I have a local site and a development site. I want to replace my development site with my local site. I used the Backup and Migrate module to backup the development site into a .gz file. All good. But when I did the same again with the local environment, it came back as a .tar file, no matter which compression option I chose.

When I tried to restore onto the development site using the local site's tarball, it specified it needs a .gz or .zip file. So I ran:

tar -cvzf

This time, it came back with this error:

Unable to restore from file /tmp/backup_migrate_vbDBRs.0.1.1-2015-01-12t17-23-50.sitearchive.tar because a tar file can't be restored to this database.

How can I correctly restore a backup from my local site onto the development site. Or is this method completely wrong and I should be doing something else, like creating a new site from scratch and restoring that?

  • A tat file is just a "packed" file containing one or more files, which are not compressed (gzip are). Looks like an issue on the module. Try compressing the tar file into gzip.
    – AKS
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 11:16
  • @AyeshK, thanks for your idea, but I did what you suggested already with tar -cvzf which turns it into a .tar.gz file, and it came back with the 'Unable to restore...' error. Any more ideas?
    – dayuloli
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 15:18
  • I'm afraid that the problem isn't with the suffix. I used the Backup & Migrate module to download the db (also full site) in various formats, including zip. It won't accept any of these styles -- and it failed even when I copied the various files to the server's backup folder (so I used the option "Restore from saved backups" rather than "from uploaded file").
    – Chef Matt
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 0:45
  • Have you tried using phpmyadmin export and import?
    – No Sssweat
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 1:00

1 Answer 1


This is not an issue with the module.

The most likely cause of the problem is that your local system is missing gzip, so the backup and migrate module is unable to turn the tar-file into a gzipped tar file.

The command to do that is not tar -cvzf (which you've tried), but gzip. I.e.:


This should produce a valid, but if you try this on the local system, it will probably fail telling you that it can't locate gzip.

The best fix would be to install gzip on the local system.

Alternatively, you may export the file to some system that has gzip, and do the gizipping there.

  • Thank you for you answer, I will test this out when I'm back at work!
    – dayuloli
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 3:47

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