Shell Script to Backup Files Locally Using Rsync

Written by BinnyVA on May 9, 2008 – 11:39 pm -


All programmers have their own customized backup solutions. I have six. Yes, six! Five to backup files and one to backup database tables. And I am not counting version control or other backup systems built into the tools I use. Anyway, in the first post of the shell scripts series, let me introduce you to my Rsync based local backup solution.

Configuration File

This script reads a configuration file named ‘rsyncbackup.config’ and backups all the folders specified in that file to another location in the same system. This configuration file must be in the same folder as the perl script. The configuration file format is given below…

#Notes - do NOT include the last '/' at the end of the source folders

#################### Web files ####################
# My Sites
#Folder to backup		#Folder to which it should be backuped to
/var/www/html/Sites		Htdocs/
/var/www/html/Projects	Htdocs/

If there is just one column in a line, that folder will be backuped to “<backup folder>/<folder name>“. Let say that my backup destination folder is ‘/var/Backup/Rsync‘. So the first line, ‘~/Scripts‘ will copy the contents of ‘~/Scripts‘ to ‘/var/Backup/Rsync/Scripts

If a line in the configuration file has two columns, then an extra folder will be created with the name provided in the second column. For example, the line ‘/var/www/html/Sites     Htdocs/‘ will create a backup of ‘/var/www/html/Sites‘ in ‘/var/Backup/Rsync/Htdocs/Sites

And if you have not guessed it already, all lines that begin in a # are comments and will be ignored.

The Script

There is the perl script that automates the rsync calls…


$backup_folder = '/var/Backup/Rsync'; #Final '/' must NOT be there.

use File::Basename;
my $config_file = dirname($0) . "/rsyncbackup.config";
my @all_locations = removeComments(getFileContents($config_file));

chdir($backup_folder) or die("Cannot go to folder '$backup_folder'");

foreach my $folder_locations (@all_locations) {
	my($folder,$backup_location) = split(/\s+/,$folder_locations);

	print "Backing up $folder to $backup_location ... ";
	`rsync -a $folder $backup_folder/$backup_location`;
	print "Done\n";

sub getFileContents {
	my $file = shift;
	my @lines;
	if(!open (FILE,$file)) {
		die("Can't open '$file': $!");
	} else {
	return @lines;

sub removeComments {
	my @lines = @_;

	@cleaned = grep(!/^\s*#/, @lines); #Remove Comments
	@cleaned = grep(!/^\s*$/, @cleaned); #Remove Empty lines

	return @cleaned;

Execute this script using the command ‘perl’. In my system I have created an alias ‘bk’ for this script. I recommend that you make a similar alias if you take backups regularly(extremely recommended).

Backing up is done using rsync – so its faster than a simple ‘cp’ as only the modified and new files are copied. | Digg it | reddit | StumbleUpon

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Posted in Programming, Scripting, Shell Scripts | 4 Comments »

4 Comments to “Shell Script to Backup Files Locally Using Rsync”

  1. […] You can also use this to send your files to a remote server. This script compliments the last Rsync Backup script. Its possible to combine both the script together, I prefer to keep them […]

  2. […] Shell Script to Backup Files Locally Using Rsync | LinDesk (tags: linux sysadmin backup script rsync) […]

  3. Hosehead says:

    Excellent piece of work!


  4. rimas76 says:

    It my first experience with Perl, and your script is very very good.
    Now, I’m trying to do the same thing to a remote server via a ftp or ssh.
    Thank you very much for your help.

    P/S: I tried to do the same thing with bash, but now I prefere the Perl

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