Backing Up Your VPS – What Are The Options?
Backups are important. Just ask anyone who has experienced data loss on a computer, whether through accident or failure. This is especially true for those who have experienced data loss and didn’t have backups to recover from. Many people overlook the importance of backups until they are needed, and we strongly recommend all customers keep some form of backups of their data.
“But I thought your cloud VPS infrastructure protected against data loss?”
Unfortunately, while a cloud VPS is protected from data loss caused by a hardware failure, there are other causes of data loss that this can’t protect against, such as file corruption, malware or hacker attacks, and accidental deletion. Of these, accidental deletion is probably the most common form of data loss where a mistyped command can see the wrong file deleted.
At VPS.NET we provide three options for backup solutions for your VPS: snapshots, backup storage space for manual backups, and R1Soft licensing. There are a number of differences in these options, which we will look at and outline now.
Snapshot backups are exact copies of your VPS’s disk image at the time the backup was taken. We will store a daily, weekly and a monthly snapshot for your VPS. The downside to these is that when you need to restore from a backup, you only have the option of the previous day’s backup, the previous week’s backup, or that from the previous month. Also, the entire disk image will be replaced with the backup, so all of your data will revert to the point in time that the snapshot backup was taken.
R1Soft Backup Licenses
At the other end of the spectrum, we have R1Soft backup licenses. R1Soft Continuous Data Protection (CDP) is a tool that runs with a backup agent on your server and requires you to set up a secondary server with the free CDP Server software. The backup agent can make timed backups to the CDP server as often as every 15 minutes where required. After the initial backup of the server, only changes are backed up at subsequent backup intervals, meaning faster backups with lower data transfer. This also reduces the amount of storage required on the CDP server to hold a long period of backed up data. When it comes to restoring your files you can restore individual files or directories to your server, and pick the version of the file from any backup point after the initial full backup was made, making it a very flexible backup solution.
In the middle, we have storage space for manual backups, referred to as rsync backup. With this you are given some storage space equal to the disk size of your VPS, then you can use whichever tools you like to back up your data to that space, with rsync being the commonly used tool for Linux servers. While rsync is a great tool for mirroring backups (having two identical copies of the data), there are also tools such as rdiff-backup that also store the changes to files with the backup, allowing you to restore changes and deleted files in a similar manner to using R1Soft. Unlike R1Soft – which can be configured relatively easily and uses a web interface for management – using the backup storage space can involve more work getting configured and set up, although can offer almost as much flexibility as R1soft for restores depending on the software you use.
Even if you choose not to use one of our suggested backup options, we still strongly recommend that you make some form of backup somewhere, whether that’s to another server, or even to a computer at your home or office.