I would like to setup Backuppc to Backup files of all remote hosts. A need guide with screenshots will be appreciated.


  • All the hosts are running ubuntu, i need to set incremental backup for the files which is kept in their desktop.

  • Need to monitor backup status from server using web GUI.

  • 1
    Have you seen this?
    – Symin
    Jan 30 '13 at 8:06


  1. Installation
  2. BackupPC web user
  3. Client Connection Preparation - Setup SSH-KEY
  4. Configure BackupPC to backup Client's /home directory
  5. Adding Client
  6. Backup Schedule

1. Installation

Install via Ubuntu BackupPC package

    sudo apt-get install backuppc

This will install BackupPC and configure the following automatically

    Linux User   : backuppc (home directory /var/lib/backuppc)
                   BackupPC daemon will run as this user

    HTTP User    : backuppc (For web gui http login)
                   Password is located in /etc/backuppc/htpasswd (See Step 2)

    Config file location : /etc/backupc
    Data file location   : /var/lib/backuppc

    Apache will be configured
    Web Interface URL    : http://<hostname/IP>/backuppc

This guide is base on the above installation method and information.

If manual installation is used, in config.pl, look for following line

    set $Conf{CgiAdminUsers}     = '';

and change to

    set $Conf{CgiAdminUsers}     = 'backuppc';

2. BackupPC web user

HTTP Login/User backuppc

To have full administrative right in BackupPC web interface, one have to login as backuppc and password. (This is not the same as the linux user.)

The web interface user(http login) backuppc is created with a random password during installation. If you forget to write down the password, use htpasswd to change it as follow

    sudo htpasswd /etc/backuppc/htpasswd backuppc

Additional User

To add additional user

    sudo htpasswd /etc/backuppc/htpasswd <username>

In Step 5 Add Client, put < username > into moreUsers field. When < username > login web interface, will only see client they are assigned to.

3. Client Connection Preparation - Setup SSH-KEY

Client SSHD Configuration

To keep it simple, client machines sshd should allow root login. For each client /etc/ssh/sshd_config, make sure following options are there and un-commented

    PermitRootLogin yes
    PubkeyAuthentication yes
    AuthorizedKeysFile  %h/.ssh/authorized_keys

This should be done on all clients to speed up the next step, as scp will be used.

Server SSH KEY Creation and Deployment

  1. On server, login as user backuppc

    backuppc@server$ sudo su - backuppc
  2. Generate SSH Key Pair with Empty Pass Phase

    backuppc@server$ ssh-keygen

    When asked for phasephase, leave it empty(press enter)

    Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
    Enter same passphrase again:

    That will generate 2 files in /var/lib/backuppc/.ssh: id_rsa and id_rsa.pub. You only need to generate one pair of key.

  3. Deploy Key To Client Machine

    Copy id_rsa.pub to client machine

    backuppc@server$ scp /var/lib/backuppc/.ssh/id_rsa.pub sudo-user@<client machine>:/home/sudo-user/backuppc.id_ras.pub
    backuppc@server$ ssh sudo-user@<client machine>
    sudo-user@client$ chmod 600 backuppc.id_ras.pub
    sudo-user@client$ sudo mkdir /root/.ssh
    sudo-user@client$ sudo chmod 700 /root/.ssh
    sudo-user@client$ sudo mv backuppc.id_ras.pub /root/.ssh/authorized_keys
    sudo-user@client$ sudo chown root:root /root/.ssh/authorized_keys

    Test ssh connection(On server, as Linux user backuppc)

    backuppc@server$ ssh root@<client machine>

    It should not ask for password.

    It is important to do the test because this will also add client machine fingerprint to backuppc(linux user) .ssh/known_hosts list. Otherwise when BackupPC(the software) connect(via ssh) to client machine, it will be prompt for fingerprint confirmation, which it cannot handle, and the backup process will fail.

    Repeat step 3 for all client machines.

    At this point, server user backuppc should be able to ssh into all client machines as root, without being prompt for password nor fingerprint confirmation nor passphase.

4. Configure BackupPC to backup Client's /home directory

  1. Open BackupPC web GUI
  2. On left panel, Server section, click Edit Config
  3. On right panel, click Xfer tab
  4. In Xfer tab, change following, then click Save on top

    XferMethod: rsync
    RsyncShareName: /home

    (Assume only backing up user home directories)

  5. This will automatically apply to all clients.

    Screen Shot

5. Adding Client

  1. Open BackupPC web GUI
  2. On left panel, Server section, click Edit Hosts
  3. For each machine, fill in hostname or IP address under host, and always use backuppc for user, click Add for more rows. Remember to click Save on top when finish.
  4. Delete localhost from the list

    Screen Shot

    The situation become tricky if dhcp is used for desktop machines. There are a few ways to work around this

    1. configure dhcpd to assign static IP to them
    2. change desktop machines to use static IPs
    3. configure dynamic dns update

    In any case, server need to be able to reach(ssh) each client machine consistently either with an IP address or a hostname.

6. Backup Schedule

  1. Open BackupPC web GUI
  2. On left panel, Server section, click Edit Config
  3. On right panel, click Schedule tab
  4. Nothing to be done, the default schedule will perform

    Full Backup every 7 days (FullPeriod: 6.97 day)
    Incremental Backup everyday (IncrPeriod: 0.97 day)

    Screen Shot

7. Adding Audit Interface

Adding an Audit Interface to BackupPC has instruction to add an audit only interface to BackupPC.

However the index.cgi in Ubuntu BackupPC package is compiled. /usr/share/backuppc/lib/realindex.cgi should be used to generate audit.cgi mentioned in the blog.

  • Is backup failed (Unable to read 4 bytes) still happening?
    – John Siu
    Feb 2 '13 at 20:01
  • @karthick87 I updated Step 2 for adding additional users.
    – John Siu
    Feb 4 '13 at 12:43
  • @karthick87 Server->Edit Config -> CGI(Tab), go to bottom section 'User Config Editing' and remove check mark for option you do not want other user to have.
    – John Siu
    Feb 4 '13 at 14:31
  • @karthick87 You can remove the configuration edit right, but the user will always able to start/stop/browse/restore backups they are assigned to. If you want to only allow them to view backup status, you have to create a separate web page and pull BackupPC status in background.
    – John Siu
    Feb 4 '13 at 14:36
  • I will have to look into that later tonight as I kind of remeber the index.cgi seems to be compiled in ubuntu package.
    – John Siu
    Feb 10 '13 at 2:58

You could mount a folder of your backupPC on the remote PCs and use the default backup tool of Ubuntu to store the backup on this mounted share.

Or if you're familiar with bash scripting you could write a script using rsync to copy the files on the backupPC and let the script run on a regular basis via cron jobs.

If you google for "mount network share" I think you can find a screenshoted guide.

Something I found by googling is this pictured guide: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BackupYourSystem/SimpleBackupSuite that uses SimpleBackupSuite. Never tried that one.

Hope it helps :-)

  • 2
    The idea of BackupPC is, as far as I know, that it avoids the need to mount file systems remotely. And the OP isn't asking for an alternative. :)
    – gertvdijk
    Jan 30 '13 at 14:19

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