Website Snapshots using Drush for Drupal

I’ve previously mentioned Drush in my blog posts. Another interesting feature of drush is to support archival backup and restoration of a complete drupal website (or Drupal sub-site) with a simple set of commands.

drush archive-dump

Drush Aliases: ard, archive-backup, arb

This backs up your code, files and database to a single .tar.gz file. To see the full list of options for this command issue: drush help arb

I personally find it helpful to add the flag –description with a useful bit of text, for example:

drush arb –description=”Snapshot of site after live window availability closing on 06-11-2013”

You could easily use this to backup your site or prepare to move it to a production server.

Drush archive-restore

Drush Aliases: arr

This command restores a website from a (Drush) site archive. It essentially installs your code, files and database from your archive onto your live server. By default it install all Drupal sites in the file — optionally you may specify the specific site name. If needed, you may also override the database connections used within the archived site to something available locally.

To see a full list of example usage and options issue: drush help arr

This is one of my favorite Drush commands because it makes me sound like a pirate, Arrrr! haha.

An upcoming issue for Drush is to add a Permissions subcommand to fix file and folder permissions for a Drupal website on your server. I am personally watching that issue to ease my site administration overhead.

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David Gurba

I am a web programmer currently employed at UCSB. I have been developing web applications professionally for 8+ years now. For the last 5 years I’ve been actively developing websites primarily in PHP using Drupal. I have experience using LAMP and developing data driven websites for clients in aviation, higher education and e-commerce. If you’d like to contact me I can be reached at

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