Just a short note to heap praise on ronan and the Backup and Migrate module. For those of you who have not already discovered this aptly popular module, it allows you to easily backup your Drupal database, from inside of your Drupal site itself. Now, you might be thinking “so what, I already use the phpMyAdmin export”, but IMHO there are two big advantages of B&M.
- Out of the box, B&M is configured to exclude the data from the caches, watchdog, and other huge but non-critical tables. This makes for much smaller snapshots, that download and restore much faster. And it is adjustable if you find you need some of the excluded tables, or want to exclude more.
- You can schedule B&M to automatically take snapshots of your database at set intervals, compress them, and then cull them when the get old. Try doing that with phpMyAdmin.
The Drupal documentation is chock full of warnings to backup your database before proceed. With the Backup and Migrate module on the scene, I am sure more people are actually following this excellent advice.