This feature is available in Contao 4.13 and later.

Contao provides everything you need for a reliable database backup. Once configured, you can enjoy your good night sleep, because whatever happens to the database, you have your backups ready and can restore the latest one with just a single command!

By default, the backups are stored and managed in var/backups. The following commands are available for managing them:


Of course, the most important command. Without having a backup, we can do very little with the other commands. The simplest form of use is without any arguments:

php vendor/bin/contao-console contao:backup:create

Done. Contao will now create a backup in var/backups and add the current date and time to it. By default, it is also compressed directly to avoid wasting space on your system.

Backups always start with an arbitrary name (backup by default) and are separated from the date/time information by __. So you will have a file in var/backups which looks like this: backup__20220126153243.sql.gz.

If you want, you can change the name and thus the time yourself by specifying the complete backup name. By omitting .gz you also conveniently disable compression:

php vendor/bin/contao-console contao:backup:create my_super_backup_name__20220101000000.sql

Every time a new backup is created, Contao automatically cleans up obsolete backups. See section “Configuration” for more information.


This command lets us display the existing backups. The output should look something like this:

--------------------- ----------- ------------------------------- 
Created               Size        Name
--------------------- ----------- ------------------------------- 
2022-01-26 15:32:43   73.14 KiB   backup__20220126153243.sql.gz
--------------------- ----------- -------------------------------


This command lets you restore one of the existing backups. By default, the most recent backup is restored. However, you can also specify a specific backup:

# The most recent backup
php vendor/bin/contao-console contao:backup:restore

# Any given backup
php vendor/bin/contao-console contao:backup:restore backup__20220126153243.sql.gz

Have backups created automatically

Since Contao manages the backup directory automatically, you can use a cron job to create your backups at any time of your choice. For example, how about creating one daily at 23:10? An entry in the crontab could look like this:

10 23 * * * /path/to/system/vendor/bin/contao-console contao:backup:create


You can configure which database tables should be ignored during a backup, as well as the retention policy. The retention policy defines how long older backups remain stored on the system.

The default settings are as follows:

# config/config.yml
        ignore_tables: ['tl_crawl_queue', 'tl_log', 'tl_search', 'tl_search_index', 'tl_search_term']
        keep_max: 5
        keep_intervals: ['1D', '7D', '14D', '1M']

So the configured tables are ignored during a backup and a maximum of 5 backups are retained. However, not the most recent five, but the ones matching the keep_intervals configuration. Using keep_intervals you can define any number of intervals. For each of these intervals the oldest backup will be kept. If you have defined a cronjob that triggers a daily backup, as shown in this article, then the system will keep 5 backups by default. Namely

  1. The newest backup just created
  2. The oldest backup of the last 24 hours (1D = now - 1 day).
  3. The oldest backup of the last 7 days (7D = now - 7 days)
  4. The oldest backup of the last 14 days (14D = now - 14 days)
  5. The oldest backup of the last month (1M = now - 1 month)

The following descriptors are available:

  • Y for years
  • M for months
  • D for days
  • W for weeks
  • H for hours
  • M for minutes
  • S for seconds

Time elements (H, M and S) must be prefixed with T. Otherwise M would have a double meaning. 5 hours would therefore not be 5H but T5H.

Descriptors can also be combined: One year, two months and 5 hours would be 1Y2MT5H. Further information can be found in the PHP documentation. The documented prefix P can be omitted. This must always be added anyway, so Contao does it for you automatically.

Note that if you configure both keep_max and keep_intervals, keep_max should always be at least 1 greater than the number of keep_intervals (the newest plus the oldest per interval). keep_max always wins. It serves as a kind of safety setting, so that never more than keep_max backups are kept.