7 Best Free/Open-source Backup Software for Linux

Backup Software for Linux: A computer application utilized to perform a complete backup by duplicating the original source of data is called backup software. Obviously, the main purpose of backup software is to create order out of chaos by recovering essential files in the event of a disaster. Some of the popular backup programs are sql, remote, and offsite backup software.

If you are using Linux, there are plenty of backup software to choose from. I have here a list of some of the best free and open source backup software that you may want to check out.

Time Vault

Time Vault is a GNOME-based Linux-equivalent to Time Machine from Apple. Like many backup utilities, it creates incremental backups of files that can be restored at a later date. Its snapshots are copies of a directory at a certain point in time. Snapshots use very little space for the files that haven't changed since the last snapshot was made. This is because instead of backing up the entire unchanged file, snapshots use hard links that point to the existing backup of the unchanged file.

Clonezilla is an open source clone of Symantec Ghost Corporate Edition. It is based on DRBL, Partition Image, ntfsclone, partclone, and udpcast that will allow you to do bare metal backup and recovery. Two types of Clonezilla are available, Clonezilla live and Clonezilla SE (server edition). Clonezilla live is suitable for single machine backup and restore. While Clonezilla SE is for massive deployment, it can clone many computers simultaneously.

Duplicity backs directories by producing encrypted tar-format volumes and uploading them to a remote or local file server. Because duplicity uses librsync, the incremental archives are space efficient and only record the parts of files that have changed since the last backup. Because duplicity uses GnuPG to encrypt and/or sign these archives, they will be safe from spying and/or modification by the server.


Bacula is an open source, enterprise level computer backup system for heterogeneous networks. It is designed to automate tasks that had often required intervention from a systems administrator or computer operator. Bacula supports Linux, UNIX and Windows backup clients, and a range of professional backup devices including tape libraries. Administrators and operators can configure the system via a command line console, GUI or web interface; its back-end is a catalog of information stored by MySQL, PostgreSQL, or SQLite.


AMANDA (Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver) is a backup system that allows the administrator to set up a single master backup server to back up multiple hosts over network to tape drives/changers or disks or optical media. Amanda uses native dump and/or GNU tar facilities and can back up a large number of workstations running multiple versions of Unix.

rsync is an open source utility that synchronizes files and directories from one location to another while minimizing data transfer using delta encoding when appropriate. An important feature of rsync not found in most similar programs/protocols is that the mirroring takes place with only one transmission in each direction. rsync can copy or display directory contents and copy files, optionally using compression and recursion.


FlyBack is based on rsync and modeled loosely after Apple's Time Machine. Like many rsync-based backup utilities, it creates incremental backups of files which can be restored at a later date. FlyBack presents a chronological view of a file system, allowing individual files or directories to be previewed or retrieved one at a time. FlyBack presents the user with a typical file manager style view of their file system, but with additional controls allowing the user to go forward or backward in time.

You may also check out our comprehensive list of some of the best online backup services for Linux.


  1. I use a custom script to backup my files using Rsync - it works great. If anyone wants the script, I have a post about it - Script to Backup Files Over a Network Using Rsync

  2. What about rdiff-backup? It's a simple command line incremental backup solution. Backup-ninja has good support for it too, to make setup and management a bit easier.

    It's almost as easy as putting this as a cron entry :-
    rdiff-backup /

    Most distros should have packages available. Ubuntu certainly does.

  3. You have forgotten the best and original back up software for linux (or any unix, even windows now)... Tar
    Tar stands for Tape Archive but is still in high use today.
    Combine it with Gzip or Bzip 2 and you've got yourself an ultra fast back up program. Want Encryption of archives...well a little GNUPG action will handle that quite nicely.

  4. I would have mentioned the basic tools like tar, gzip, gpg etc.
    Here's how I use them to do full backups to an external USB drive:

    Also dirvish (similar to duplicity) is worth a mention

  5. I don't think he forgot tar. Based on the different utilities he reviewed, I'm thinking he was going for simple yet quite usable. And none of the utilities were ones that ship with most linux distributions by default. Great job author! Thanks!

  6. Areca is quite nice, though a little cumbersome to set up. It is JAVA and therefore cross-platform, and unlike many of the ones you mentioned, it will correctly backup DIFF data onto an NTFS harddrive. Powerful stuff

  7. Have you tried P.I.N.G.?

    It is a Linux based "Ghost" like program too. It is pretty awesome!

  8. And what about Linbox Rescue Server?

  9. Another one that would deserve mention is rsnapshot. It can be set up to make hourly, daily and weekly backups, and it's solid as a rock. The only thing lacking is a pretty front-end

  10. How could you leave out BackupPC? It sets up a backup repository and only keeps a single copy of any duplicate files -- even across systems.

  11. I would personally recommend BackupPC. I use an old PC as an Ubuntu based backup server. It backups all machines in my home automagically everyday, using rsync over ssh for Linux-boxes and smb for windows-machines. Brilliant as I never can forget to backup, as BackupPC remembers for me.

  12. Add one vote for rsnapshot -- has saved my ass a few times

  13. After getting huge and slow database with Bacula, I am now using BackupPC too. It isn't easy to configure the first time, but it is the best that I have used. The restore methods are very usable.

  14. You forgot about BackupPC -

  15. And don't forget dump / restore and cpio.


  16. BackupPC is the best for me. It uses disk-based storage with different levels of age retention, has web based front-end. There are some setup involve but it surely offer lots of features. --Kuy

  17. dirvish is by far the best,
    but it does require a bit of knowledge and a fair amount of set-up.

  18. All of these suck compared to Dropbox.

  19. AnonymousMay 09, 2009

    restore by ruffdogs is a complete backup solution (open source). download the ISO, burn it, boot the CD and click INSTALL. reboot and your able to define your backups and setup to run automatically - it does incremental, or full - you can retain for a definable period... man its easy.

  20. AnonymousJuly 29, 2009

    We use LBackup on all of our Debain LINUX servers

  21. Bacula +evidence ;-)

  22. You might want to check our Kleo Bare Metal Backup for Servers. It a graphical wrapper around the excellant open source app partimage. It's a wizard interface that manages the details of listing filesystems on your disks for backup and will even scan and mount remote shares to store backups on the network server.

    Kleo is bundled with the Carroll-Net Server Recovery Kit. A LiveCD project packed with 100s of specialized tools for server recovery.

    Kloe & the CnSRK are both free for any use.

  23. AnonymousJune 04, 2010

    CrashPlan ... just works great!

  24. Redo Backup and Recovery! ( It has a GUI so you don't need a degree in computer science to make a backup. Even Grandma can haz a backup!!

  25. Any opinions on Dirvish backup application?

  26. I have, since over 3 years, Dirvish in use in my SOHO-network. Started with the defaults and gradually made it crazily complicated - but didn't need to spend one minute of thought since the last 2 years. Backs up useraccounts every hour, workstations once per week, server every day, makes backups of backups on an external device, backups of backups of backups on a internet-storage. Automatically cleans out the archives before media spills over, all fully automatic over cronjobs. And fast! ok, not easy, but... did I mention it is fast?

  27. There is a free Enterprise Edition for Ubuntu LTS made available by Arkeia with backup to disk & tapes with full WebUI.

    As it is included in Ubuntu repository, installation is very straight forward: see

  28. What I want to read for sure, is what's available for full and complete hard drive(s) backup, and not incremental backups. I prefer to save the data on DVD(s).
    Please send any info to zonofabeeATGmaildotcom


  29. Automatically cleans out the archives before media spills over, all fully automatic over cronjobs. And fast! ok, not easy, but... did I mention it is fast?

  30. rsync and clonezilla are my favorites !

    never do/go out without them !


  31. Another one that would deserve mention is rsnapshot. It can be set up to make hourly, daily and weekly backups, and it's solid as a rock

  32. I definitely think that TAR is one of the best backup software right now. I have been using it for ages and it works just great! :)

  33. I wrote a shell script to do snapshot backups the your full filesystem and with the speed of rsync.
    It uses hard-links between the backups (deduplication) to have a full backup taking as few disk space as if it would be an incremental one.
    It comes with tuning settings like MD5 integrity signature, 'chattr' protection, filter rules, disk quota, retention policy with exponential distribution (backups rotation while saving more recent backups than older).

    it is here:
    and it's free! ^^

    Francois Scheurer

  34. sorry the direct URL is


  35. You should add Areca-Backup (cross plattform, with FTP, FTPs, SFTP, zip64, email reports and delta storage support)

  36. Check out another open source distributed p2p backup system - DataHaven.NET.
    The web site is
    We are in testing stage at the moment and you can download and use the software.

  37. I would also vote for rsync and clonezilla. Those are two of my personal favorites.