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Rsync Backup/Restore Instructions

Category: Miscellaneous &nbsp

Detailed Rsync backup instructions are available

To begin, simply log in as root to your server using: shell access method (VPS Console, SSH, telnet, etc.) or control panel (Cpanel, Plesk, etc.)

If you do not have root access, log in to the account you will be using to perform backups.

Note: rsync requires read access to the files it is to back up. So, it is often executed as a root user. However, it may also work when executed from individual user accounts.

To log in to your VPS via Console.

Log in through SSH client tool on Linux Terminal.

Next, create an RSA encryption key

Create an RSA encryption key for use with the SSH transport. To check if a key already exists, run:


 cat ~/.ssh/


If the file already exists, you may skip it. Otherwise, create a key with the ssh-keygen utility:


 ssh-keygen -t rsa -N ''


 (Note: these are two single quotes)

Then, copy your RSA encryption key to the VPS.NET backup system

 It is possible to copy the key through the shell.


 scp ~/.ssh/



 ssh mergekeys


To make sure rsync is installed:

♦ For CentOS run:


  yum install rsync


For Debian or Ubuntu:


 apt-get install rsync


Test rsync by copying a small directory, such as /etc:


 rsync -avz -e ssh /etc


Add rsync as a daily cronjob

 For Plesk Server Administrator:

 ◊ Go to Services choose System menu

 ◊ Add a new task as root

 ◊ Specify a Minute (0-59) and Hour (0-23) for the script to run each day.

 ◊ For Day of the Month, Month, and Day of the Week, just type a wildcard (*).

 The command will be in the format listed below.

 For Cpanel/WHM, it will be needed to add a crontab entry manually through the shell:

 ◊ Log in as root.

 ◊ To edit your crontab file, type the following command at the Linux shell prompt:


 crontab -e


Append the following entry:


 15 20 * * * rsync -avz --exclude=/proc --exclude=/sys --exclude=/dev -e ssh /


Ctrl + X to Save and close the file (it depends on Editor that is used by default for CRONTAB).

Various rsync configurations:

Backup entire server:


 rsync -avz --exclude=/proc --exclude=/sys --exclude=/dev -e ssh /


Bak up home directories:


 rsync -avz -e ssh /home


Back up specific users:


rsync -avz -e ssh ~bob ~bill ~sarah


View backup files/folders on Rsync backup server

SSH access has been permitted only from your vps.

Log in as root to your server

- shell access method (SSH)

Log in to your Rsync backup server via SSH.

User name for rsync backup is given on the top of the rsync backup instruction set.




Type bash for getting “bash” shell


$ bash
[user@rsync1 /usr/home/user]$


View/List your files and directories.

Use “ls” command for listing your folders and files.

Also use -ltr option for listing long listing format, sort by modification time and reverse order while sorting.


[user@rsync1 /usr/home/user]$ ls -ltr



drwx------ 2 11166 11166 512 Jul 22 15:16 keys
drwxr-xr-x 3 11166 11166 512 Jul 22 15:17 DOMAIN_NAME


Then you can see your backup files and folders.


[user@rsync1 /usr/home/user]$ cd DOMAIN_NAME/
[user@rsync1 /usr/home/user/DOMAIN_NAME]$ ls -ltr


total 8


drwxr-xr-x 86 11166 11166 6656 Jul 22 14:50 etc


Type ‘exit’ or Ctrl + D two times for exiting from rsync server.

Restore a folder from Rsync backup

Log in as root to your server

To recover a file/folder from Rsync backup server. Use RSYNC or SCP commands.


 scp -r destination_folder




 rsync --progress -avz 


 For example, If you want to recover a file called hosts from /etc folder to destination /tmp from your Rsync backup.


 scp -r /tmp/



 rsync --progress -avz /tmp/



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