I have a server which uses Rsnapshot to take snapshots of folders in miscellaneous computers within a Lan.

I would like to have another server located remotely that is to serve as a backup to this local server.

But Rsnapshot stores its snapshots in a very special kind of folder structure, and rsync/mirroring this folder structure is not a straight forward procedure for Rsync for instance would most likely get confused and try to Rsync daily.0 remotely with daily.0 locally, but they would actually be different days in many cases.

Or how does that work, is it safe/efficient to just Rsync the whole backup/snapshot folder created by Rsnapshot onto a remote server?

My question is:
What is the best way to make a remote backup of an Rsnapshooting server?

  • So you actually want to merge the backup directories of one rsnapshot installation into the directories of another installation? Otherwise rsync/tar/whatever would be enough. May 8, 2013 at 13:39
  • I want the remote installation to basically be another copy of whatever the local one is.
    – john-jones
    May 8, 2013 at 13:41
  • Then why should rsync become confused? May 8, 2013 at 14:16
  • because lets say there are 12 monthlies.. and then comes a new month. Rsync then changes all the folder names by incrementing each number by one. Rsync will then be updating every monthly when more efficient would be to only rsync the latest.. somehow.
    – john-jones
    May 8, 2013 at 14:27
  • So you want to keep backup and rsnapshot in sync over time and not just do a oneshot. AFAIK there's no easy way for that; rsync is probably the best you can get - or rename the folders manually. May 8, 2013 at 14:35

2 Answers 2


There is no “best way”. It all depends on your setup and requirements.

One way that also works if the backup directories contains lots of files would be to use snapshots on a lower level and send them to the remote server. ZFS can do that and probably LVM as well, but I never used that. You didn't state your file system or if you use a volume manager, depending on that this might be an option.

In any case it's safe to rsync the backup directory to a remote server. If you have plenty of files it is less efficient than sending block level snapshots.


I changed from rsnapshot to backintime exactly becuase of this problem. With backintime directories are named by date. They both use hardlinks, but backintime is a little smarter in that if nothing changes it doesn't bother making all the links. One difference is backintime changes the permissions of the files to be read only and save the permissions in a separate file.

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