One of the most important responsibilities of any administrator is to make regular backups. But unlike backing up regular data, backing up databases isn't a straightforward affair. Designing an effective strategy for taking backups of production MySQL servers depends on a lot of factors. Depending on your situation, your best MySQL backup tool might be mysqldump, AutoMySQLBackup, or MySQL Workbench.
The easiest and safest way to back up a database is to shut down the MySQL server. This ensures you have a consistent copy of the data, since you don't have to worry about parts of the database being modified while it's being backed up. The backups themselves will be completed faster than on a production server, as the server isn't handling requests from other applications.