be trivial to pipe the output of mysqldump to a compression utility such as xz, bzip2, or gzip. For my data, which is entirely text-based, any of these utilities performs well, although xz achieves the best compression:

mysqldump --add-drop-table -h $DBHOST -u $DBUSER -p $DBNAME | xz -c >$DBNAME.07-NOV-2023.bak.sql.xz
mysqldump --add-drop-table -h $DBHOST -u $DBUSER -p $DBNAME | bzip2 -c >$DBNAME.07-NOV-2023.bak.sql.bz2
mysqldump --add-drop-table -h $DBHOST -u $DBUSER -p $DBNAME | gzip -c >$DBNAME.07-NOV-2023.bak.sql.gz

Next, create the new database and a database user account. This assumes there is a database server running:

sudo mysql -u root
CREATE USER 'dbuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'your-t0p-s3cr3t-pa55w0rd';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON dbname.* TO 'dbuser'@'localhost';

Note that the CREATE USER and GRANT PRIVILEGES commands will result in a “0 rows affected” message, which is normal:

Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.002 sec)

There are other ways to create the database, see 7.4.2 Reloading SQL-Format Backups in the MySQL documentation.

Next, import the database from the file. This example uses the root user because I did not grant the dbuser PROCESS privileges (which are not table-level privileges):

sudo mysql --user=root --host=localhost dbname <dbname.07-NOV-2023.bak.sql

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