How to back up files periodically using rsnapshot and NFS in Ubuntu Linux

rsnapshot is a utility that uses rsync to synchronize files between two directories. rsnapshot makes it easier for system admin to backup crucial system data files regularly with minimal bandwidth and effort.

This guide assumes that you’ve already installed nfs-client and rsnapshot via “apt-get” utility in your Debian/Ubuntu Linux system.

The backup server is connected in the same LAN as the main computer. The backup server is mounted as NFS on the main computer, ip address of the backup server is

Step 1: Create a script to mount backup server filesystem
This is to ensure that the backup server is available at least hourly (or daily, depending on your requirements), save the file as “”

File content:

mount  /media/backup/

Step 2: Ensure the mount script is run hourly

sudo cp /etc/cron.hourly
sudo chmod a+x /etc/cron.hourly/

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How to use rsync to backup and synchronize files to USB drive

Portable USB drive (sometimes called pendrive) has gained popularity as a medium for storing documents. Computer users would work on the files that they store on the usb drive and occasionally would copy them on their computer, or vice versa.

However this would cause problems if there’s a lot of files being worked on and transfered between usb drive and computers. Valuable time might be lost solely for identifying which of the files are more recent and need to be updated.

Fortunately there’s ‘rsync’, a tool which can be used to synchronize files between the computer and usb drive. Assuming you use Debian or Ubuntu, you only need to start ‘synaptic’ and select ‘rsync’ package. Once installed, start the terminal application and you can begin synchronizing the files using this command

$ rsync -r -vv /home/username/Documents/ /media/your_usb_drive

The general format of rsync command is :

$ rsync -r -vv <local document directory> <remote backup directory>

rsync only updates file which has been changed and would save time and precious harddisk space from maintaining duplicate files.

A Windows version is also available at :