articles tagged with backup

The poor man's backup, backup plan

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My primary backup is Time Machine set to auto-backup my entire machine to a single 1TB drive (including all my iTunes media and applications). This way I can do a full restore if I ever need to. BUT, what happens when that drive fails? I needed a remote, off-site backup for my essential files. The stuff I just couldn’t afford to loose if Time Machine died.

I wanted a solution that was simple, fast, efficient (incremental and deletes redundant files), secure and wouldn’t cost the earth. After researching different options (MobileMe, Dropbox, S3, iDrive, mozy) I found that I could simply use rSync over SSH with my Dreamhost. Here’s how …

I already use Dreamhost to host some legacy websites, and they offer unlimited storage space on even their cheapest hosting plan. Per/Gb its way more cost effective than Amazon S3. I setup the following bash script to run these rsync commands on a daily cron interval (where is my remote dreamhost server)


# send via rsync using SSH
rsync -azP --delete --delete-excluded --exclude-from=/Users/matt/.rsync_exclude.txt /Users/matt/Documents
rsync -azP --delete --delete-excluded --exclude-from=/Users/matt/.rsync_exclude.txt /Users/matt/Sites
rsync -azP --delete --delete-excluded --exclude-from=/Users/matt/.rsync_exclude.txt /Users/matt/work
rsync -azP --delete --delete-excluded --exclude-from=/Users/matt/.rsync_exclude.txt /Users/matt/resources
rsync -azP --delete --delete-excluded --exclude-from=/Users/matt/.rsync_exclude.txt /Users/matt/workbench

I have a separate rsync_backup user setup on my Dreamhost account using an SSH key pair without passphrase. Make sure sure that ~/rsync_backup exists on your remote server before running this. The .rsync_exclude.txt file simply contains a list of file patterns to exlude from backups, mine looks like this;

Steam Content

rSync will use SSH by default when sending your data (so its encrypted over the wire). However, you should remember that your backed up data (on the remote machine) is NOT encrypted, it is only as secure as the server it resides on.

So rSync is cheap, simple, fast (you can tweak SSH options to make it faster/slower), incremental and secure. Here’s a few helpful links on configuring your rSync backups further.

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