backupninja [ -h ] [ -d ] [ -n ] [ -t ] [ -f filename ] [ --run filename ]


Backupninja allows you to coordinate system backups by dropping a few simple configuration files into /etc/backup.d/. Most programs you might use for making backups don't have their own configuration file format. Backupninja provides a centralized way to configure and coordinate many different backup utilities.


  • easy to read ini style configuration files.

  • you can drop in scripts to handle new types of backups.

  • backup actions can be scheduled.

  • you can choose when status report emails are mailed to you (always, on warning, on error, never).

  • console-based wizard (ninjahelper) makes it easy to create backup action configuration files.

  • passwords are never sent via the command line to helper programs.

  • in order to backup a db or sql database, you cannot simply copy database files. backupninja helps you safely export the data to a format which you can backup.

  • works with Linux-Vservers.

    Backup types include:

  • secure, remote, incremental filesytem backup (via rdiff-backup). incremental data is compressed. permissions are retained even with an unpriviledged backup user.

  • basic system and hardware information.

  • encrypted remote backups (via duplicity).

  • safe backup of MySQL, PostgreSQL, OpenLDAP, and subversion databases.

  • burn CD/DVDs or create ISOs.


-h, --help

Show summary of options

-d, --debug

Run in debug mode, where all log messages are output to the current shell.

-f, --conffile CONF_FILE

Use CONF_FILE for the main configuration instead of /etc/backupninja.conf

-t, --test

Run in test mode, no actions are actually taken.

-n, --now

Perform actions now, instead of when they might be scheduled.


Runs the action configuration ACTION_FILE and exits.


General settings are configured in /etc/backupninja.conf. In this file you can set the log level and change the default directory locations. See backupninja.conf(5).

To preform the actual backup actions, backupninja processes each action configuration file in /etc/backup.d according to the file's suffix. See backup.d(5).


Backupninja can be used to implement whatever backup strategy you choose. It is intended, however, to be used like so:

First, databases are safely copied or exported to /var/backups. Often, you cannot make a file backup of a database while it is in use, hence the need to use special tools to make a safe copy or export into /var/backups.

Then, vital parts of the file system, including /var/backups, are nightly pushed to a remote, off-site, hard disk (using rdiff-backup). The local user is root, but the remote user is not privileged. Hopefully, the remote filesystem is encrypted.

In order for this to work (ie for diff-backup to run unattended), you must create ssh keys on the source server and copy the public key to the remote user's authorized keys file. For example:

[email protected]# ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096

[email protected]# ssh-copy-id -i /root/.ssh/ [email protected]

Now, you should be able to ssh from user 'root' on srchost to user 'backup' on desthost without specifying a password. When prompted for a password by ssh-keygen, just leave it blank by hitting return. The "wizard" ninjahelper(1) will walk you through these steps.


/usr/sbin/backupninja main script

/etc/backupninja.conf main configuration file; general options

/etc/cron.d/backupninja runs main script hourly

/etc/logrotate.d/backupninja rotates backupninja.log

/etc/backup.d directory for configuration files

/usr/share/backupninja directory for handler scripts

/usr/share/doc/backupninja/examples example action configuration files.

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BACKUPNINJA was written by the collective.