Four Tips on How to Back Up and Restore a Linux Server

Even the most secure Linux system is still at risk of data loss. When it comes to any critical element of your organization, you can’t leave things to chance by operating without secure backups. Backing up your Linux server can help protect your business from this risk and serve as a supplementary protection measure if everything else fails.

Secure backup methodologies vary between different Linux server types. This guide will provide managed services providers (MSPs) and IT admins with five key tips for executing successful Linux backup and restore operations.

How do you create backup files and restore a Linux server?

Linux backup and restore processes can be time-consuming, but are a necessary part of safeguarding business continuity and keeping your MSP secure. For those who want to make this necessary process as robust as possible, these five tips can help you better understand how to achieve a Linux backup and restore. Alternatively, a dedicated backup tool can help incorporate all these steps in a way that is efficient and headache-free.

1. THE 3-2-1 RULE

The vast majority of administrators are aware of the 3-2-1 rule, which establishes the ideal quantity and storage location of your backups. The 3-2-1 rule states you should maintain at least three copies of your data, with two backup copies on different storage media and at least one copy in an offsite location. Companies that enforce this rule rarely find themselves without a viable backup in the event of a system failure. The 3-2-1 rule is an essential part of safeguarding your Linux backups.


Don’t fall into the trap of setting all your backups to begin at one specific time. This can lead to the network being flooded with backup traffic. As a result, you may find your backups timeout or run forever, leaving them unfinished. Take time to calculate how long each backup should take and then stagger them accordingly, setting them to start at different times to avoid flooding the network. It’s worth noting not every server needs to be backed up overnight. Some servers may become quiet in the evening, perhaps as early as 5:00 p.m., when staff log out of the corporate network.


Documentation can be an arduous process, but it’s important to remember you don’t work in a vacuum. At some time or another, it’s likely you’ll need to teach someone else how to manage backups. If you change jobs, go on sick leave for a prolonged period, or take an extended vacation, having other team members who can manage backups according to your standardized policy is critical.

Make sure you document your strategy, the steps you take to manage Linux backups and perform restores as needed, and where you store your data. Be as thorough and as specific as possible—your document should hopefully enable someone who knows nothing about your processes to run a standard backup in your stead.


This tip may seem obvious, but a surprising number of administrators run backups, verify that they ran, but then fail to check the backup itself is fit for purpose. A simple way to verify your backups involves planting a file with a recognizable name—like “backup_verify.txt”—on the filesystem. Whether you do it manually or automate the process, verify you can grab this file out of a backup and restore it to a known location.

Simplifying the process with the right server backup software 

Although backups can be frustrating, secure backups can save you a lot of time and help ensure your business’ continuity in the long run. Managing Linux backup and restore operations can be challenging, but the right server backup software makes the process infinitely easier. SolarWinds Backup is a highly versatile data protection product designed to let you choose and prioritize the data and assets you want to protect, empowering you to manage them all from a single dashboard.

SolarWinds Backup allows you to back up physical and virtual servers, workstations, business documents, and Microsoft 365 Exchange, OneDrive, and SharePoint. It also enables you to restore from bare-metal images in a matter of minutes. This includes full system or file- and folder-level recovery and physical-to-virtual recovery—giving you full protection.

This restore software is easy to use, accessible via the web, and provides advanced security for your backups. For maximum security, the software utilizes global certified data centers, regional data storage, data encrypted at rest and in transit using AES 256-bit encryption, and end-to-end encryption practices. If you’re looking for backup and restore software to help streamline your strategy and take the stress out of managing backups, look no further than SolarWinds Backup. Get started today with a 30-day free trial.

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