Here’s how to restore a Discourse backup from the command line, without ever booting the Discourse web UI. This is handy when you’re moving servers.
- Download the latest backup file from source Discourse instance.
- The destination discourse needs to be bootstrapped (run
./discourse-setupor copy your existing
- Make sure that the destination Discourse instance is on the latest version. Update it if necessary.
SSH into the destination server, or otherwise create the backup folder there:
mkdir -p /var/discourse/shared/standalone/backups/default
Upload your backup file to the destination server.
scp /path/to/backup/backup.tar.gz firstname.lastname@example.org:/var/discourse/shared/standalone/backups/default
Of course, replace the above paths, filenames, and server names with the ones you are using – but you do want the backup file to end up in
You can also upload and download your Discourse backup file from popular web storage sites such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc – you’ll need to look up the specific command line instructions based on your preferred web storage provider.
DO NOT CHANGE THE FILENAME OF THE BACKUP! Discourse treats the backup filename as metadata, so if you change the filename, restoring will not work. Stick with the original file name.
/path/to/backup/discourse-xyz.tar.gz with the local path of your backup file, and replace
<server_ip_address> with the IP address of destination server.
If Nginx is used as reverse proxy make sure all paths to the backup are readable by the container and Nginx can read the
Access your destination server and go to the Discourse folder
Enter the Discourse Docker app container
./launcher enter app
From inside the Docker container, enable restores via
Restore the backup file
discourse restore sitename-2019-02-03-042252-v20190130013015.tar.gz
Exit the Discourse Docker app container
After the restore process is complete rebuild the destination instance.
Now is a good time to update
/var/discourse/containers/app.ymlwith full HTTPS, additional plugins or CDN configuration. Compare the
app.ymlconfiguration of both instances to make sure!
cd /var/discourse ./launcher rebuild app
That’s it. Your destination server is successfully restored.
Last Reviewed by @AlexDev on 2022-07-12T00:00:00Z