I'm a bit confused about doing backups with rsync/rdiff-backup / rsnapshot via SSH.

I've been looking at utilities such as backupninja and rsnapshot. These are rsync / rdiff based backup systems, capable of being scheduled to do backups over SSH. Reading the manual pages, it seems to be leading me to believe it is only possible to configure these utilities to pull FROM the client TO the server, whereas I thought it was possible to schedule these to push TO the server FROM the client. Am I mistaken here?


I want to have my laptop running the rdiff-backup / rsnapshot utility via cron to back up to my home server.

  1. My laptop runs cron job nightly (if it's on home network) ... and connects via SSH to my home server, (because my server has the static IP address and not vice versa)
  2. Laptop pushes data to backup directory on server.
  3. If laptop is not on home network, it does not perform backup.

Am I doing this backwards?



I have currently installed rsnapshot on the server machine, and gotten it running pulling backups manually from the laptop, but I still think this seems to make more sense to have the laptop push to the server, because it's only going to be connected at home intermittently.

Still waiting for a response on whether this is the proper way to be doing this, or whether the reverse order (server pulling from laptop) is appropriate method. Input please?

1 Answer 1


in short, yes, these tools can work for the purpose you want.

here's a great article on setting that up.


  • Cool man. This is a good start. can you give me any clues how to get here with rsnapshot? Because this seems to be the best utility.
    – emf
    Oct 13, 2010 at 4:54
  • i actually haven't used rsnapshot, just straight rsync to date, with a little fiddling w/ rdiff-backup. i may look into it further and get back to you on this though.
    – nathwill
    Oct 14, 2010 at 3:30

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