Now we’re ready to backup some data. The contents of a directory at a specific point in time is called a “snapshot” in restic. Run the following command and enter the repository password you chose above again:
$ restic -r /tmp/backup backup ~/work enter password for repository: scan [/home/user/work] scanned 764 directories, 1816 files in 0:00 [0:29] 100.00% 54.732 MiB/s 1.582 GiB / 1.582 GiB 2580 / 2580 items 0 errors ETA 0:00 duration: 0:29, 54.47MiB/s snapshot 40dc1520 saved
As you can see, restic created a backup of the directory and was pretty
fast! The specific snapshot just created is identified by a sequence of
40dc1520 in this case.
If you run the command again, restic will create another snapshot of your data, but this time it’s even faster. This is de-duplication at work!
$ restic -r /tmp/backup backup ~/work enter password for repository: using parent snapshot 40dc1520aa6a07b7b3ae561786770a01951245d2367241e71e9485f18ae8228c scan [/home/user/work] scanned 764 directories, 1816 files in 0:00 [0:00] 100.00% 0B/s 1.582 GiB / 1.582 GiB 2580 / 2580 items 0 errors ETA 0:00 duration: 0:00, 6572.38MiB/s snapshot 79766175 saved
You can even backup individual files in the same repository.
$ restic -r /tmp/backup backup ~/work.txt scan [/home/user/work.txt] scanned 0 directories, 1 files in 0:00 [0:00] 100.00% 0B/s 220B / 220B 1 / 1 items 0 errors ETA 0:00 duration: 0:00, 0.03MiB/s snapshot 31f7bd63 saved
In fact several hosts may use the same repository to backup directories and files leading to a greater de-duplication.
Please be aware that when you backup different directories (or the directories to be saved have a variable name component like a time/date), restic always needs to read all files and only afterwards can compute which parts of the files need to be saved. When you backup the same directory again (maybe with new or changed files) restic will find the old snapshot in the repo and by default only reads those files that are new or have been modified since the last snapshot. This is decided based on the modify date of the file in the file system.
Now is a good time to run
restic check to verify that all data
is properly stored in the repository. You should run this command regularly
to make sure the internal structure of the repository is free of errors.
You can exclude folders and files by specifying exclude patterns, currently the exclude options are:
--excludeSpecified one or more times to exclude one or more items
--exclude-cachesSpecified once to exclude folders containing a special file
--exclude-fileSpecified one or more times to exclude items listed in a given file
--exclude-if-presentSpecified one or more times to exclude a folders content if it contains a given file (optionally having a given header)
$ cat exclude # exclude go-files *.go # exclude foo/x/y/z/bar foo/x/bar foo/bar foo/**/bar $ restic -r /tmp/backup backup ~/work --exclude="*.c" --exclude-file=exclude
restic help backup for more specific information about each exclude option.
Patterns use filepath.Glob internally,
see filepath.Match for syntax.
Patterns are tested against the full path of a file/dir to be saved, not only
against the relative path below the argument given to restic backup.
Patterns need to match on complete path components. (
/dir/foo but does not match
barfoo.) A trailing
/ is ignored. A leading
/ anchors the
pattern at the root directory. (
/bin/bash but does not
/usr/bin/restic.) Regular wildcards cannot be used to match over the
/bin/bash but does not match
** matches arbitrary subdirectories. (
Environment-variables in exclude-files are expanded with
By specifying the option
--one-file-system you can instruct restic
to only backup files from the file systems the initially specified files
or directories reside on. For example, calling restic like this won’t
/dev on a Linux system:
$ restic -r /tmp/backup backup --one-file-system /
By using the
--files-from option you can read the files you want to
backup from a file. This is especially useful if a lot of files have to
be backed up that are not in the same folder or are maybe pre-filtered
by other software.
For example maybe you want to backup files that have a certain filename in them:
$ find /tmp/somefiles | grep 'PATTERN' > /tmp/files_to_backup
You can then use restic to backup the filtered files:
$ restic -r /tmp/backup backup --files-from /tmp/files_to_backup
Incidentally you can also combine
--files-from with the normal files
$ restic -r /tmp/backup backup --files-from /tmp/files_to_backup /tmp/some_additional_file
Paths in the listing file can be absolute or relative.
Restic has a diff command which shows the difference between two snapshots and displays a small statistic, just pass the command two snapshot IDs:
$ restic -r /tmp/backup diff 5845b002 2ab627a6 password is correct comparing snapshot ea657ce5 to 2ab627a6: C /restic/cmd_diff.go + /restic/foo C /restic/restic Files: 0 new, 0 removed, 2 changed Dirs: 1 new, 0 removed Others: 0 new, 0 removed Data Blobs: 14 new, 15 removed Tree Blobs: 2 new, 1 removed Added: 16.403 MiB Removed: 16.402 MiB
Backing up special items and metadata¶
Symlinks are archived as symlinks,
restic does not follow them.
When you restore, you get the same symlink again, with the same link target
and the same timestamps.
If there is a bind-mount below a directory that is to be saved, restic descends into it.
Device files are saved and restored as device files. This means that e.g.
archived as a block device file and restored as such. This also means that the content of the
corresponding disk is not read, at least not from the device file.
By default, restic does not save the access time (atime) for any files or other
items, since it is not possible to reliably disable updating the access time by
restic itself. This means that for each new backup a lot of metadata is
written, and the next backup needs to write new metadata again. If you really
want to save the access time for files and directories, you can pass the
--with-atime option to the
Reading data from stdin¶
Sometimes it can be nice to directly save the output of a program, e.g.
mysqldump so that the SQL can later be restored. Restic supports
this mode of operation, just supply the option
--stdin to the
backup command like this:
$ mysqldump [...] | restic -r /tmp/backup backup --stdin
This creates a new snapshot of the output of
mysqldump. You can then
use e.g. the fuse mounting option (see below) to mount the repository
and read the file.
By default, the file name
stdin is used, a different name can be
--stdin-filename, e.g. like this:
$ mysqldump [...] | restic -r /tmp/backup backup --stdin --stdin-filename production.sql