About BackupPC

Given the ever decreasing cost of disks and raid systems, it is now practical and cost effective to backup a large number of machines onto a server's local disk or network storage. This is what BackupPC does. For some sites, this might be the complete backup solution. For other sites, additional permanent archives could be created by periodically backing up the server to tape. A variety of Open Source systems are available for doing backup to tape.

BackupPC is written in Perl and extracts backup data via SMB using Samba, tar over ssh/rsh/nfs, or rsync. It is robust, reliable, well documented and freely available as Open Source on Github.

BackupPC Features

  • A clever pooling scheme minimizes disk storage and disk I/O. Identical files across multiple backups of the same or different PCs are stored only once resulting in substantial savings in disk storage and disk I/O.
  • One example of disk use: 95 latops with each full backup averaging 3.6GB each, and each incremental averaging about 0.3GB. Storing three weekly full backups and six incremental backups per laptop is around 1200GB of raw data, but because of pooling and compression only 150GB is needed.
  • Optional compression support further reducing disk storage. Since only new files (not already pooled) need to be compressed, there is only a modest impact on CPU time.
  • No client-side software is needed. The standard smb protocol is used to extract backup data on Windows clients. On Linux clients, tar over ssh/rsh/nfs is used to backup the data. With version 2.0.0, rsync is also supported on any client that has rsync or rysncd.
  • A powerful web (http/cgi) user interface allows administrators to view log files, configuration, current status and allows users to initiate and cancel backups and browse and restore files from backups.
  • A full set of restore options is supported, including direct restore (via smbclient, tar, or rsync/rsyncd) or downloading a zip or tar file.
  • Supports mobile environments where laptops are only intermittently connected to the network and have dynamic IP addresses (DHCP).
  • Flexible configuration parameters allow multiple backups to be performed in parallel, specification of which shares to backup, which directories to backup or not backup, various schedules for full and incremental backups, schedules for email reminders to users and so on. Configuration parameters can be set system-wide or also on a per-PC basis.
  • Users are sent periodic email reminders if their PC has not recently been backed up. Email content, timing and policies are configurable.
  • Tested on Linux, Freenix and Solaris hosts, and Linux, Windows 95, 98, 2000 and XP clients.
  • Detailed documentation.
  • Open Source hosted on Github and freely availble under GPL.

Screen Shots

Here are some screen shots of BackupPC's web interface that provide an overview of various BackupPC features.

Server summary

Hosts summary

Main log file

Host detail

Backup browsing


Config edit

Host log file


BackupPC can be downloaded from github.com/backuppc/backuppc/releases.

BackupPC 4.x requires the BackupPC::XS perl module (version >= 0.57) and the server-side BackupPC rsync, rsync-bpc (version >= These packages can be downloaded from github.com/backuppc/backuppc-xs/releases and github.com/backuppc/rsync-bpc/releases.


Please visit and contribute to the BackupPC Wiki.

Mailing Lists

Three BackupPC mailing lists exist for announcements (backuppc-announce), support, asking questions or any other topic relevant to BackupPC (backuppc-users), and a developers-only list (backuppc-devel).

The backuppc-announce list is moderated and is used only for important announcements (eg: new versions). It is low traffic. You only need to subscribe to one list: backuppc-users also receives any messages on backuppc-announce.

You are encouraged to subscribe to either the backuppc-announce or backuppc-users mail list on sourceforge.net, by going to BackupPC-announce, or BackupPC-users. You can subscribe to the developer's email list by going to BackupPC-devel.

Archives for the BackupPC mailing lists can be found at BackupPC-announce-archive, BackupPC-users-archive, or BackupPC-devel-archive.

You can send email to the BackupPC-users list at backuppc-users@lists.sourceforge.net. Please don't send support questions to the developer's list.