Recently, a friend of mine asked me what we use for managing the backups for our clients. I mentioned that we use mysqldump running on a CRON schedule. He said that he used a paid service for managing all the servers and their backups. He mentioned it sends to an Amazon S3 bucket, and also sends a notification.

With my setup, he noted that I could be in trouble if the hard drive failed, or the site gets wiped because my backups are stored locally right beside the site itself.

I thought to myself, “Hmmm. What would help me back these files up, let me know that it is done, access them quickly, and also cost no money?”. Email + CRON. Email is a pretty reasonable solution for this.

With Email, you get the following:

  • A notification of when the backup is done
  • An “offsite” backup of the file
  • A searchable history of the files/backups
  • Forwarding of the backup to someone else
  • CC multiple accounts and have the backup available to multiple people
  • Send a copy to the client, so they can have one too

So I whipped up a script with mysqldump, curl, and CRON.

Although you can send email sendmail or mail, I opted for Mailgun. It is something we are already using, so hooking it up took no time at all. They also have an excellent API, which is faster than SMTP.

On top of the regular email features I listed above, with Mailgun, I also get:

  • read receipts
  • delivery reports
  • logging
  • web hooks (you can catch emails with individual subjects or recipients)

So, without spending any money, I can get a SaaS experience using some built-in tools.

You can see the script here:

I included some rules for the crontab settings. I used 0 0 * * 1 * which is once a week on Monday at midnight.

You can still run the script above without using CRON. Just put it somewhere on your server and run it like you normally would: ./