Performing point-in-time recovery in MySQL


Hey there, fellow MySQL enthusiasts! If you’re looking to restore your MySQL database to a specific point in time, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll be diving into the magical world of point-in-time recovery (PITR) in MySQL, complete with examples and some cool tips to help you get the job done like a pro. Let’s get started!

Understanding Point-in-Time Recovery (PITR)

PITR is a super useful technique that allows you to recover your database to an exact moment in time, which can be a lifesaver when dealing with data loss, corruption, or other catastrophes. Imagine being able to hop into a time machine and revert your database to the moment right before disaster struck—how cool is that?

Preparing for PITR

Before you can perform a PITR, you need to have a few things in place:

  • A full backup of your database
  • Binary logs (binlogs) for the period you want to recover

To ensure you’re prepared for a PITR, it’s crucial to regularly back up your database and enable binary logging.

Creating a Full Backup

To create a full backup of your database, you can use the mysqldump command. Here’s an example of how to create a backup of the “my_database” database:

mysqldump -u root -p --single-transaction --routines --triggers my_database > my_database_backup.sql

You’ll be prompted to enter your MySQL root password, and then the backup will be created in the specified file.

Enabling Binary Logging

To enable binary logging, add the following lines to your MySQL configuration file (my.cnf or my.ini):


Restart MySQL to apply the changes, and you’re good to go! MySQL will now start logging all changes to your database in binary log files.

Performing a Point-in-Time Recovery

Alright, now that you’ve got your backup and binary logs, let’s get down to the actual PITR process. It involves two main steps:

  1. Restoring the full backup
  2. Applying binary logs up to the desired point in time

Restoring the Full Backup

To restore the full backup, you’ll need to use the mysql command. First, create an empty database with the same name as the original:

mysql -u root -p -e "CREATE DATABASE my_database;"

Next, restore the backup into the new database:

mysql -u root -p my_database < my_database_backup.sql

You’ve now restored your database to the state it was in when the backup was created. But we’re not done yet—we need to apply the binary logs!

Applying Binary Logs

To apply the binary logs, you’ll use the mysqlbinlog command along with a --stop-datetime option to specify the exact point in time to which you want to recover. Here’s an example:

mysqlbinlog --stop-datetime="2023-03-21 12:34:56" /path/to/mysql-bin.000001 /path/to/mysql-bin.000002 | mysql -u root -p

In this example, replace the paths with the actual paths to your binary log files and set the --stop-datetime value to the desired point in time.

And that’s it! Your database has now been recovered to the specified point in time. Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done!

Common PITR Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Even though PITR is a fantastic tool, there are a few pitfalls you need to watch out for. Let’s discuss some common issues and how to avoid them.

Incomplete Binary Logs

If you’re missing binary logs for the period you want to recover, you won’t be able to perform a PITR. To avoid this issue, make sure you enable binary logging and store the logs securely. It’s also a good idea to monitor your logs regularly to ensure they’re being created and maintained as expected.

Timezone Confusion

When specifying the --stop-datetime value, make sure you consider the timezone of your MySQL server. If you accidentally use your local timezone instead of the server’s timezone, your PITR might not give you the results you expect. To avoid confusion, always double-check the timezone settings on your MySQL server.

Applying Logs in the Wrong Order

When applying binary logs, it’s crucial to apply them in the correct order. Applying logs out of order can lead to an inconsistent database state. To avoid this problem, always apply logs in the order they were generated. You can find this information in the binary log filenames, as MySQL automatically increments the log number.

Automating Point-in-Time Recovery

If you want to simplify the PITR process and reduce the risk of human error, you can automate the process using tools and scripts. One popular tool for automating PITR is Percona XtraBackup. It’s a free, open-source tool that works seamlessly with MySQL and offers advanced backup and recovery features.

Wrapping Up

And there you have it, folks! You’re now equipped with the knowledge and skills to perform point-in-time recovery in MySQL like a champ. Remember to always maintain regular backups, enable binary logging, and apply logs in the correct order to ensure a smooth and successful PITR process.

As always, practice makes perfect—so don’t be afraid to experiment with PITR in a safe, non-production environment to build confidence and refine your skills. Good luck, and happy recovering!

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