For projects involving small to medium sized databases one may require to copy the remote (or production) database onto local environment. I was earlier doing this for my production application using custom pg_dump and then restoring with pg_restore. It was relatively straightforward but still consumed good amount of time. I wanted to automate this using capistrano and this is how I did it
You should note that this is extremely fast because it executes the command on the VPS - usually EC2 which has amazing internet speeds. And then copies it over scp as a single file. You can also add a compression step using the --format option in the pg_dump.
Hope this was helpful!
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