Our system is actually pretty typical for a shared hosting setup, really. It sounds like you may be more used to having your own server, or having access to dedicated hardware. We can't allow customers to have direct access to MySQL data files as they are A) shared between customers, meaning that you'd have access to other peoples' files too and B) are on another server entirely (one that is dedicated to nothing else other than serving MySQL databases).
Probably what you want to do is export your existing database using 'mysqldump' and then re-import it.
Be sure to supply the '-h' flag and your database hostname. A common error occurs when people don't do this and end up attempting to connect to a database server on the same machine that doesn't exist.
- Jeff @ DreamHost
- DH Discussion Forum Admin