Backing up Linux computers has always been a bit of a pain. Sure, there’s Déjà Dup, a graphical wrapper for backup tool duplicity. And then there’s rsync, which is great for transferring files over SSH connections. But these tools require you to set up an FTP server (or other location) for offsite backups. Not everyone wants to do that.
When it comes to easy offsite backup methods, Linux users have traditionally gotten the short end of the stick. Luckily, this is changing as more backup services are porting their software to Linux.
Now, Linux users will be pleased to know there are a variety of online backup services that can protect their data.
Because CrashPlan is a Java-based application, it is cross-platform. It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. CrashPlan can be installed on Linux with minimal effort. All you have to do is run the install script, and you’ll be guided through the setup process.
CrashPlan comes with a handy desktop app that runs separately from the background service, so you can view the status of backups and change settings. You can quit the desktop app, and the CrashPlan service will continue to run.
CrashPlan on Linux has all the same features that make the Windows application so great. You can back up to the cloud, external hard drives, and friends computers – even if they too are running Linux.
IDrive is another online backup service that works on Linux. Backups and restores can be done via the command line, with scripts that are provided by IDrive, or with a browser-based interface. The browser interface is the easiest, and it also lets you manage backups remotely.
When logging in to the browser interface, you’ll be prompted for your local credentials, then your IDrive credentials. Then it’s just a matter of specifying a backup set, and scheduling it to run automatically. IDrive will put backups under an “/ubuntu” directory (or whatever your Linux distro is) to separate them from your other devices. Files can also be restored using the browser interface.
IDrive is well-suited for backing up servers, but it’s just as easy to back up desktop versions of Linux. Security is the same 256-bit AES encryption that protects files with other operating systems. A private encryption key can also be used for Linux backups.
Cost: $44.62/year (about $4/month)
Space: 1 TB
SpiderOak provides binaries for Debian, Fedora, and Slackware-based Linux operating systems.
After installing the binary, you’ll log in with your SpiderOak account, or create a new account. SpiderOak supports command line operation on all operating systems, and can use the –headless option to run without the graphical user interface.
Space: 1 TB
Unlimited online backup service AltDrive has an installer for Linux distributions. There is no graphical user interface; the service runs as a daemon in the background.
AltDrive includes a GUI to help with the initial setup, however. You can add folders to your backup set, schedule the backup to run on certain days of the week, or set a near-continuous backup of every 1-2 hours.
Peer-to-peer backup service Symform works on Linux. It includes binaries for Ubuntu, Fedora, and CentOS.
With Symform, you get free cloud storage space by contributing excess space on your hard drive. Users get 1 GB free for every 2 GB contributed. The maximum amount you can get is 5 TB, by contributing 10 TB.
After installation, Symform launches a “Remote Device Manager” in your browser, which lets you add folders to your account.
Symform does not support file versioning, so you would need to use a separate application to retain multiple file versions, then back them up to the Symform cloud.
For those who don’t want to contribute hard drive space, or if your contribution amount doesn’t cover your storage requirements, Symform offers paid plans starting at $10/month for 100 GB.
Space: 100 GB
Memopal is available for Linux through a Web UI. This web interface controls the Memopal daemon running in the background. You can access it at http://localhost:5876/ after installing the software.
You can add and remove folders in your backup set, as well as choose to not back up files over a certain size (under Advanced options). Memopal also lets you specify a sync folder location, so you can keep files in sync across multiple devices. Memopal uploads changed files immediately. It was very fast in my tests on Ubuntu.
After the first backup runs, a Dashboard tab will appear. This gives you an overview of the backup and sync status. You can suspend the backup, restart it, and view a detailed backup report (log).
To restore files, you’ll have to download them through the Memopal website. They’ll be compressed into a ZIP file, so this is fairly easy.
Space: 500 GB
Tresorit has instructions for installing their software on Linux.
As far as features, you can restore the previous 10 versions of files with the premium plan, and unlimited file versions with the business plan. Tresorit doesn’t let you restore deleted files – this feature is coming, apparently. So it’s not an ideal backup solution.
Space: 100 GB
What is your favorite online backup service for Linux? Share it in the comments section below!