Ultimate Guide: MySQL Backup

MySQL is an incredibly popular open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) backed by Oracle. Most people are familiar with MySQL as part of the open-source enterprise stack commonly referred to as “LAMP,” in which Linux is the operating system, Apache is the web server, MySQL is the RDBMS, and PHP, Python, or PERL serves as the object-oriented scripting language. The MySQL server is available as a standalone program for use in a client-server environment or as a library that can be embedded into separate applications.

MySQL works based on a client-server model. Simply put, MySQL creates a database for storing and manipulating data and defines the relationship for each table. From there, clients can make requests by typing specific SQL statements on MySQL. The server application will then respond to the requests with the information asked for, and display it on the client side.

Businesses trust their websites to MySQL because it’s affordable, scalable, reliable, and can support extremely large databases while using a minimal amount of power. Even though it’s open-source, this platform comes with 24/7 support and surprisingly strong data protection. Today, MySQL powers many of the most widely-used websites in the world, including Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Given how many companies use MySQL to power their most business-critical processes and services, it’s imperative that managed service providers (MSPs)  know how to backup and recover MySQL in the event of an emergency.

What Can Go Wrong with MySQL Backup?

MySQL is a powerful database server, but it’s not infallible. To begin familiarizing your MSP with the potential issues that can crop up, here are six of the most common errors that can occur when working with MySQL:


MySQL authenticates users who connect from a host and then associates those users with access privileges on a database. These privileges include SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE, and can be used to identify anonymous users and grant appropriate privileges for specific functions. The access denied error can occur for a variety of reasons, but it’s most commonly caused by the MySQL accounts that the client program uses to connect with the MySQL server.


If “lost connection to MySQL server” appears while you’re querying a database, that means there’s a network connectivity issue somewhere in your environment that’s causing MySQL to lose the connection.

If that message doesn’t appear, the lost connection could be caused by an error with the connection_timeout variable. The connection_timeout system variable defines, in seconds, how long the MySQL server will wait for a connection packet before determining that the connection has timed out. If the connection_timeout value is too short, you might lose the connection. MySQL can also lose the connection if the Binary Large Object (BLOB) value is more than the max_allowed_packet. If you get an ER_NET_PACKET_TOO_LARGE error message, you’ll know this is the cause.


The max_connect_errors system in MySQL determines how many successive interrupted connection requests in a row are allowed without a successful connection. Once this threshold has been reached, MySQL assumes that something is wrong and blocks the host from further connections. A blocked host can also be caused by a faulty TCP/IP connection from a particular host, which indicates a network problem instead of a problem with the max_connext_errors variable.


The max_connections variable controls how many connections the MySQL server can support. The default value is 151, but system administrators can set a larger or smaller value based on the size of their business or their database needs. If this error appears, you’ll know that all available connections are in use for other client connections.



A communication packet in MySQL can be one of the following—a single SQL statement that the MySQL client sends to the MySQL server, a single row that’s sent from the MySQL server to the MySQL client, or a binary log event that’s sent from a replication master server to the replication master slave. For MySQL 8, 1 GB is the largest possible packet size that can be transferred to or from a MySQL client or server. The database server or client will return an ER_NET_PACKET_TOO_LARGE error message and close the connection if the packet size exceeds the predetermined threshold.


With relational database management systems, actions must be performed in sequential order. If the client functions or requests are called in the wrong order, MySQL will return an out of sync error message. For example, if you execute mysql_use_result() and then try to make another query without executing mysql_free_result() first, you’ll likely get an out of sync error. You can also receive this error if you try to execute two queries that will return a result set without entering mysql_use_result() or mysql_store_result() in between the two.

If any of these MySQL errors occur or the entire database goes down, all applications and services that rely on them will stop functioning as well. These errors can also fundamentally corrupt the database. If you have customers who rely on MySQL for the majority of their processes, it’s essential that you have MySQL backup database solutions in place to help them get up and running as soon as possible.

How Do You Backup a MySQL Database?

Backing up a MySQL database is critical to protect from disaster, but how exactly do you do it? The particulars of MySQL backup will differ based on the enterprise data backup software you purchase, but at its core, MySQL backup is simply a matter of installing the MySQL backup database solution on your MySQL and choosing the backup option that best suits your customer’s needs.

There are three types of MySQL backups—cold, warm, and hot. With cold backups, the MySQL server stops while the backup session runs, and no third-party applications that will forcibly keep the database open can be running at the same time. With warm backups, the MySQL server is locked for write operations while the backup session runs, but clients can still use it for read operations. With hot backups, both the MySQL server and the backup session run at the same time. No one “temperature” is better than the other, but make sure you choose the backup option that’s least disruptive to your customers.

Still, MySQL backup is only half the battle. You must complement your backup efforts with a data recovery plan that includes rapid data restores so you can get a duplicate MySQL database up and running as soon as possible. Without a rapid data recovery plan, your customers could lose time and money waiting for data to copy to a new location.

MySQL Enterprise Data Backup for MSPs

MySQL backup and restore should be fast, intuitive, and unobtrusive to your customers. SolarWinds® Backup is a cloud-first data and server protection service that can help you secure physical and virtual servers, workstations, Microsoft 365 data, and MySQL from one intuitive dashboard. With this MySQL Backup tool, you’ll have access to everything you need to easily restore your customers’ MySQL databases—no matter what happens.

Once you add your customer’s MySQL database to Backup Manager, you can create and customize an automatic backup schedule so you won’t have to worry about remembering to create cold, warm, or hot backups at regular intervals. This way you’ll always know when the last backup occurred. Backup uses True Delta deduplication and compression technology and WAN optimization techniques so you can back up MySQL as often as you like without worrying about excessive bandwidth usage. These technologies also save you time during both backup and recovery.

Backup also helps simplify enterprise data backup for MySQL. With Backup’s intuitive recovery navigation, you can restore your customer’s MySQL instance to its original location, or to a new location if the physical server has been damaged. After you request a restore path, Backup allows you to quickly resume MySQL service without missing a beat. SolarWinds Backup also helps you serve a wider range of customers who use MySQL for Windows, Linux, or MacOS. To experience firsthand how SolarWinds Backup can help you optimize MySQL backup, get started with a 30-day free trial.

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