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How to back up your web server via the terminal

This will backup your entire remote server to your local Macintosh computer using rsync. It uses the command line so it’s not for beginners.

This will backup your entire remote server to your local Macintosh computer. It uses the command line so it’s not for beginners.

Open a terminal window and type the following:

rsync --recursive --verbose --archive --progress --stats --size-only --dry-run yourusername@yourservername.com:folder_to_backup ~/Sites/

replace yourusername@yourservername.com:folder with the folder you want to back up from.

For me it was username@mac-host.com:public_html

This will do a practice run!! If it looks OK, repeat the command with –dry-run removed!

Here’s how to make it so you don’t need to type in your password each time you rsync to the remote machine:

  1. Open the terminal window and type ssh-keygen -t rsa
    Follow the prompts and use the defaults for the filenames it gives you. Don’t enter in a password.
  2. Go to the finder menu Go|Go to Folder and type in ~/.ssh
    You should then have two new files id_rsa and id_rsa.pub.
  3. Use your ftp program to copy id_rsa.pub into the .ssh directory in the home folder on your server machine, and rename it to authorized_keys.

Now you won’t be prompted for a password when you rsync to the server!

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