A few days ago, I decided to switch from Seafile to a different cloud backup solution. I tried Pydio at first, however I found its desktop client to be rather slow and not very intuitive. It was also quite resource intensive on my 128MB SSD-Cached VPS I have with RamNode. What I want is a easy to setup, fast, and low resource requirement backup solution. So, I did some more research, and found out that rsync might just do what I want it to.

rsync allows for quick and easy file synchronization. You can tell rsync if you want to upload files to a server, or download from one. rsync also has the ability to encrypt transfers using SSH, which is a must for me.

On RamNode, rsync came preinstalled on the CentOS 6 minimal 32bit template they offer. If your system doesn’t come with rsync preinstalled, it should be in the distributions repository for quick installation using your package manager of choice. Since rsync was already installed for me, this means the only thing I had to do was begin uploading! This was a very simple process thanks to rsync.

I was able to simply begin the backup process from my MacBook Air to my VPS. All I had to do was enter this in the terminal.

rsync -avzP /Users/username -e 'ssh' username@serversaddress:/path/to/backup/folder/location

You would replace “username” with your own local username, and server username. You would also replace “serveraddress” with the IP address, or domain name pointing to your server. The last part of the command following the colon is the path to the folder where you want your files to be stored. This path must be writable by the server user you are going to be using to connect to the server. The server user must also be allowed to login using SSH. The destination doesn’t need to be a remote location either. It can be a local folder on your system. You’d simply omit the “username@serveraddress:” part, and just supply the local path instead.

Depending on how much data your are transferring to your server, it could take only a few seconds to several hours or even days. For my upload of around 25GB - 26GB it took about 10 hours. This is mainly due to the fact that I only have a 5Mbps upload cap from my ISP. I was able to fully saturate my connection the entire time.

Overall, rsync is a fast and easy way to do backups, or simply keeping files or folders in sync.

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