Ubuntu backups: A step-by-step guide

You can make backups in Ubuntu with a built-in tool. All you need is an external storage device. In addition to occasional manual backups, we can recommend setting up a regular automatic backup.

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Making a backup in Ubuntu: The quick version

  1. Plug in your storage device
  2. Enter “Backup” in the search function and open the program
  3. Select the folder you want to save the backup in
  4. Select the files you don’t want to include in the backup
  5. Create a manual backup or plan the backup for later

Why should you make a backup in Ubuntu?

Even though Ubuntu is a relatively safe Linux distribution, you can never be completely protected from losing data. There’s always the possibility that something could happen, and no one wants to lose valuable data! For example, you might make a mistake, there might be a problem with the hardware, or something might go wrong when making an update. That’s why it’s important to regularly make backups. Luckily, backups in Ubuntu are quick and easy to carry out. We recommend that you follow the 3-2-1 backup rule, even with Linux. That way you’ll be on the safe side!

Where should you save your Ubuntu backups?

Before you set up your backup in Ubuntu, you might be wondering where the data should go. Since you want to avoid losing data in the event of a hardware mishap, you should always store your backups on an external device. External hard drives are usually the best choice. However, if you only want to back up the data for one specific project, a USB stick might suffice. In general, we recommend that you regularly make backups and store them on a few different devices. That way, you’ll have previous versions of your files and won’t have to start work all over again in the event of data loss.

Backup in Ubuntu: Step by step

Like many other Linux distributions, Ubuntu has its own built-in backup tool. You could in theory use other programs like tar for backups, but the Ubuntu backup tool is the most secure option. We’ll now explain step-by-step how you can make a backup in Ubuntu.

  1. Plug in the external storage device that you’d like to store the backup on. Make sure that the device is empty.
  2. Open the operating system’s search feature and type in “Backup”. Ubuntu will show you the program, which is simply called “Backup”.
  3. Click on the tool. When the window opens, you’ll see various options on the left side.
  4. Choose the option “Folders to save”. Use the small plus sign to add the folders that you want to back up.
  5. Below that, you’ll find the item “Folders to ignore”. In this menu, you can select the folders that you don’t want saved as a part of this backup. This might include old folders, your downloads folder, or any other files you don’t want saved.
  6. In the next menu “Storage location”, you can choose the external storage device you plugged in in step 1.
  7. Now you’ll have two options: You can either do the backup manually and save copies of all the files and folders you selected on your storage device, or you can use “Scheduling” to schedule the backup for later. This is also where you can set up regular, automatic Ubuntu backups; just make sure you have your external device connected when the backup is set to be carried out.

Ubuntu server backups and professional data storage

Even if you’ve set up a server with Ubuntu, you’ll benefit from regular backups. You can secure your architecture with programs like the server backup tool rsync. For businesses, professional solutions like Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) are worth considering. With these kinds of solutions, you can save sensitive data and entire infrastructures in a cloud for quick access after any data mishaps.


Stay on the safe side! With Cloud Backup from IONOS, you’ll benefit from comprehensive data protection as well as regular virus scans. It’s easy to set up and can be customized to your needs.

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