Some tools are so amazing, but unfortunately, if no one ever talks about them, many folks never hear of them. One of those programs is BackupPC. You may have heard Kyle Rankin and myself talk about BackupPC on the Linux Journal Insider podcast, or perhaps you've seen us write about it here in Linux Journal before. If you haven't checked it out, you owe it to yourself to do so. BackupPC has some great features:

  • Hard drive-based backups, no tape swapping.

  • Support for NFS, SSH, SMB and rsync.

  • Hard linking to save valuable disk space.

  • Individual files can be restored in place in real time.

  • Powerful and simple Web interface.

  • E-mail notification on errors.

  • Free!

BackupPC is one of those projects that doesn't get updated terribly often. It doesn't have flashy graphics. It doesn't require constant maintenance. It just works, and it works well. Check it out:


Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.


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Mac backup too?

Dr. Jones's picture

I have to backup data from winxp pro, linux and mac machines. Will this do the trick for all, including the Mac, or not yet?


p2bc's picture

A quick google gave me this guide.

No response to url

Dr. Jones's picture

I don't know if the URL above is inaccurate or whether it's my server, but I can't access it.

Don't know what to say...

p2bc's picture

The link works just fine for me.

Here is the main section from that same site that links to Macs specifically. Not sure it will change anything for you.

I'll ask you a favor

Eduardo's picture

I'd like to give backuppc a try. But I'm trying to do it on Mandriva 2010.2.

After, download and install Backuppc, I've made some basic configuration inside /ect/ Unfortunately I'm unable to do anything else as "...Setting up "User" and/or backup sources hosts[...]with like I said the improved host and config GUI webaccess...". As p2bs said he did. Since the Web GUI doesn't show me the functions.
If there are any one who could give me a little help???

Thanks in advance.

Config / Host files

p2bc's picture

The web access edits the main files which are (on Ubuntu);

to add users you can manually add them to the host file in the following format.

host dhcp user moreUsers
hostname1 0 user1 anotheruser,athirduser
hostname1 1 user2 stillanotheruser

host = Computer name
dhcp = True/False (Boolean 0/1)
user = main user of the computer and who is responsible for the backup
moreUsers = other user who can access the backups

Hope this helps.

I am going to post a tutorial from another site, that I found very helpful.
If the web admin feel it is inappropriate to link to another site, I apologize.


Eduardo's picture

Thanks p2bc I'll do it.


skogs's picture

I might have to research the significant bits between this and rsnapshot. I've deployed several servers in the last few years and I have fallen in love with simplistic but reliable rsnapshot. Hardlinks are win. If I were more professional perhaps I'd monitor the backups more often...but honestly I've had to actually use the backups a great many times...and each time it is perfect. If I ever feel the need for more monitoring I'll probably have to switch to this.

BackupPC is well worth it.

Daniel Hedblom's picture

I have used Tivoli, Arcserve, Symantec and a host of other commercial backup software before. BackupPC takes the cake in any way i can imagine compared to those.

Some people thinks the absence of a client is a drawback, i think its a godsent after having spent hours and hours mucking about with crappy clients that never ever seems to work as intended.

What about Windows shares?

Renich's picture

how do you provide access to BackupPC to your windows systems?

I'd hate the idea of sharing C:/!

And, one more thing... does it take advantage of shadow-copy? If not, every file that is open will not be backed up.

This two reasons are why I stick to bacula. Besides, it has a windows native client. I remember BackupPC has some mini-linux-in-windows thingy to enable rsync on it, right?... this sounds a bit more complicated...

Anyway, I like backuppc if on a linux environ only... but not on mixed...

Bacula has proven better here... with HDD based backup and all:

# Example multi-file config

It's hard to be free... but I love to struggle. Love isn't asked for; it's just given. Respect isn't asked for; it's earned!
Renich Bon Ciric

Backuppc for windows

Bernhard's picture

The beauty of backuppc lies in that you don't have to touch the systems it backs up.

For windows, being able to access the administrative shared (c$, etc) with username and password is enough. The limitations of this approach are of course that backuppc can't backup files which are open. But it's not intended to do a bare-metal recovery, for that you need imaging software anyway.

I agree with you that backuppc works even better for linux systems (using rsync is really fast), but it's nice to be able to just add some windows workstations and laptops to the backup server config and know that they are taken care of. Ah and don't forget that you can give users direct access to the backups for their machine, so they can restore files without asking your for help.

I will have to try out bacula some time, but as far as i know it does not pool files as efficiently as backuppc does. And i would hate to use 7TB instead of 1TB for my backups (which is what i currently use).

Thanks for the input!

Renich's picture

Well, I agree on the pooling part.

I think BackupPC could be smarter in using shadow-copy. If it does, I will use it a lot more than now.

You do have client access to their own bakcups in Bacula ;). They have their own client/console for win and mac too.

Anyway, thanks a lot for replying. I didn't know about these administrative shares thingy.

It's hard to be free... but I love to struggle. Love isn't asked for; it's just given. Respect isn't asked for; it's earned!
Renich Bon Ciric


Recep ivedik izle's picture

There were backup hard-drives back in the day. Not there are backup computers lol :D

I have to agree

p2bc's picture

I looked into it after reading about it is a recent issue LJ.
Its website is pretty informative with its documentation.(

I found a tutorial online on how to set it up. Unfortunately the article is from Jan 2007 (version 2.x.x), and there have been some improvements to the config and host interface in version 3.1.x (Ubuntu repo) and the current version 3.2.0 (current), but the article was still useful and helpful.

I had it up and running in 15 min, it actually took longer to figure out why the VM I used to set it up with could not access the network with a static IP address than it did get the system installed from the Ubuntu repo.

Setting up "User" and/or backup sources hosts was so easy with like I said the improved host and config GUI webaccess.

It would be great is someone could do an updated or current article on the software, illustrating the basic and maybe some more advance features. Hint hint, nudge nudge :o)

Has my vote for useful/must have program.

I'd Like To Subscribe...

Shawn Powers's picture

I like your ideas, and I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter. :)

Seriously though, I need to set up a new backup machine here at work. Give me a couple weeks for the drives to arrive, and I'll document the process.

Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.


Erlend Davidson's picture

I've never used it, but I hardly got the impression from what I've read that it's amazing. Most of the protocols (SSH, smb, FTP) will be available to any disk-to-disk backup software if you install and use FUSE filesystems (i.e. sshfs). Hard-linking is available to rsnapshot (and a couple of others).

My favourite backup program at the moment is 'dar'. It supports so much and goes quite fast.

Worth Considering

Anonymous's picture

It certainly doesn't do anything new, but it does bring some nice features together. Some benefits I've found:

- backing up a bunch of systems in a mixed environment without requiring a dedicated client program

- easy monitoring and administration to the point that many non techincal users can browse and restore files

I tend to think of it as rsnapshot with a web interface and Windows support. I'm not sure if it qualifies as "amazing" but its definitely a nice utility and worth looking at.

backuppc IS amazing

Bernhard Brunner's picture

Backuppc is amazing, and can't be compared to simple tools like dar.

Let me just give you the numbers: I have backuppc backing up 14 systems, part of them in the land, some of then offsite like webservers. Backuppc does this just magically, i don't even have to monitor it because it is attached to the nagios system monitoring and if anything is not normal, it see it right away.

Ah, one last thing:
I have 125 full backups of total size 5530.48GB, which backuppc stores in a mere 681.07GB of disk space. This is done by pooling and compressing. So, since i have several windows machines of the same version, all those identical files will just take up space once. This makes it possible to just back up everything, including the windows and program directory, without worrying about wasted disk space or transfer time.

I would really call this an amazing piece of software, one i could not want to do without.

New Features

Schoysi's picture

And Backuppc also supports FTP in its newer Version!
Working with the program for a few years now and it works fine!