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Appwrite In Production: Backups and Restores

Bradley Schofield
Fullstack Engineer for Appwrite Specialising in JavaScript, Vue, Rust and openness to learning new concepts and languages.
・5 min read

Backing up and restoring data is an extremely important part of running servers. It's a virtual safety net against most bad things that can happen. Made a bad config change? Restore a backup. Messed up an update? Restore a backup. Corrupted Drives? Restore a backup.

Not only that, backups can also come in handy when migrating data to other systems, for instance migrating a development server into a production environment or vice versa 🔁

To make this entire process as easy as possible we've written this simple and handy guide to explain everything you need to know about backing up and restoring your Appwrite instance.

Appwrite is broken down into multiple sections and most of Appwrite is stateless. This means that Appwrite only actually has two main things you need to backup: one is Appwrite's Database (MariaDB) and the other is the Docker volumes which store functions data and uploads. The rest - Appwrite can automatically handle and regenerate.

Please note that all these commands need to be run within the same directory as Appwrite's docker-compose.yml

With all that said, lets begin! 😊

💾 Backing up the MariaDB Database

Due to the fact that Appwrite uses a Docker image of MariaDB it is extremely easy to dump the entire database with just one command and likewise to restore the dump.

Creating a Database backup is just one command:

docker-compose exec mariadb sh -c 'exec mysqldump --all-databases --add-drop-database -u"$MYSQL_USER" -p"$MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD"' > ./dump.sql
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Going into depth this command does a couple things:

  1. Docker-compose launches a temporary shell onto the MariaDB container to start work
  2. It runs mysqldump on the server with two specific options --all-databases and --add-drop-database these are important since they ensure that when the backup is restored old data doesn't get overlapped with new data.
  3. The output of mysqldump is piped into a dump.sql file. This is your backup ✅️

✍️ Restoring the MariaDB Database

Restoring the database is similarly easy and also requires just one command to do so:

docker-compose exec -T mariadb sh -c 'exec mysql -uroot -p"$MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD"' < dump.sql
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This command is very simple once you break it down:

  1. Docker-compose launches a temporary shell onto the MariaDB container to start work
  2. Using the mysql command we restore the dump through a pipe

💿 Backing up your Docker Volumes

Appwrite stores various things in Docker volumes. This includes your file uploads and Cloud Function data and docker volumes makes it easy for us to coordinate data between the central Appwrite container and our various Appwrite workers. Uploads are especially important to backup since they include all your app's file uploads, these commands can take a while to run depending on how much data you have to backup.

Before running these commands is it highly recommended to shutdown your Appwrite instance to ensure you get a complete backup.

To backup the functions volume the command is:

mkdir -p backup && docker run --rm --volumes-from "$(docker-compose ps -q appwrite)" -v $PWD/backup:/backup ubuntu bash -c "cd /storage/functions && tar cvf /backup/functions.tar ."
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and to backup the uploads volume the command is:

mkdir -p backup && docker run --rm --volumes-from "$(docker-compose ps -q appwrite)" -v $PWD/backup:/backup ubuntu bash -c "cd /storage/uploads && tar cvf /backup/uploads.tar ."
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Both these commands do similar things and when you break them down they are pretty simple.

  1. Start a new Docker container. This Docker container has a few special options

--rm will delete the container once it's done running. The reason we want this is because this container is only being used to package up our backup and give it to the host machine.

--volume-from This flag special as it will mount all of the volumes of the container we give it. To get the container ID we want we use a $(docker-compose ps -q appwrite) to get the ID within the command

-v This flag is being used to mount a volume onto our new container which will give us access to a backup folder we created using the mkdir command at the start

ubuntu is the image we are basing our new container on

  1. Finally with this command created we change directories into the normal Appwrite mount point for uploads and create a tarball which will be created in the backup directory where we will be able to access it.

Once these commands are run you should find a new backup folder which containsuploads.tar and functions.tar these are your backups. Keep them safe.

📝 Restoring your Docker Volumes

Restoring your Appwrite volumes is fairly simple as well. Move the backup folder you just created to your destination machine next to the docker-compose.yml file and simply run the following commands to restore the backup.

Please note that the Appwrite instance should be shutdown while running these commands.

Restoring functions volume:

docker run --rm --volumes-from "$(docker-compose ps -q appwrite)" -v $PWD/backup:/restore ubuntu bash -c "cd /storage/functions && tar xvf /restore/functions.tar --strip 1"
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Restoring uploads volume:

docker run --rm --volumes-from "$(docker-compose ps -q appwrite)" -v $PWD/backup:/restore ubuntu bash -c "cd /storage/uploads && tar xvf /restore/uploads.tar --strip 1"
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This command creates new temporary Docker container like the backup command but instead extracts the tar back into the functions and uploads endpoint which will restore the backup.

⭐️ In Conclusion

To create a full Appwrite backup you will want to backup MariaDB and the two volumes specified here. Once you have done that make sure to keep it safe, the best backup will store the backup in multiple locations including locally and in multiple clouds. As with any Cloud Native Application, make sure that you backup your Appwrite instance regularly to ensure that you're never in a situation where you have to lose data due to a server failure.

This entire process can be easily done to help migrate an Appwrite installation easily by simply copying the backup files onto another server and running the restore steps.

We hope you enjoyed this article! We love contributions and encourage you to take a look at our open isuses and ongoing RFCs.

If you get stuck anywhere, feel free to reach out to us on our friendly support channels run by humans 👩‍💻

Here are some handy links for more information:

Thank you to Taylor Vick for the server image.

Discussion (2)

elreyes profile image
Fabian Reyes

Hi, I have tried to replicate this guide and everything works fine except the database restore, I get this error: ERROR 1064 (42000) at line 1: You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MariaDB server version for the right syntax to use near 'mysqldump: Got error: 1045: "Access denied for user 'user'@'localhost' (using...' at line 1

eldadfux profile image
Eldad A. Fux

I think you need to make sure your target database has the same user credentials.