Support » Fixing WordPress » How to Verify Backups

  • Resolved matiabryson


    I have always wondered how to “verify the backup” I have made before doing an upgrade.

    I have downloaded my backup file to my computer, and I can see it, but when I try to open it I get a message that windows does not know what program to open it with.

    Thanks in advance.

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  • What extension is the filename?
    Probably .gz, just download winrar from and use that to open the file, there is an option in the winrar menu to test the archive file (i.e. verify contents)

    No, the extension is .sql.

    I thought maybe the problem is that the file is zipped, but Windows usually brings up a wizard that upzips files when I try to open them. I let Windows do a search for a program to open it and I was taken to page that suggested WinAce or WinZip (I think) or some such software, but it did not make sense to me that I would need that software since Windows usually has a wizard to do it.

    .sql is the backup of the MySQL database tables – in file format.
    USe a simple, plain text editor like Notepad.

    Although, to be honest, if you have no idea how to open a file, I don’t know what do you want to “verify”…

    just create an empty database and run the sql, if it runs without errors then all is well on the moon.

    Thanks, Moshu and to answer your question, I can open the file with Notepad but it looks like what I think is called machine language.

    I guess what I want to verify is whether my backup is a proper backup, so if my upgrade goes awry I don’t lose my data. I am on Step 3 here:

    where it says:

    Step 3: Verify the backups
    Verify that the backups you created are there and usable. This is the most important step in the upgrade process! The verification process involves making sure you can see the backup files on your local computer (or wherever you’ve stored them) and that you can navigate into any sub-folders. If the files are in a zip file, make sure you can open the zip file.

    Looking at that machine code, I sure can’t see if it’s usable!

    And thanks, hotkee, that is an interesting idea. I have never worked with mySql before, but I suppose I could give it a try. My webhost automatically set up the database when it automatically set up WordPress for me originally in one-click. I guess I could try to play around with creating a new one, etc.

    I just thought there should be a simpler solution. This is one-step in a rather long upgrade process. I have upgraded before and skipped this step before, but I have been building up this blog for a while and getting nervous about losing what I have.

    I would appreciate any other ideas, if anyone has them? Thanks in advance.

    Well, I backed up a zillion blogs and never really had any problems with it. Just by the size of the backed up .sql file you can have an idea whether it is OK or not. E.g. if you have a new blog the file size would be smaller, and in the case of a blog with several thousands posts – it should be much bigger.

    Anyway, the only real method to check if it is “usable” – is the one described by hotkee. Or to have a local installation of WP (using XAMPP) and importing the DB there.

    Well, taking a page from hotkee I went back to my webhost and created another WordPress blog in a separate folder of my domain.

    I followed the instructions at Restoring Your Database From Backup to attempt to import one of my backup files to the database using the phpadmin for the new blog.

    I am now very concerned about the usability of my backups: they all returned an error about a SQL bug:

    There is a chance that you may have found a bug in the SQL parser. Please examine your query closely, and check that the quotes are correct and not mis-matched. Other possible failure causes may be that you are uploading a file with binary outside of a quoted text area. You can also try your query on the MySQL command line interface. The MySQL server error output below, if there is any, may also help you in diagnosing the problem. If you still have problems or if the parser fails where the command line interface succeeds, please reduce your SQL query input to the single query that causes problems, and submit a bug report with the data chunk in the CUT section below:

    etc. etc. etc.

    Now I have gone from being somewhat mildly curious about the safety of my backups to very concerned. This MySQL stuff is really over my head.

    Ok, back to the drawing board. I thought maybe the problem had to do with incompatible versions of WordPress. So I upgraded the old blog (even though I was maybe risking the data since I did not have a proper backup) and the test blog to see if I could do a restore. Same SQL bug message.

    Then I started thinking that the plug-in I was using for creating my backups may be the problem. I went back to for instructions on how to do a direct backup of the mySQL database without using a plug-in. This time I did a restore and I got about a third of my data back. (I got back only three of the ten tables… not good.)

    Feeling I was getting closer, I went to the documentation from my webhost and found that their directions on how to to make a backup copy of a mySQL database differed a bit from those given here on (The phpMyAdmin looks a bit different, too. Maybe an older version?)

    Bingo! This time when I did a restore all the tables came back. I checked the table called wp-posts by clicking “browse.” I could see a row for every blog post. When I clicked “edit” on one of the rows I could see the full html for the entire post in one of the fields, although it was quite a small field and I had to do a bit of scrolling. I can do the same thing for wp-comments.

    This satisfies me that I have a proper backup of my data.

    My recommendation is that when you use a plug-in for your backups you check (at least once!) that you are getting a usable backup by restoring it to a test blog like I did.

    I do not know if I will hunt down another plug-in to do backups or if I shall stick with the direct method that I used for creating a backup of the mySQL database. It doesn’t seem so hard now that I have done it once.

    I hope this helps someone else. I don’t spend a great deal of time here in the support forum, but I am amazed that a search did not turn up any similar question from anyone else. After all, WordPress said that verifying the backup is “the most important step in the upgrade process!”




    kudos to you for actually doing some work and investigating on your own. While the search is currently broke, there probably wouldnt be a lot of posts on that subject, because people, generally,
    j u s t
    d o n t
    r e a d
    d i r e c t i o n s.

    And they certainly cant read anything that might be provided by their host — thats like kryptonite to superman. :<



    I have a BIG problem
    The building where my hosting provider has machines and backups burned on fire 1 week ago. My last backup at home of the files is Oct. 2007
    I wish you can help me to get my blog again, IF is that possible. I’m a writer and all my professional work is there.
    I also have other blogs with this system, but that one belongs from my pro homepage.
    The version was the new one and in my backu I lost half texts and all the titles.

    Waiting for your notices

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
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