Sunday, 26 April 2009

Backup your web site using ftp, with archive history and rsync (for free for home use)

I've been looking for a way to automatically backup my web site to my local PC using tools that are free, bandwidth friendly, keep revision history (just in case), easy to use, and can be scripted... I think I've found a system that works: Areca Backup with NetDrive

Areca Backup is a (SourceForge) file backup (with revision management) software that supports incremental, image and delta backup on local drives or remote FTP servers. It also allows you to browse your backups and navigate among different versions of the files contained in your archives.

Areca uses an algorithm which is similar to rsync to detect and handle modified parts of your files. This is where the bandwidth savings come in.... if a large file has been changed, only the modified part of the file is transferred from the server to your PC - it's faster and lighter on bandwidth usage.

But, although Areca can send your backup files to an ftp server for safe storage, I couldn't find a way of making it fetch the files from an ftp server.... until now that is.
I tried various backup programs, but all of them had the same problem - it couldn't have an ftp folder as the source (only the destination).

That's when I found NetDrive: NetDrive mounts remote storage as a local (mapped) hard drive on your PC, allows data transfer using drag and drop files in Windows Explorer, and mounts a mapped drive drive automatically when Windows starts.
With NetDrive, managing your remote FTP and WebDAV servers is as easy as managing any file folders on your PC.
Once you mount the local drive, you don't need to run an application or an FTP client interface.

See here for more of NetDrive's features:

NetDrive is a bit slower than TotalCommander’s ftp feature…. but at least it works! So, I’ll use TotalCommander to browse and do file operations, but NetDrive to map a drive for the backup+archive app to use.

Areca can handle the following types of backups:
Full Backup: When a full backup is performed, ALL files are stored in your archive (whether they have been modified or not).
Incremental backup: When an incremental backup is performed, only the files which have been modified since the last backup are stored in your archive.
Differential backup: When a differential backup is performed, only the files which have been modified since the last FULL backup are stored in your archive.

See here for more Areca info:

General info: and

Download Areca Backup from here [5MB, needs Java v1.4.2 or later 15MB]:
Date: 22 April 2009: Areca 7.1 has been released

Download NetDrive from here [8MB]: (name and email address is required)

Other product combinations that I looked at (most not free):
Comparison of Microsoft Sync Toy and RoboCopy:
TitanBackup with GoodSync:

Updated on Sun 26 Apr 2009:
Save all those important files off site, daily, automatically:
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R69 per month for <5gb>
Backup Space, 448 bit Encryption, 128 SSL Cert Transfer, Powered by Attix5, Data Compression, Incremental Backups, Auto Daily Backups, Secret Encryption Key, Data 100% Encrypted, Backs Up Open Files

First backup can be taken on a memory stick - to save on those bandwidth costs (once off fee of R99)
Awesome support and dedicated support team.

See here for more: - the Best Web Hosting Ever!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. That's a good way to backup your data since it is not exactly susceptible to any user damage. You can drop a hard drive or scratch a dvd but you cant do any of that to an FTP or online server.

  3. @Backup system: thanks for your comment :)
    Yes, I of course agree... also, a DVD or external hard drive can get lost or stolen too.


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