How can I securely use a webserver for backing up files?

William March 12, 2011
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Now, here’s my dilemma: I have 5 computers in my company. I backup only the important files from all of these computers to 2 locations within my company. One location is a computer, the other an external hard drive.

However, I would like to have those files stored online as well. I run the company’s website and the server I rent for it offers me unlimited bandwidth and GB. So is it possible to securely store documents and any other files on my webserver?

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  1. William
    March 13, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    mike i kinda got lost on all those therms you used, i rent a server with bluehost.com just the most regular plan to run a website, and since its unlimited, im sure you right about the terms. i had seen something like fidelis suggested (ty fidelis) but it seems that that would not be secure for documents, even though the folder would be password protected. i was gonna pay for a service such as carbonite, but when using it for the first time, i was told that some files would not be backed up, such s temp files and, idk what else, and thats the problem. theres windows live sky drive, but you cannot backuo folders, only files. i dont mind paying for a service, but using the server i rent for free would definitely be better.

    • Mike
      March 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      Bluehost.com ToS 7.03

      Bluehost.com does NOT provide unlimited space for online storage, backups, or archiving of electronic files, documents, log files, etc., and any such prohibited use of the Services will result in the termination of Subscriber's account, with or without notice.

      I agree with you on FIDELIS suggestion and htaccess. It is not secure and backups definitely don't belong into the www-root of a server...

      The backup target (where you will store your backup) doesn't really change the data that is going to backed up. It's the system and method that matters!

      Let's put this in simple words:
      A file that is currently in use cannot be backed up reliable. Even if you are able to copy the file to another location you cannot be sure whether the file is complete, corrupt or outdated (there are exception e.g. when using a Backup Exec client for Exchange Servers, ...). Temporary files are a special cathegory - they could be in use at the time of the backup, it could be data that is going to be written to another location at a certain time or it could simply be a temporary file that was left behind and has no further use. Therefor it's quite natural that they are excluded from backups.

      Unless you are doing offline backups (the Service using the files is stopped or the Server is shutdown) there will always be some compromise in what is being backed up reliable.

      As for the location or service you are using it is pretty much up to you. What you are comfortable with in terms of speed, reliability and security.
      Personally I suggest CrashPlan PRO for Business use
      http://www.crashplan.com/business/

  2. FIDELIS
    March 13, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Hello, if allow by your service and server provider, this can help you secure your files online:
    http://www.javascriptkit.com/howto/htaccess3.shtml

  3. Mike
    March 13, 2011 at 8:18 am

    You said you rent a server so you should be able to backup your files using SFTP and rsync (or whatever backup system you like). The only secure alternative I can think of is FTP-SSL.

    But even if you have a Root Server, dedicated Hosting, Virtual Private Server I suggest to contact the Service Provider (in this case the Hoster) and ask them ahead.
    Especially with those unlimited bandwidth and storage plans you are most likely limited to use it for certain purposes which probably do not include off-site backup.

    If you violate their Terms they might just put your entire services offline including your businesses homepage!