If you ask any power user for one good piece of advice that applies to any operating system, it would be to back up your files regularly. As much as technology can be helpful, it can also cause problems or even fail at the worst possible times. Therefore, it is important that you are able to identify different backup methods for your system.
With Linux, you have a good amount of reliable options at your disposal, but it may not be quite as obvious as with other platforms. Here are the top 5 cloud backup services or programs that I can recommend to fulfill your backup needs.
While it’s most commonly used to synchronize important files between documents, Dropbox can also double as a backup solution. There are a number of different advantages to using Dropbox, such as virtually no necessary setup and reliable up-time. On the other side, you only get 2GB for free without performing any of the tasks needed to gain some extra free space, which may be a bit small for some people.
Of course, the option to buy more is always there, but you want to try to save every penny, right?
A competitor of Dropbox, Skydrive is actually another similar alternative. Dare I mention a Microsoft product for Linux users? Yes, because it works in a similar fashion as Dropbox, but brings you plenty of space. Long-time users of Skydrive may have even been able to keep their larger capacities before Microsoft downsized them a bit, and I’m sure those people want to take advantage of all the space that they have.
For Skydrive, the only downside is that there isn’t an application which supports the service. Instead, in order to do a cloud backup to Skydrive, you’ll need to be running Gnome 3.6 because functionality is built into the desktop environment via the Online Accounts feature, and that’s something that not everyone uses.
Bitcasa is yet another service that is similar to the above two options, but there’s a slight twist — you have unlimited space. Therefore, if you have a lot of files that you have to back up and save, then Bitcasa is the way to go because you won’t have to run into the space limitations of Dropbox, Skydrive, and the like.
The only downsides to Bitcasa are that the unlimited space costs $10/month – you do get 10GB for free though. As a whole, the service is quite popular (although not as popular as Dropbox), and the number of Linux users is rather small as they’re currently offering an alpha client for Ubuntu.
Generally, privacy isn’t a major issue although one complaint arose that theoretically could affect any cloud service. I haven’t heard of any reliability issues either – I haven’t experienced any with my own use.
If you need a solution to which you can control where your backed up files end up, you should consider using Déjà Dup. It is a common back up solution found on most distributions which use the Gnome desktop environment, including Unity. Déjà Dup is more of a traditional backup solution because you can choose a number of different locations, such as a second hard drive, a remote server via numerous protocols, or your Ubuntu One drive if you’re using it on Ubuntu.
It also maintains a nice schedule of automatic backups that can also be encrypted, so you won’t have to worry about anyone getting access to your files without your permission. You could even combine Déjà Dup with Dropbox by sending all of your back-up containers to your Dropbox, which are then synchronized with the servers.
If you encrypt your containers, you shouldn’t have to worry about any privacy concerns that may arise, as they have in the past.
Another alternative to a solution which gives you more control is Crashplan. Although not quite as flexible (in my opinion) as Déjà Dup, it does accomplish the same job. You can either safely back up your files to their dedicated servers for a fee, or use a different computer in your Crashplan “network” to host your backed up files.
This is great if you have a home server, because Crashplan can be installed on all computers including the server, and then configuring the clients to use the server as the storage space for all the backups is really easy. It also doesn’t matter if your server is within your home network or on the other side of the world, it will automatically find the server and do the rest. Speeds, of course, will vary depending on the type of connection.
With these 5 possible solutions for Linux users, I’m sure you’ll find a way to safely, securely, and reliable back up all your important files so you always have them when you need them. As traditional backup solutions, I find the last two to be excellent, but some people may prefer to keep it as simple as possible with the top three. Whichever way you prefer it, you have choices that all work excellently.
How often do you back up your files? What do you use to do so? Any cloud backup tips you can share? Let us know in the comments!
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