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I'm attempting to backup files to Dreamhost's Backup account, which "allows users to perform only ftp, sftp, scp, cvs, rdist, and/or rsync operations" (source:

Is there any configuration that will let me use rdiff-backup in this situation? It is not installed on the remote server.

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I'm not sure about rdiff-backup, but I have successfully run rsnapshot against a shared webhosting account (like Dreamhost) in the past. Rsnapshot is quite similar in operation to rdiff-backup and its only requirement is that rsync exists on the remote system. Have you tried running rdiff-backup against the DH account? There would be no harm in trying. If you're not able to get it working, give rsnapshot a try.

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Thanks Erik, I had given it a try and was unable to figure out how to get it to work. I will look at rsnapshot instead, or maybe Duplicity - though a tool that can continue a full backup if the network connection is lost (rather than starting again) is greatly preferred. – PeterB Jul 10 '10 at 8:41
Duplicity is a great tool, but it has more dependencies than either rdiff-backup or rsnapshot have. You could surely give it a try, though. – EEAA Jul 10 '10 at 14:08

Yes, since you seem to have SFTP access you should be able to perform rdiff-backup against an SSHFS mount. Just note that running rdiff-backup across a network mount is usually slower, since every file which is to be (reverse) diffed will have to be read fully over the network.

See for howto instructions.

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Thanks for the information andol. That sounds a good approach though the bandwidth used if every file has to be read back is probably more than my ADSL connection should use! – PeterB Jul 10 '10 at 8:41
Pretty sure not every file is read back; only those where the size or the mtime has changed. – andol Jul 10 '10 at 9:10

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