Download a Local Copy of your Linode Backup

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Download a Local Copy of your Linode Backup

The Linode Backups service can create automatic and manual snapshots of your Linode. A completed backup can be directly restored to the origin Linode or to a new Linode in the same data center. These workflows make it easy to revert to a working configuration if you run into any unexpected issues with your software.

Linode’s backups are stored in a way that is only directly readable by the Linode Backups service. A common question for the service is how you can download the content from your Linode Backups to another storage location, like your home computer. This can be accomplished in two phases:

  1. Restore a backup to a new or existing Linode.
  2. Download either specific files or the entire disk image from that Linode, as needed.

Before You Begin

Account Permissions and Billing

Several of the steps in this guide involve adding services to or removing services from a Linode account. Visit our guide on Users and Permissions for more information about restricted Linode users.

Note that the cost of adding Backups service and adding a Linode to your account is billed, prorated per hour. If the backups service is only enabled for a few hours, you will only be charged for a few hours of the service. See the Backups pricing details for more information. Likewise, when you create a Linode, you will be billed per hour that the Linode exists, whether it is powered on or not.

The steps in this guide have been designed to minimize the potential costs associated with this process. Additionally, keep the following in mind:

  • Removing a Linode from your account also cancels the associated Backup service for that Linode.
  • A Linode’s backups are deleted when a Linode is deleted.
  • If you choose to leave the Backups service enabled, or if you do not remove the additional Linode from your account, you will be automatically billed. If you only power the Linode off, you will still be billed for it.

Enable Backups and Take a Snapshot

These steps are the minimum required for the scope of this guide. Visit our Backups guide for information about how to implement regular backups of your Linode.

  1. Go to your Linode’s dashboard, click Backups, click Enable backups for this Linode » and confirm the additional cost per month.

  2. This guide focuses on saving a snapshot or specific backup. Click Take a New Snapshot Now.

    • The snapshot appears in the Backup History at the bottom of the page.

Restore from a Backup

This section shows how to restore a backup to a new Linode, or to an existing Linode.

Restoring a backup will create a new configuration profile and a new set of disks on your Linode. The restore process does not restore single files or directories automatically. Restoring particular files can be done by completing a normal restore, copying the files off of the new disks, and then removing the disks afterward.


The size of the disk(s) created by the restore process will only be slightly larger than the total size of the files restored. This means that the disk(s) created will be ‘full’.

Some applications, like databases, need some amount of free unused space inside the disk in order to run. As a result, you may want to increase your disk(s) size after the restore process is completed.

Restore to a New Linode

You can restore a backup to any Linode located in the same data center, even if the target does not have the Backup Service enabled. This section covers how to restore a backup to a new Linode that does not have any disks deployed to it. If you wish to restore your backup to an existing Linode, see the next section.

  1. From the Dashboard of the Linode whose backups you intend to restore, click on the Backups tab. Select the Restore to… link beneath the backup version that you want to restore.

  2. Under the Select column, click the Restore to this Linode link next to your new Linode.

    The backup disks and configuration profiles will be restored to the Linode you selected. Watch the Host Job Queue to monitor the progress. Restoring from a backup can take several minutes depending on the size of your Linode and the amount of data you have stored on it.

Restore to an Existing Linode

To restore a backup to an existing Linode, you will need to make sure that you have enough storage space that is not currently assigned to disk images.

If you are attempting to restore a disk to the same Linode the backup was created from, the restoration process will not delete the original disk for you. You can manually delete the original disk if you prefer to, but this is not strictly required.
  1. Start by confirming the size of the backup that you wish to restore. From the Backups tab in your Linode’s Dashboard, click the Restore to… link beneath your desired backup version.

  2. Check the Total size required field to confirm the size of your backup.

    As an example, if the total size of the backup comes to 3107MB, this means you would need at least that much free space to restore the backup to your Linode.

  3. Next, you’ll confirm the total space assigned to disk images on your Linode, via the Storage indicator on your Linode’s Dashboard.

  4. If the amount of space available is greater than the size of the backup, you can proceed with restoring. If the amount of unallocated space is less than the size of the backup, you can shrink your existing disks to make room for it.


    In some cases, you will not be able to shrink your disks enough to fit the restored backup. Other alternatives for restoring to your existing Linode include:

  5. Once the disk resize has completed, check the storage indicator on your Linode’s Dashboard to confirm that you’ve freed up enough space for your backup.

  6. From the Backups tab, click the Restore to this Linode link next to your Linode.

    Your backup will begin restoring to your Linode, and you can monitor its progress from the Host Job Queue in your Linode’s Dashboard tab. Note that the time it takes to restore your backup will vary depending upon the restore size, and the number of files being restored.

    In order to access the files from your restored disks, you will need to reboot your Linode under the new configuration profile that was created by the restore process. The restored disks are assigned to the new profile, and your backed up data will be accessible when you boot from that profile.

Download Specific Files or Directories over SSH

If you just need specific files from your Linode, you can download those over SSH. Downloading files over SSH can be done at a command-line interface, or with a graphical SFTP file browser.

Secure Copy Protocol (SCP)

You can use SCP to retrieve a specific directory or file via the command-line. SCP is installed by default on most macOS and Linux systems, and is available with Cygwin or PuTTY for Windows.

  • The syntax for using SCP to copy a file from your Linode into a directory on another computer is:

    scp [email protected]_linode_ip:/path/to/your/file.txt /path/to/your/local/directory/

    The file will be saved inside /path/to/your/local/directory/.

  • To copy a file from your Linode to another computer and give it a specific name (in this case, file.txt.backup):

    scp [email protected]_linode_ip:/path/to/your/file.txt /path/to/your/local/directory/file.txt.backup
  • To copy an entire directory:

    scp -r [email protected]_linode_ip:/path/to/your/directory /path/to/your/local/directory

    If /path/to/your/local/directory already exists on your computer, then the copied directory will be placed inside /path/to/your/local/directory (i.e. /path/to/your/local/directory/directory).

    If /path/to/your/local/directory does not already exist, then the copied directory will be created with that name.

For example:

  • Download an NGINX configuration file to your user’s /home folder:

      scp [email protected]_linode_ip:/etc/nginx/conf.d/ ~/
  • Download an Apache configuration file to your /home folder:

      scp [email protected]_linode_ip:/etc/apache2/sites-available/ ~/
  • Copy the entire document root from a web server:

      scp -r [email protected]_linode_ip:/var/www/html/ ~/html_backup

If you intend to repeat this process regularly, consider using rsync to create additional local copies of your data. rsync is capable of performing incremental file copies, which means you do not have to fully transfer each file every time you download your data.


FileZilla is a popular free and open source FTP, FTPS, and SFTP client which has a GUI but can also take CLI arguments. In contrast to to SCP, SFTP can list directory contents, create or delete files, and resume interrupted file transfers.

See our FileZilla guide for more information.

Downloading Data from a Database

Special care is needed when downloading data from a database. Before it can be downloaded, the data in a database needs to first be dumped to a file. This database dump file can then be transferred just as any other normal file type.

Download a Disk over SSH

Downloading your disk will copy a .img file to your computer that encapsulates all of the data that is on your Linode’s disk. This disk image can later be re-uploaded to the Linode service at a later date, which can be useful if you’d like to temporarily remove your Linode and stop service. Follow our Copy a Disk over SSH guide for further instructions.

Clean Up after Your Download

After you’ve finished downloading your files or disks, you can optionally delete the restored disks. If you created a new Linode to perform the restore, consider deleting the Linode. As a reminder, billing for that Linode will continue automatically if you do not remove it. If you only power the Linode off, you will still be billed for it.

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