Backup Service

Updated by James Stewart

The Linode Backup Service is a subscription service that automatically performs daily and weekly backups of your Linode. It’s affordable, easy to use, and provides peace of mind. This guide explains how to enable backups, schedule backups, make a manual backup, restore from backup, and disable the Backup Service.

Getting Started

Ready to start protecting your data? Let us help you sign up and get going with the Linode Backup Service.

Pricing

Pricing is per Linode and varies depending on the size of your virtual private server, as shown below:

  • Linode 1GB: $2.50/month
  • Linode 2GB: $5.00/month
  • Linode 4GB: $10.00/month
  • Linode 8GB: $20.00/month
  • Linode 16GB: $40.00/month
  • Linode 32GB: $80.00/month

Annual and biennial discounts are not available for this service.

Enabling Backups

Use the Linode Manager to enable the Backup Service on a Linode. Here’s how:

  1. Log in to the Linode Manager.
  2. From the Linodes tab, select the Linode you want to back up.
  3. Click the Backups tab.
  4. Click Enable backups for this Linode. The Complete Your Order webpage appears.
  5. Review the pro-rated total, and then click Complete Order. Your credit card will immediately be billed for the prorated amount.

The Linode Backup Service is now enabled for the selected Linode.

Finding Your Way Around

You’ll manage your backups with a simple web interface in the Linode Manager. There’s no software to install, and there are no commands to run. Just log in to the Linode Manager, click the Linodes tab, select a Linode, and then click the Backups tab. The backups interface is shown below.

The Linode Backup Service interface.

  1. Schedule automated backups. For more information, see Scheduling Backups.
  2. Indicates when the daily and weekly backups were performed. Click the Restore to… link to restore a backup to a Linode.
  3. Manually back up your Linode by taking a manual snapshot. For more information, see Taking a Manual Snapshot.
  4. Review the history to see when backups were created. If there are any error messages, they will also be displayed in this section.

How Linode Backups Work

Backups are stored on a separate systems in the same datacenter as your Linode. The space required to store the backups is not subtracted from your storage space. You can store four backups of your Linode, three of which are automatically generated and rotated:

  • Daily backup: Automatically initiated daily within the backup window you select. Less than 24 hours old.
  • Current week’s backup: Automatically initiated weekly within the backup window, on the day you select. Less than 7 days old.
  • Last week’s backup: Automatically initiated weekly within the backup window, on the day you select. Between 8 and 14 days old.
  • Manual Snapshot: A user-initiated snapshot that stays the same until another snapshot is initiated.

The daily and weekly backups are automatically erased when a new backup is performed. The Linode Backup Service does not keep automated backups older than 8-14 days.

Scheduling Backups

You can configure when automatic backups are initiated. Here’s how:

  1. From the Linodes tab, select the Linode.
  2. Click the Backups tab.
  3. Select a time interval from the Backup Window menu. The Linode Backup Service will generate all backups between these hours.
  4. Select a day from the Weekly Backup menu. This is the day whose backup will be promoted to the weekly slot. The back up will be performed within the backup window you specified in step 3.
  5. Click Save Changes.

The Linode Backup Service will backup your Linode according to the schedule you specified.

Taking a Manual Snapshot

You can make a manual backup of your Linode by taking a snapshot. Here’s how:

  1. From the Linodes tab, select the Linode.
  2. Click the Backups tab.
  3. Click Take a New Snapshot Now.

Taking a new snapshot will overwrite a saved snapshot.

  1. A warning appears asking if you would like to overwrite the previous snapsnot. Click OK.

The Linode Backup Service initiates the manual snapshot. Be patient! Creating the manual snapshot can take several minutes depending on the size of your Linode and the amount of data you have stored on it. Other Linode Manager jobs for this Linode will not run until the snapshot job has been completed.

Restoring from a Backup

You can restore a backup to any Linode located in the same data center, even if it does not have the Backup Service enabled. Here’s how:

If you are restoring your backup to an existing Linode, you will need to ensure that you have sufficient available space to contain the disks. You can confirm the disk space required by visiting the Backups tab in your Linode Manager, and selecting the ‘Restore To’ option under your required backup. The ‘Total Size Required’ value will display the required disk space in megabytes. The new size for your current disk cannot be smaller than the contents of the disk itself. If you are restoring your backup to a brand new Linode, or you have sufficient free space, you can skip to step 6.

  1. Click the Linodes tab and select the Linode that you wish to restore to.
  2. Click Shut down to turn your Linode off.
  3. Select the disk you want to resize. The Edit Disk webpage appears.
  4. In the New Size field, enter a different size for the disk in megabytes.
  5. Click Save Changes. The Linode’s dashboard appears. Watch the Host Job Queue for confirmation that the disk has been resized.
  6. From the Linodes tab, select the Linode that you want to restore from.
  7. Click the Backups tab.
  8. Find the backup you want to restore. Click the Restore to… link. The backup details webpage appears, as shown below.

The restore from backup interface.

  1. Find the Linode you want to restore the backup to. Click the Restore to this Linode link.
  2. A warning appears asking if you would like to restore the backup to the Linode you selected. Click OK.

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.

The size of of the disk(s) created by the restore process will be slightly larger than the total size of the files restored. You may want to resize your disk(s) after the restore process is completed.

Booting from the Backup

After the backup has been restored, the disks and configuration profiles will be available to the Linode you selected. Select the restored configuration profile and reboot your Linode to start up from the restored disks. Here’s how:

  1. From the Linodes tab, select the Linode that you restored the backup to. The Linode’s dashboard appears, as shown below.

The restore from backup interface.

  1. Select the configuration profile that was restored.
  2. Click Boot or Reboot to start your Linode from the backup disks.

The Linode will start from the backup disks. Watch the Host Job Queue to monitor the progress.

Disabling Backups

You can cancel the Backup Service at any time. Please open a support ticket to do so. A Linode support representative will turn off the service, remove your backups from our servers, and issue a prorated service credit for the time left in the current billing period. This credit may be used to purchase additional Linode services in the future.

Limitations

There are some limitations to what the Linode Backup Service can back up. Here are some things you should be aware of:

  • The Backup Service must be able to mount your disks. If you’ve created partitions, configured full disk encryption, or made other changes that prevent us from mounting the disk as a filesystem, you will likely not be able to use the Linode Backup Service. The backup system operates at the file level, not at the block level.
  • Backups taken of ext4 or ext3 filesystems will be restored as ext3. Backups taken of other mountable filesystem types will have their contents restored using ext3.
  • Files that have been modified but have the same size and modify time will not be considered “changed” during a subsequent backup. ACLs and extended attributes are not tracked.
  • The Backup Service uses a snapshot of your disks to take consistent backups while your Linode is running. This method is very reliable, but can fail to properly back up the data files for database services like MySQL. If the snapshot occurs during a transaction, the database’s files may be backed up in an unclean state. We recommend scheduling routine dumps of your database to a file on the filesystem. The resulting file will then be backed up, allowing you to restore the contents of the database if you need to restore from a backup.

This guide is published under a CC BY-ND 3.0 license.