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Using Duplicati for Your Backups

Created: Jan 02, 2023 – Last Updated: Jan 02, 2023

Tags: General, Tooling

Digital Garden

A backup is better than no backup at all, that’s for sure. But there are different forms of backups and different software. It could be a local backup (On-Site, Off-Site) or cloud backup, using commercial paid software or free (open-source) software.

For quite some time I used software from Acronis to backup data from one hard-drive to another hard-drive in the same computer. Sure, better than nothing but not really a great backup strategy. If the computer gets broken, it’s all gone. While looking into a better backup strategy some years ago, I also more and more disliked the fact that the Acronis software (or a lot of other paid backup software) used proprietary file formats and that it was quite limited.

Luckily I found Duplicati (opens in a new tab) and since then all my backups for every computer I own run through that.


Its website or fact sheet (opens in a new tab) go into more detail of all the features that Duplicati has, but here’s a list of things I really like about Duplicati:

  • Free, open-source software. As a maintainer myself I really appreciate the effort that the Duplicati community put into this. It also means that you can help yourself with contributing to Duplicati (opens in a new tab)
  • No proprietary format, just .zip files
  • Every backup target you could imagine. Both for local and online backups I haven’t hit any problems so far
  • Strong encryption
  • It’s automatically applying compression while creating the backups
  • Runs everywhere

#How I Use It

I’m using the client with a web GUI on different platforms, including a Raspberry Pi. All machines backup with a schedule their data to the local NAS hard-drives. I then also created a backup job that encapsulates all individual backup jobs, but only runs manually. The latter is for when I occasionally attach a hard-drive that I then place somewhere else (Off-Site).

In addition to the local backups each job also exports its data to a cloud provider with the same schedule. The NAS is integrated via network drives, the cloud provider is one of the supported providers of Duplicati.

All jobs use encryption and run on a regular schedule. I’m using Duplicati’s “smart” backup retention (opens in a new tab) feature. With it there will be one backup for each day of the last 7 days, each of the 4 last weeks, each of the last 12 months. You could of course modify this behavior to your liking.

Other than that I pretty much use all the default options and settings of Duplicati, I didn’t have any needs to further change things!

#Getting Started

Depending on if you want to also backup to the cloud you’ll also need to choose a cloud provider or set up your own NAS/server.

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