How to Backup Files Using RDiff Backup on Linux

Looking for a file backup solution for your Linux system? Well, there are many great backup software available for Linux. One of my favorite among them is the diff backup. Rdiff is a command-line backup tool for Linux that you can use to back up your files to both local and remote backup storage. It’s not a fancy kind of backup software but it has a great performance to get the things done efficiently.

Main Rdiff Features

  1. Create Mirror. Rdiff-backup will create exact copy of your source directory. In case your source directory crashes, you can easily mount and gain all your files back from the backup.
  2. Incremental Backup. Rdiff-backup will not create a traditional mirror backup. It will keeps the incremental backup of your files. It will also save you a lot of storage/space compared to full backup.
  3. Bandwidth Efficient. This Linux backup software utilize librsyncl which is known as a bandwidth efficient tool for backup.

For more information about the features of Rdiff, please visit their official website.

Install rdiff-backup on Ubuntu, Debian and Linux Mint

You can install rdiff-backup on Debian based Linux such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint using this command.

sudo apt install rdiff-backup

How to Use rdiff-backup to backup your files

Backup to local directory

If you want to backup to a local directory, simply use the following syntax

rdiff-backup source destination

For example, I would like to backup my home directory to a folder /backup. So, the full command will looks like this

rdiff-backup /home/dhani/ /backup

Backup to Remote directory via SSH

The following scenario will backup to the remote directory via SSH. If you want to backup to a remote Linux PC, make sure you also have rdiff-backup installed on your remote PC.

rdiff-backup source hostname::/destination

For example:

rdiff-backup /home/dhani/

Backup from remote directory to local directory

Same as backing up from local to remote directory, both PC or system must have rdiff-backup installed. To backup from remote to local directory, use this syntax

user@remote-host://source-dir local-dir

Example: /backup-website

The command will backup the remote directory (/var/www) to my local directory /backup-website.

How to Restore Data

Restoring data from the backup storage is also pretty simple.

Restore from a local backup

To restore from a local backup, we can use the cp command as follow:

cp -a backup-dir restore-dir

For example:

cp -a /backup-test /temp

This will restore from the folder /backup-test to /temp folder.

Backup from a Remote location via SSH

The following scenario will restore the data from a remote location to a local folder. In this case, we cannot use cp command to copy the files from a different machine. So, we will use the rdiff-backup command to restore files.

rdiff-backup --restore-as-of now local-dir/file

Please note that the option –restore-as-of will initiate the restore command. And “now” option will restore from the most recent backup.

For more information, please visit the official rdiff-backup documentation.

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