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Sync or import database content to a VIP Local Development Environment

Database content can be imported or synced to a running VIP Local Development Environment. Before syncing or importing content, It is recommended to first confirm that the VIP Local Development Environment is up and running as expected. Configuring the environment to load locally cloned application code prior to adding data can also help prevent unexpected errors .


On the user’s local machine:

  • A VIP Local Development Environment has been successfully created and is in a running state.
  • To sync a database of a VIP Platform environment to a VIP Local Development Environment, a user must have at minimum an Org admin role or an App admin role for that application.

Sync a database

As an alternative to importing a SQL database file, a VIP Platform environment’s database can be synced to a running VIP Local Development Environment with the VIP-CLI command: vip dev-env sync sql.

For example, to sync the database of the “example-app” application’s develop environment to a local environment with the --slug value example-site:

vip @example-app.develop dev-env sync sql --slug=example-site

WordPress multisite

When syncing a SQL database file from a WordPress multisite, each network site on the local environment will automatically be assigned a site URL that follows the pattern: [SITE_ID].[SLUG]

For example, a network site with ID 14 that is synced to a local environment with the --slug value example will have the site URL:

Import a SQL database file

Full or partial SQL database files can be imported to a running VIP Local Development Environment.

Full SQL database backups for VIP Platform environments can be downloaded from the VIP Dashboard or exported with VIP-CLI. Backup files include custom tables, and are compatible with the VIP Local Development Environment.

  • The SQL file can include all tables from the database of a WordPress single site or multisite install, or only a specific table—or set of tables—from that database.
  • The database table structure of WordPress multisites differs from the structure of single sites. To work as expected, a SQL file that originated from a multisite install should be imported to a VIP Local Development Environment that was created as a multisite.

To import, a SQL database file (e.g. downloaded from Database Backups) must already be located on the local machine under the home directory of the current user. The SQL database file can either be archived or unarchived when imported.

1. Identify the absolute local path of the SQL file

Example local paths for a SQL file named file.sql for a current user named “example-user”:

macOS: /Users/example-user/file.sql
Windows: C:\Users\example-user\file.sql
Ubuntu: /home/example-user/file.sql

2. Validate the SQL file

Verify that the SQL database file is correctly formatted for import with the vip import validate-sql VIP-CLI command.

The SQL database file must be unarchived (decompressed) in order to run the vip import validate-sql command against it.

This example command is using the absolute local path from the macOS example in the previous step:

vip import validate-sql /Users/example-user/file.sql

Any errors reported by the validate-sql command must be resolved before importing the SQL file to the local environment.

3. Import the SQL file

Use the vip dev-env import sql command to import a SQL database file to a running local environment.

As part of the import process, the vip dev-env import sql command will automatically:

  • Clear the object cache.
  • Add a WordPress user with an Admin role and default login credentials to all local environment sites.

In this example, the command is importing a SQL database named file.sql to a local environment with an assigned --slug value example-site:

vip dev-env import sql /Users/example-user/file.sql --slug=example-site

During the import process, a --search-replace operation should be run to replace domain values in the SQL file with the domain of the local development environment.

In this example, the value is replaced with during the import of file.sql to the local environment:

vip dev-env import sql /Users/example-user/file.sql --slug=example-site --search-replace=","

Database file imports for multisites

When importing a SQL database file exported from a WordPress multisite, the import command should include a --search-replace operation for every network site that is included in the database.

Subdomains and subdirectories

It is possible for the Site Address URL of a network site in the database to be either a subdomain or a subdirectory format.

  • By default, the database of a newly created local multisite environment has a subdomain structure. When importing a database file to a local environment with a subdomain structure, use the --search-replace operation to replace the domain values of every network site with a subdomain value of
    For example: --search-replace="," and --search-replace=","
  • To import network sites to the local environment with a subdirectory structure, the local environment must be created as a multisite with a subdirectory structure by including --multisite=subdirectory in the vip dev-env create command. When importing a database file to a local environment with a subdirectory structure, the --search-replace operation can be used to replace the domain values of every network site with either a subdirectory or a subdomain value of
    For example: --search-replace="," and --search-replace=","

Order of –search-replace operations

The order in which --search-replace operations are run can make a difference in the outcome. If --search-replace="," is run before --search-replace=",", the result will be:

  • a site with the domain
  • a site with the domain
  • and no site with the domain

Using WP-CLI commands to run additional search-replace operations may be necessary after an import is complete. To accurately run a search-replace operation, the command structure will depend on whether the search-replace is targeting an entire single site, multisite, or specific tables.

Example with subdomains and subdirectories

In this example:

  • Occurrences of a network site’s subdirectory domain will be replaced with a sub-subdomain structure
  •, an example domain value for site ID 1, will be replaced with
  • Occurrences of another network site’s domain will be replaced with

All three --search-replace operations are included within a single import command in a specific order to achieve the expected results:

vip dev-env import sql /Users/example-user/file.sql --slug=example-site --search-replace="," --search-replace="," --search-replace=","

Last updated: June 25, 2024

Relevant to

  • WordPress