How To: Connect to Backup Storage using Duplicati

Duplicati is a great open-source program for backing up individual PCs or Mac computers. It’s available here:

Once you’ve installed the software you’ll want to create a backup job with it.

Click on the Left side menu and choose “Add Backup”

duplicati set up new backup: step 1

Choose Configure a new backup and click Next.

On the next screen, type in a descriptive name for the backup. This can be anything you want. Optionally include a description of the backup to indicate what it’s for.

duplicati set up new backup: step 2

Ensure that you keep encryption set as AES-256, and make up a strong passphrase for that. Ensure that you keep this passphrase safe, because if you loose it, your backup will be locked and no one will be able to restore it. Click next when done.

This next screen is quite important. Choose WebDAV as your storage type. Ensure Use SSL is checked. Enter the server, port number, path and username/password as provided in your welcome email. If you have multiple computers backing up to this location, you can add a subdirectory for the “path on server.” For example: “<your backup folder>/PC1” If you do this, Duplicati will prompt you to create the folder when you click “Test Connection”

duplicati set up new backup: step 3

When done, and the connection test was successful, you’ll move on to the selection screen.

On this screen you’ll choose your files that you wish to backup. Most people will only choose the data on their computer that’s most important. Please exclude any operating system files/temp files/hidden files etc. to keep the size of the backup small. In most situations, those files can be replaced during a system reinstall.

Be sure to use the filters to keep the size and consequently the time required to backup your files manageable by eliminating unnecessary files from your backup.

duplicati set up new backup: step 4

A good backup will include any files that are created by you and cannot be replaced.

A good rule of thumb is to check the System Files, Temporary Files check boxes under the Exclude Filter. You can also add separate filters to remove other file types from the backups. Click Next when done.

What good is a backup if it doesn’t run automatically!

duplicati set up new backup: step 5

Duplicati’s excellent scheduler will ensure your backups run consistantly on the days and time you expect. You can run backups every X minutes, days, months or years. Most computer backups will be run 1 time daily on specific days of the week. In the example to the left, this backup will run at 1pm every day of the week, once per day.

Often people choose to back up their files while they are not at their computer which means time slots at noon or before/after the work day are common. Remember your computer needs to be on at the time you specify, so if you plan to do the backup in the evening make sure to set your power/sleep settings on your computer accordingly.

To ensure the fastest possible backup please choose times that are not on the hour to start the backup e.g 12:12 PM instead of 12:00 PM. You can also choose times during mid-day when the service is less busy to ensure the backups complete faster.

On the next screen you’ll be choosing the size of the file chunks that are being stored. This doesn’t affect your backup selections in any way. What this does is set the size of the backup files that the software creates on the cloud storage service. 50MBytes is the default default if you have slow DSL/Cable internet service because this ensures that interruptions will only result in the last 50MB to be re-transmitted. If you have Fibre internet service or high speed 150mbps upload or faster you can increase this to slightly improve the upload speeds and reduce the number of files stored on the cloud backup service.

duplicati set up new backup: step 6

The last most important backup option is the retention settings. We recommend choosing “Keep a specific number of backups” vs “Delete backups that are older than” because when backups are not successful you’ll want to ensure that you can have as many restore points that were successful retained on the storage service. Pick a number that represents the number of restore points you want to be able to go back to. If you back up 1 time per day, 28 is a good number here because it lets you go back in time for each day of the month. If you pick (on the previous screen) one backup per week, 28 restore points lets you go back over 2 years, but only to one restore point for each one of those months.

Some people will do two backup jobs with the same selections. On their daily backup job they will set retention to 28 restore points so they can go back to any day in the last month. Then they will create another job that runs once per week and has backup retention of 52 to allow them to go back to a restore point on any given week for the last year. When you are creating multiple jobs be sure to use separate folders on the Backup Destination screen above.

The first time you run the backup it’s going to take a while because it must upload all the data to the backup storage service. Subsequent backups will only upload data required to record any changed blocks. These will be quite fast even on large backup sizes of 100 GB or bigger.

Duplicati is a great start to ensuring you have good backups offsite and it pairs fantastically well with your cloud backup service.

Check out more of our How-To’s for additional great tips like this one.

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