Does anyone have any experience with backing up a dedicated server at GoDaddy or anywhere else?

I have a CentOS system. I recently made a big newbie mistake working on linux and toasted my server. I had to start over from scratch b/c I damaged it so bad.

GoDaddy says I need to handle it all myself b/c I am not paying them for back ups. Does anyone have any idea on how to approach this back up?

I'm not sure how a backup on dedicated hosting would be different than a normal linux back up. In any case, I don't know how to do normal linux backups.

** Clarifications **

I only have this one server hosted at GoDaddy. This server is on the linux CentOS. My personal computers are just personal computers running some sort of windows.

I guess part of the idea, where would one store the backup. Do you have another server pull them down? Push to another server?

  • It looks like GoDaddy charges around 30/month to manage the back ups. That is a bit steep for me. (totally reasonable for others I am sure) – Scott Jan 4 '11 at 1:14

I like rsync.net - A great RSYNC service ran by geeks.

The next step is to determine what you need to backup. I assume you're hosting some kind of website. In the ideal world, you'll have an up-to-date SVN repo of your actual application code, so, you probably only need to backup any 'uploads' directory, and your database.

You need to determine an adequate policy for your DB dumps. You may be lucky that your data doesn't change that often and you can make nightly backups, or, bi-daily backups. If your data is changing a lot, you may need to run dumps more often. DB backups (we'll assume you're using MySQL) can often lead to locking problems, whereby the amount of time taken to dump your data impacts on the running of your site. If you have this problem, you might want to consider your backup strategy very carefully.

It's also worth backing up /etc - It's usually quite small in size, so it's worth getting the full directory. In here will usually be your webserver configs / mail configs / firewall configs / user accoutns. I would never suggest recovering the whole directory, but, it's worth having a reference of what your settings are. You probably only need to back this up when you make a change.

It may not be appropriate in your case, but, I also backup /home.

You also should backup your CRON jobs; it's a nightmare trying to re-create these if you don't have a good list of what you need to run and when.

I'd start by backing all of those items into a single directory /var/serverbackups then, when that backup job has finished, rsync the whole tree to an external service like rsync.net or one that has already been mentioned.

It just means you're able to change the off-site location more easily if you need to in the future.

If you want a more hand-holding approach, backup2l is a Debian app that you can install that will handle the backup creation based on a string of paths you provide; it will managed differential backups to tar.gz and handle selective recovery. You can still rsync the backup2l target directory once it's complete.

  • I want to vote this up but I can't yet! – Scott Jan 4 '11 at 17:18
  • How do you think rysnc.net would stack up against something like Amazon S3? It seems like Amazon is considerably cheaper (although both seem pretty affordable). I guess with S3 it is another thing that one must learn to transfer the files and perhaps rysn.net has things more streamlined? I saw that one of the other services actually has you store space on Amazon S3 and then they mark it up! I got to thinking, if they can do it, I could do it. – Scott Jan 4 '11 at 17:22
  • As a few other people have mentioned there are plenty of destinations for backups, Amazon S3 would be usable as well. Rsync.net seem to be pretty good though, they offer the ability to rsync the files (duh) so you get the benefits of that protocol they're also a one-trick-pony, so you get the benefit of their focus. Their support is very good. I feel happy entrusting my backups with them. – Andrew Taylor Jan 5 '11 at 8:08
  • Great. I will look into this. I think the main issue is to find a good solution that doesn't break the bank. Thanks again for taking time to do such a thorough response. It is truly appreciated. – Scott Jan 5 '11 at 18:22

There are lots of solutions out there for backing up your Linux system, hosted or otherwise. I think starting with a Google search for "linux backup" is probably the thing to do. If you have specific requirements you want to fulfill that might help us direct our answers.

A simple solution might involve rdiff-backup, or just rsync over ssh.

  • Yeah, I realize that a general search might do the trick. I'm not trying to have people search for me. I'm just not sure where to start. Even with those things mentioned, I can go research them, get an idea of what they are and then ask about them. – Scott Jan 3 '11 at 21:46

Dropbox ( http://www.dropbox.com/ ) has a linux client where you upload your backups to their server. You start off with 2G of space for free, which may or may not meet your needs. After installing the client, doing your backups would be a simple matter of copying them to a certain directory. The client handles the rest.

  • This sounds good. I will need to check this out! – Scott Jan 3 '11 at 23:00

if godaddy doesn't do the backups then you need to copy remotely all your important files.

  rsync -avz me@myserver:/etc /my-local-destination

you repeat the process on all your directories - if you have a database then you need to do a dump of data and copy remote as well

  • OK, in this approach is one server pulling the files off on another server? – Scott Jan 3 '11 at 22:00
  • yes - you mirror your files from godaddy to your local storage. you can use dropbox as well but after a quantity you need to start paying so it depends how much data you have. – silviud Jan 3 '11 at 23:17
  • So when you say local storage, you assume you are using something like a machine running at your house or office? – Scott Jan 4 '11 at 0:26
  • OK. This looks good, so you could do the back up and then use some offsite storage to do have storage off site. This would protect the back ups from a total server crash, correct? – Scott Jan 4 '11 at 1:26

Another possibility: http://www.tarsnap.com/

Easy to set up automatic backups, backups are very cheap.

  • I did research into this. This was very informative. It looks like they use Amazon S3. I'm thinking that I could probably just go direct to Amazon. What do you think about that? – Scott Jan 4 '11 at 1:12
  • Pricing for Amazon: aws.amazon.com/s3/#pricing – Scott Jan 4 '11 at 1:13
  • S3 is great, but I have no experience with utilities for doing automated backups directly to S3 from the command line. tarsnap seems like the easiest way to set-it-and-forget-it. – clee Jan 5 '11 at 0:15

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