RT 4.0.25 Documentation

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RT is often a critical piece of businesses and organizations. Backups are absolutely necessary to ensure you can recover quickly from an incident.

Make sure you take backups. Make sure they work.

There are many issues that can cause broken backups, such as a max_allowed_packet too low for MySQL (in either the client or server), or encoding issues, or running out of disk space.

Make sure your backup cronjobs notify someone if they fail instead of failing silently until you need them.

Test your backups regularly to discover any unknown problems before they become an issue. You don't want to discover problems with your backups while tensely restoring from them in a critical data loss situation.


You should backup the entire RT database, although for improved speed and space you can ignore the data in the sessions table. Make sure you still get the sessions schema, however.

Database specific notes and example backup commands for each database are below. Adjust the commands as necessary for connection details such as database name (rt4 is the placeholder below), user, password, host, etc. You should put the example commands into a shell script for backup and setup a cronjob. Make sure output from cron goes to someone who reads mail! (Or into RT. :)


    ( mysqldump rt4 --tables sessions --no-data --single-transaction; \
      mysqldump rt4 --ignore-table rt4.sessions --single-transaction ) \
        | gzip > rt-`date +%Y%m%d`.sql.gz

If you're using a MySQL version older than 4.1.2 (only supported on RT 3.8.x and older), you should be also pass the --default-character-set=binary option to the second mysqldump command.

The dump will be much faster if you can connect to the MySQL server over localhost. This will use a local socket instead of the network.

If you find your backups taking far far too long to complete (this point should take quite a long time to get to on an RT database), there are some alternate solutions. Percona maintains a highly regarded hot-backup tool for MySQL called XtraBackup. If you have more resources, you can also setup replication to a slave using binary logs and backup from there as necessary. This not only duplicates the data, but lets you take backups without putting load on your production server.


    ( pg_dump rt4 --table=sessions --schema-only; \
      pg_dump rt4 --exclude-table=sessions ) \
        | gzip > rt-`date +%Y%m%d`.sql.gz


You will want to back up, at the very least, the following directories and files:


RT's source code, configuration, GPG data, and plugins. Your install location may be different, of course.

You can omit var/mason_data and var/session_data if you'd like since those are temporary caches. Don't omit all of var/ however as it may contain important GPG data.

Webserver configuration

Often /etc/httpd or /etc/apache2. This will depend on your OS, web server, and internal configuration standards.


Your incoming mail aliases mapping addresses to queues.

Mail server configuration

If you're running an MTA like Postfix, Exim, SendMail, or qmail, you'll want to backup their configuration files to minimize restore time. "Lightweight" mail handling programs like fetchmail, msmtp, and ssmtp will also have configuration files, although usually not as many nor as complex. You'll still want to back them up.

The location of these files is highly dependent on what software you're using.

Crontab containing RT's cronjobs

This may be /etc/crontab, /etc/cron.d/rt, a user-specific crontab file (crontab -l $USER), or some other file altogether. Even if you only have the default cronjobs in place, it's one less piece to forget during a restore. If you have custom rt-crontool invocations, you don't want to have to recreate those.

Simply saving a tarball should be sufficient, with something like:

    tar czvpf rt-backup-`date +%Y%m%d`.tar.gz /opt/rt4 /etc/aliases /etc/httpd ...

Be sure to include all the directories and files you enumerated above!

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