How to copy a MySQL database

MySQL is a widely used relational database management system that is valued for its performance and flexibility. In the modern IT landscape, it is often necessary to copy or clone databases. There can be many reasons for this: Data backup, migration to a new server, load balancing or high availability. Copying a MySQL database is a critical process that can lead to data loss if handled incorrectly. Therefore, it is important to know the different methods and tools available for this process. In this article, we will focus on three common methods: using the mysqldump command, using phpMyAdmin, and using dbForge Studio for MySQL. Each method will be explained in detail to provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills for this important task.

Method 1: Using dbForge Studio for MySQL

dbForge Studio for MySQL is a comprehensive tool for MySQL database development and administration. It also provides an easy way to copy databases. In this section you will learn how to copy a MySQL database with dbForge Studio for MySQL.

Basic steps

      1. Click on “Copy databases” in the database menu or select the option “Copy databases” in the administration tab on the start page. This option is also available in the context menu of the database explorer. For example, you can right-click on several databases of the source and target connection, navigate to “Tasks” and then select “Copy databases”.
      2. Select the source and target connections. You can use the search bar to easily find the required database.
      3. Optionally, you can change the default settings for copying databases. For example, you can change the maximum number of simultaneous database copies or include or exclude triggers, partition clauses, etc.
      4. Select the database(s) you want to copy in the “Source” column
      5. To copy data together with the schema, tick the checkbox in the “Include data” column next to the database you want to copy.
      6. Optionally, you can select the “Delete on target if present” option to delete databases on the target connection if they duplicate the source databases.
      7. Optionally, you can change the name of the target database. To do this, click on the database name in the “Target” column of the window and enter a new name.
      8. Click to start copying the selected databases to the target server and wait until the progress is complete.

Notes and tips

Check the connections

Make sure that both the source and target connections are set up correctly to avoid errors.

Database compatibility

Make sure that the target database version is compatible with the source database.

Storage space on the target server

Check the available storage space on the target server to ensure that the database can be copied in full.

Method 2: Using phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin is a web-based tool for managing MySQL databases and provides a user-friendly interface for many database operations, including copying databases. In this section you will learn how to copy a MySQL database with phpMyAdmin.

To duplicate a MySQL database with phpMyAdmin, proceed as follows:

  1. Log in to your phpMyAdmin account.
  2. Go to the phpMyAdmin page, which is normally located in the “Databases” section.
  3. In phpMyAdmin, select the database you want to copy by clicking on it in the left sidebar.
  4. Click on the “Operations” tab in the top menu
  5. Enter the desired name for the new database in the “Copy database to” field
  6. Decide whether you want to copy both the structure and the data or just the structure and select the appropriate option.
  7. Enable the options “Create database before copying” and “Add AUTO_INCREMENT value“.
  8. Click “Go” and phpMyAdmin will create a new database with the specified name and copy the selected elements from the original database. The new database will then be listed in the left sidebar.

With these steps you can effectively duplicate a MySQL database with phpMyAdmin.

Notes and tips

Database size limit

Note that phpMyAdmin may have a size limit for importing and exporting databases. Make sure that your database does not exceed this limit.

Correct database name

The database name should comply with MySQL naming conventions to avoid problems.

Server connection

Make sure that the connection to the MySQL server is stable to avoid interruptions during the copy process.

Method 3: Using the mysqldump command

The mysqldump command is a powerful tool included in the MySQL distribution. It allows you to create a complete copy of a MySQL database or selected tables. This section explains the basic steps and options for using mysqldump.

Basic steps

  1. Checking the mysqldump installation

Open a terminal and enter

mysqldump --version

to make sure that mysqldump is installed.

  1. Creation of an SQL dump file of the existing database

Use the command

mysqldump -u [username] -p [database name] > [filename.sql]

to create a dump file of the database.

  1. Creation of the target database

Log in to MySQL and use the command

CREATE DATABASE [target database name];

to create the target database.

  1. Import the dump file into the target database

Use the command

mysql -u [username] -p [target database name] < [filename.sql]

to import the dump file into the new database.

  1. Copying a database from one MySQL server to another

To copy a database from one server to another, you can simply transfer the dump file to the target server and import it there.

Options and parameters

User name and password

The -u parameter stands for the user name and the -p parameter allows the password to be entered.

Databases and tables

You can select specific databases or tables by specifying them in the mysqldump command.

WHERE clause

With the –where option, you can select specific data records to be included in the dump file.


In this article, we have presented three common methods for copying a MySQL database: using the mysqldump command, using phpMyAdmin and using dbForge Studio for MySQL. Each method has its own advantages and limitations. While mysqldump is suitable for users who are familiar with the command line, phpMyAdmin offers a user-friendly web interface that is particularly suitable for beginners. dbForge Studio for MySQL is a comprehensive solution that is ideal for developers who need to perform a variety of database administration tasks. The choice of method depends on various factors, such as your technical skills, the specific requirements of the project and the resources available.

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