Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I want to use rsnapshot to make backups of some folders on a remote server.

I've already setup Key Based Authentication, and I've specified in rsnapshot.conf:


however I get the following error:

ERROR: snapshot_root snapshot_root - snapshot_root \ must be a full path

So I was wondering if the only way is to mount first the remote server and how (I'm on Ubuntu 9.04)


share|improve this question
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I think you may be misunderstanding the way that rsnapshot works. Rsnapshot runs on a server system onto which you backup the files from a remote system - it pulls files into the snapshot_root to store them. If you have snapshot_root set to /backups/ then

backup /home/ localhost/ 

will backup the local /home directory and it's contents to



backup root@remote.tld:/var/www/ remote.tld

will backup the /var/www/ directory from remote.tld using rsync over ssh to



You can run rsnapshot as any user. You will need to copy the /etc/rsnapshot.conf file to somewhere that you can edit it eg ~/rsnapshot/ . You will need to change the lockfile directive as you most likely wont be able to write to write to it's default as a standard user.

lockfile        /home/patrick/rsnapshot/

You then invoke rsnapshot thus

rsnapshot -c /home/patrick/rsnapshot/rsnapshot.conf hourly

Do you have access to cron as a standard user on the server ?

share|improve this answer
nmhmm... ok. So rsnapshot should be installed on the backup server and not the production server! That's my mistake I guess – Patrick Jan 9 '11 at 8:45
I've actually just realized that I don't have sudo privilegies on the backup server. Does this mean I cannot use rsnapshot for remote backups ? – Patrick Jan 9 '11 at 8:57
@Patrick: See my edit for how to use rsnapshot as any user – Iain Jan 9 '11 at 9:51

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.