DLN Episode 221 - Backup strategy

While the crew had interesting backup strategies, I think mine is worth sharing.

First is I do a home hosted sync software (on a Raspberry pi with a connected USB hard drive) which my wife and my smart phone and computers sync common stuff to. Like photos and videos, Joplin note files, and a folder called Dropbox but we don’t actually use Dropbox.

For backup we use Restic (https://restic.net/) - I learned about it on Front Page Linux and really liked its simplicity in usage but also power underneath.

So here is how it works for me:

Restic runs via cronjob on the pi every hour and takes a snapshot of what’s on the external drive.
Restic also runs every hour on all our computers in the house, syncing folders that aren’t already synced to the raspberry pi every hour. We tell restic to keep data for 7 - 30 days.

I signed up for Digital ocean and create a space for each computer. Restic uses a password for encrypting the data - each computer has its own key to the DO spaces and their own Restic password. This way if a computer is ever lost or compromised - the key for access to the DO space can be deleted ASAP, then the data can be recovered and then the space containing the compromised/lost computers backup can be deleted.

I know I don’t have 3 copies of everything, so I’m working on creating a script to sync the backups to DO space in a different region. This way the data is stored in 3 different locations at a minimum.

I have thought about hosting hard drives at a relatives house, but I am not keen on figuring out VPN / firewalls between houses. I prefer just having DO spaces in multiple regions that I control and the data is encrypted before leaving the computers.

Some might be wondering about cost. DO space is the most expensive part. But it’s only $12/month to host a copy of the backup for everything on all my computers. I presume when I replicate the data to another DO space - the cost will double to $24/month.


Thank you for sharing, love hearing about people’s setups. I’m still wrestling with my own backup strategy.

If you’re up for sharing i’d be very interested in how that script pans out. You could also post it here as a rolling project if you’d like inspiration/assistance.


Ah yes, backups. I’m struggling with that too.
I have several machines to back up and for now, i just use an external hard drive (or drives), and manually backup each system as i go along. Nothing automated or anything, because they’re not on 24/7.


Replying here mostly so I can see other people’s strategy’s as well. As mentioned in another of my posts, I’m working on my new server setup, and part of that will be for backups. For now, I’ve just done rsync into a USER_DATE folder onto an external HDD. That’s not how you’re supposed to do rsync, I learned later, so over the course of the past few months I’ve combined several of the backups and looked for duplicate files using fdupes which works great.

I’m thinking I’ll stick with this plan. I’ll add NextCloud to the server, then set my phone to sync photos/contacts there, and just rsync my computer to external drive when I think about it, and do the server at the same time.

The hardest thing is to find something that works and not so complicated.


Urbackup is one of my favourites. The client runs on all the PCs in the house and the server just manages backups as needed on both Linux and Windows PCs.

The kids can be playing a game and not even notice that a backup is running in the background. It just works. It also has a nice web interface to manage it.



We have a Synology NAS and all our files (docs, music, video,…) and data (calendar, contacts,…) are shared from it. The NAS is backed up every month on an external drive I keep at work. I still have to look for an online solution but I feel it’s a bit overkill for us.

Next step is to set up a backup of the Linux and Windows computers (OS and settings) on the NAS as well. But we are in no rush as reinstalling is not worst case scenario for us as our computers are not work related. The phones and tablets were saved via iCloud but it takes way too much space so it’s also in the plans to use the NAS as backup.


@Oldschool, Synology HyperBackup to either BackBlaze B2 or Amazon S3 works great. Been using it for several years here.


Definitely not Amazon :sweat_smile: but I’ll look into Blaze. Thanks for the tips !


I use “Back in Time” for my “offline” backups. I pull those weekly. Otherwise, I can lose any 3 computers and not lose my data with active synchronization between them. Thanks Syncthing! I have been meaning to try some other things but I am just not quite there yet. What I have works well enough and I think I am at my limit of new things to try in that regard, for the time being.


Of course as Dutchman I have the cheapest backup and recovery system in the world, it is based on the remains of a 2003 HP D530 SFF and it has:

  • Pentium 4 HT (3.0 GHz)
  • 4 x 512MB DDR
  • 2 x IDE HDD (3.5"; 250 + 320 GB)
  • 2 x SATA-1 HDD (2.5"; 2 x 320 GB)
  • an original Compaq Evo Tower with Windows 98SE stickers
  • a new $15 xTech power supply (600W; 24 and 4 pins plugs; 2 SATA and 2 Molex plugs), a perfect fit. :slight_smile:

It is in use since June 2019 and it is powered for ~1 hour/week for the weekly backup. I don’t work anymore, so I don’t need frequent backups. My hobby is related to Virtual Machines and I can always go back one week and rerun the last updates. All scripts and conky files used by Host and VMs are stored in folders and these are a normal part of the backup. All scripts for the VMs are parameterized and run from Virtualbox shared folders and they are run manually e.g after install or automatically on login.

The backup-server runs today’s released 32-bits FreeBSD 13.0 on OpenZFS 2.0. It receives the backups from Ubuntu 21.04 also on OpenZFS 2.0 :). Recovery of the stored files can be based on USB 2.0, Samba or OpenZFS’s send | ssh receive :slight_smile:

I have 3 backups Pentium (1.21 TB), laptop (1 TB r.i.p; now 160 GB and soon 2 TB) and Samsung S5 my off-site backup (64 GB for my personal stuff).

I never had any problems in the last 10 years, but this years I had two incidents:

  • a hacker coming in through the browser, asking for money, I rolled back my system to one month before his email (zfs snapshots); changed my passwords and started using the Firefox master password and containers.
  • my 1 TB SSHD of the laptop died despite having collected only a few power-on months since 2017, so currently I have only one complete backup till my 2 TB HDD arrives.

You might describe your set up as “cheap”, but it seems to be working fine! Kudos for your setup!

Also, i may not be Dutch, but at my last job i got to work with, and become friends with many Dutch folks…and not all were cheap! Lol :smiley: But, all of them were good and smart people that i am happy to consider my friends! Wees voorzichtig! :+1:

Many other Europeans think, we are going for the cheaper stuff, they call us the Chinese of Europe. Somewhat true, I like to save a buck too. Using 18 year old hardware and still running the latest ultra modern software, it is fun too. Using a 32-bits CPU with ZFS I had to switch from Linux to Unix/BSD and learn new things. Besides re-using old stuff is also good for our environment and the sea level rise :slight_smile:

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I did not know that about the Dutch. I must be a little Dutch then, because I like go for the cheap stuff, and often use older hardware too! LOL :smiley: :+1:

Seeing that i’m your neighbour (Belgie hier!), i must say i never heard that before. And i’ve spoke to many Dutch people in my lifetime.
This is the first time i’ve heard that. And never mind, it’s just common sense. If it does the job, then why not?

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