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Tools Open Source Sync WordPress

SyncDB v0.3.1

SyncDB is bash deploy script meant to take the tedium out of synchronizing local and remote versions of a WordPress site. It allows developers working in a local environment (eg. MAMP) to rapidly “push” or “pull” changes to or from their production server with a single terminal command.
SyncDB synchronizes your sites by executing a sequence of shell commands. It uses mysql and mysqldump for your database, rsync for your uploads folder, and leaves it up to you to synchronize your themes, plugins, etc (I use git for this).
Search and replacing the site URLs in the database is handled by the CLI version of InterConnect IT’s invaluable WordPress Search and Replace Tool.
After initial script configuration, you’ll be able to migrate your entire WordPress database and uploads folder by running SyncDB from the command line like so:


No more FTP programs, no more PHPMyAdmin, no more tears. SyncDB don’t mess around.


  1. Copy syncdb to the root of your site and make sure it’s executable (chmod +x syncdb).

    • This is important, as the script must be located in the same folder as your wp-config.php (and your local-config.php, if you’re doing it the smart way (Mark Jaquith’s WP-Skeleton).
  2. Copy syncdb-config to the same location and configure it.

    • This step involves manually editing the variables in the config file using your favorite text editor. This has to be done once for each local/remote site pair. All the settings are documented via comments.
  3. Run syncdb command from the command line: ./syncdb [command]

SyncDB works in either direction. It can “push” your changes to the remote server, or “pull” updates from it.
To push, run:



./syncdb push

To pull, run:

./syncdb pull

For finer control, you can tell SyncDB to execute only the command of your choosing by passing the function name as an argument. See List of Commands below.

List of Commands

Below is a list of all of SyncDB’s commands. They are meant to be passed one at a time like so:

./syncdb backup_local_db

All commands are meant to be executed locally, unless noted with (remote only).

  • push (default)

    • Execute the following sequence of commands:
      • test_ssh()
      • backup_local_db()
      • upload_local_db()
      • upload_script()
      • do_remote_backup()
      • do_remote_replace()
      • do_search_replace_remote()
      • rsync_push()
  • pull

    • Execute the following sequence of commands:
      • test_ssh()
      • upload_script()
      • do_remote_backup()
      • download_remote_db()
      • backup_local_db()
      • replace_local_db()
      • search_replace_local()
      • rsync_pull()
  • help

    • prints a list of all SyncDB commands.
  • auto_update

    • Checks if a newer version of SyncDB exists on Github, and if there is, prompts the user to download it.
  • test_ssh

    • Check if the SSH connection is working.
  • backup_local_db

    • Back up the local MySQL database to latest-local.mssql.bz2 (or whatever you set $l_db_name to). Another backup dump is created with its name prepended by the current date and time. For example 20130902-1230-database.mssql.bz2.
  • upload_local_db

    • Upload the most recent local database dumpfile to the remote server.
  • upload_script

    • Upload a copy of SyncDB to your remote host’s root directory.
  • do_remote_backup

    • Login to the remote server via SSH and run backup_remote_db(), which will backup the remote MySQL database.
  • backup_remote_db

    • (remote only) Backup the remote MySQL database to latest-remote.mssql.bz2 (or whatever you set $r_db_name to). Another backup dump is created with its name prepended by the current date and time. For example 20130902-1230-database.mssql.bz2.
  • do_search_replace_remote

    • Login to remote server and execute search_replace_remote().
  • download_remote_db

    • Download the most recent remote database dump file via scp.
  • replace_local_db

    • Drop then recreate the local database. This effectively deletes all the tables.
  • do_remote_replace

    • Login to remote server and execute replace_remote_db() method.
  • replace_remote_db

    • (remote only) Drop and recreate remote database. This effectively deletes all the tables.
  • search_replace_local

    • Download the Search and Replace tools locally then execute them.
  • search_replace_remote

    • (remote only) Download the Search and Replace tools on the remote server, execute them, then delete them.
  • rsync_pull

    • Synchronize the local uploads folder with the contents of your remote uploads.
  • rsync_push

    • Synchronize the remote uploads folder with the contents of your local uploads

Complete workflow

I wrote this script due to my recurring need to migrate WordPress sites. I required a workflow which would automate the process as much as possible, with minimal intervention. This script, therefore, plays one part in my overall WordPress development workflow. Below is my set-up:


  • Mac OS X Mavericks running MAMP [optional]
  • Name-based virtual hosting enabled (eg. as opposed to localhost/mywebsite) [recommended]


  • SSH enabled [required]
  • Password-less login with SSH Keys enabled (a guide) [recommended]


  • Git-managed code using Joe Maller’s awesome Web-focused Git workflow [optional]
  • WordPress installation using Mark Jaquith’s WP-Skeleton [recommended]
    • one key benefit is that you require only one version of wp-config.php between your local and remote host. Therefore, you don’t have to modify it each time you push or pull changes. Make sure your local-config.php has been added to your .gitignore.
    • Note: another clever way to manage wp-config.php is to have one master file common to all your environments. See WordPress-Config-Bootstrap for details. SyncDB is designed to handle any of these methods.

The Model

This workflow is based on the following model. Generally speaking, there are three categories of content which make a database-driven website tick:

  1. “Code”

    • Contains: themes, scripts, plugins, config files etc…
    • Location: FTP
    • GUI Management tool: FTP program
    • Command-line Management tool: git
  2. “Media”

    • Contains: whatever is stored in your uploads directory: images, audio, video, docs etc…
    • Location: FTP
    • GUI Management tool: FTP program
    • Command-line Management tool: rsync
  3. “SQL data”

    • Contains: whatever is stored in your database: posts, pages, options, users, etc…
    • Location: MySQL database
    • GUI Management tool: PHPMyAdmin
    • Command-line Management tool: syncdb (this script)

This script handles the migration of content categories 2) and 3). Part 1), the code, is managed in a Git repository on the remote server. Once this workflow has been enabled, the complete migration process looks like this:

 git push hub master


 ./syncdb pull
 git pull hub/master



v0.3.1 (May 27, 2014)

  • Command added: auto_update. For the sake of convenience, SyncDB now automatically checks whether a new version is available and downloads it on the spot. This functionality can be disabled by setting auto_update to false in syncdb-config. Note: to take advantage of this feature you have to use the updated syncdb-config template.
  • Fixed bug preventing no_drop users (those without MySQL DROP privileges) from dropping their remote database correctly. Thanks to @marcobarbosa
  • Fixed bug which broke search_replace_local in some circumstances. The Search and Replace CLI script, in its shebang line, defaults to /usr/bin/php, but MAMP users for example need to use their own binary. If you use any PHP binary besides the default /usr/bin/php, make sure it is in your PATH, otherwise your local search and replace will fail (go which php to find out).

v0.3 (May 22, 2014)

  • SyncDB now supports wp-config.php files with multiple environments. For example WordPress-Config-Bootstrap
  • SyncDB now requires an external config file, syncdb-config, in order to run. This separation of user preferences from the core script will make it easier to update SyncDB as new versions are released.
  • This release hasn’t seen much testing yet. If it’s acting buggy you can revert back to a more stable version by going git checkout v0.2.2.
  • Special thanks to @dvclmn and @joshuaiz

v0.22 (May 2, 2014)

  • fixed in-script documentation (added trailing slash to wp-content/uploads/). thanks to @Yeow-Meng
  • made wp-content/uploads/ the default uploads path (since this seems to be the most common usage)

v0.21 (Apr 4, 2014)

  • fixed bug which would cause the search and replace to fail if server’s PHP binary was located anywhere besides /usr/bin/php
  • added PHP auto-detection. No need to manually input your server’s php-cli path any more.
  • SQL password now hidden when outputting to terminal, for security purposes
  • thanks to @joshuaiz for the help

v0.2 (Mar 16, 2014)

  • added help command for easy reference to commands
  • in case an invalid argument is supplied on the command line, list of valid commands is output
  • updated InterConnect IT’s WordPress Search and Replace Tool to version 3.0.0 BETA
  • fixed some bugs with test conditions
  • changed shebang line to /bin/bash for Ubuntu compatibility
  • big thanks to @markchitty and @joshuaiz for the contribution and help

v0.1 (Oct 2013)

  • original release

Feedback & Bugs

SyncDB may be a little edgy—it has not seen a broad range of use cases. There are billions of possible configurations—depending on your OS, your WordPress configuration, your hosting company etc…—SyncDB tries to accommodate the most common ones. We’re committed to making it as robust as possible, so if something’s not working please submit an issue.
SyncDB is presently compatible with WordPress, but in principle should work with Drupal, Joomla, etc… Right now it scrapes the wp-config.php file for database login info. All that would be required to support those other CMS’s would be to specify the config file and grep it accordingly.
Suggestions and pull-requests are welcome.


We accept no responsibility for any data loss suffered from the use of SyncDB. Use at your own risk. SyncDB explicitly backs up your SQL databases before making any changes, but you’ll need basic familiarity with the shell in order to revert things should anything go awry.