Backup and Restore

What is it

Hopefully its clear to anyone reading this what backup and restore is in regards to your database. But, in case you’re entirely new to databases and even more so computers, a backup is simply a full copy of your database schema and data, with restore being the ability to use that backed up data and load it into your database or another database.

Note: Backup and restore is done on an entire database or entire table, and not meant for extracts of data. In that case you would use copy.

Backup

pg_dump is the utility for backing up your database. There are a few key knobs you have when dumping your database. These include:

  • Plaintext format (readable and large) vs. binary format (unreadable and small) vs. tarball (ideal for restore)
  • All of your database or specific schemas/tables

So lets get started with some backing up - if you need a reminder of your databases you can list them with:

psql -l

Then carry out the dump with:

pg_dump database_name_here > database.sql

The above will create the plaintext dump of your database. To create a form more suitable you a persistent backup and storage you can use either of the below:

pg_dump -Fc database_name_here > database.bak # compressed binary format
pg_dump -Ft database_name_here > database.tar # tarball

Restore

When restoring, there are a few more options that you’ll want to consider:

  • If the database already exists
  • The format of your backup
pg_restore -Fc database.bak # restore compressed binary format
pg_restore -Ft database.tar # restore tarball

If your database already exists you only need to run the above. However, if you’re creating your database new from the restore you’ll want to run a command similar to the following:

pg_restore -Fc -C database.bak # restore compressed binary format
pg_restore -Ft -C database.tar # restore tarball

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