Best Open Source Backup Software & Tools

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For most medium to large companies, experiencing a single hour of downtime costs more than $100,000, and for a smaller group, the costs are likely to exceed one million dollars. With potential losses like these, it’s no wonder that enterprises invest heavily in backup and recovery solutions that can get them back up and running quickly.

For small businesses and home users, losing the data on computer systems can be equally catastrophic (though not quite so costly). A hard drive crash may mean the loss of decades of family photos, important business reports, tax forms and other files that are difficult or impossible to replace. Without a recovery solution in place, it might take days or even weeks to repair the damage.

Fortunately, the open source community has a large number of solutions available that can help individuals and organizations of all sizes protect their valuable data while minimizing their costs.

We’ve put together a list of fifty of these applications. It includes both network and single-system backup software, as well as related tools, like encryption and compression utilities. With these sorts of solutions in place, enterprises, small business and home users no longer need to fear what will happen to their files in the case of a major event like a natural disaster or a minor event like a hardware failure.

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AMANDA stands for “Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver,” and it’s a very popular enterprise backup system that supports disk, tape and optical media backups. A cloud-based service that utilizes the same technology is available through Zmanda, which is owned by Carbonite. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

2. BackupPC

This network backup system can archive large numbers of files to local or networked disk storage. It uses pooling and compression to make the archived files as small as possible, reducing storage hardware capacity requirements and costs. Operating System: Windows, Linux

3. Bacula

The Bacula website boasts, “According to Source Forge statistics (rank and downloads), Bacula is by far the most popular open source program backup program.” It offers enterprise-grade backup, recovery and data verification capabilities. Enterprises can obtain paid support, training and services through Bacula Systems. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

4. Bareos

Forked from Bacula, Bareos (short for Backup Archiving Recovery Open Sourced) offers features like LTO hardware encryption, efficient bandwidth usage and practical console commands. The link above connects to the open source project, but there is also a commercially supported version at Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

5. Box Backup

This automatic backup solution copies files to disk only, not tape or other media. It includes encryption capabilities and features that minimize bandwidth use. Operating System: Windows, Linux


Short for “BackUp And Restore Program,” BURP is a network backup tool based on librsync. Note that the server version runs on Unix-based systems, but the client can run on Windows systems as well. Operating System: Windows, Linux

7. Clonezilla

Clonezilla actually comes in two different versions: Clonezilla live for single systems and Clonezilla SE (Server Edition) for network backup. It addition to backup and recovery, it can also do multicasting, which is ideal for deploying many new systems at once. Operating System: Linux

8. Duplicati

Designed to be used in a cloud computing environment, Duplicati is a client application for creating encrypted, incremental, compressed backups to be stored on a server. It works with public clouds like Amazon, Google Drive and Rackspace, as well as private clouds and networked file servers. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

9. FOG

Like Clonezilla, FOG is a disk imaging and cloning tool that can aid with both backup and deployment. It’s easy to use, supports networks of all sizes and includes other features like virus scanning, memory testing, disk wiping, disk testing and file recovery. Operating System: Linux, Windows

10. FreeFileSync

Very highly rated, FreeFileSync is a file and folder synchronization tool that can be used for many purposes, including local or network backups. Noteworthy features include the ability to automate batch synchronization jobs, native 64-bit support, detailed error reporting, support for long file paths and more. Operating System: Linux, Windows, OS X

11. Grsync

This project provides a graphic interface for the Rsync command-line tool. It supports multiple languages, and screenshots are available on the website. Operating System: Linux, Windows, OS X

12. Rsync

Rsync is a well-known command-line utility for synchronizing files for various purposes. It boasts fast performance and supports mirroring and backup. Operating System: Linux, Windows, OS X

13. Mondo Rescue

This disaster recovery solution can back up files to tape, optical media and network or local disk storage. Its website declares, “You need it to be safe.” Operating System: Linux

14. Partimage

This disk partition backup and recovery tool claims to be extremely fast. It can archive files to a partition on your hard disk or to another network location, and it can also be used to create a system rescue CD. Operating System: Linux

15. XSIbackup

Designed for VMware ESXi 5.1 and ESXi 5.5 environments, this tool automatically backs up virtual machines in accordance with user-defined policies. Features include automatic provisioning, detailed reporting and more. Operating System: OS Independent

16. UrBackup

This client-server backup system makes incremental backups while you work without interrupting current processes. It’s fast, easy to use and can be configured to do backups via the Internet. Operating System: Windows, Linux

Backup—Single System

17. Areca Backup

This system backup tool focuses on providing ease of use and flexibility. Key features include compression, encryption, source file filters, delta backup, archive merges, as-of-date recovery, reports and much more. Operating System: Windows, Linux

18. Backup

Ruby-based Backup offers backup capabilities for Linux and Mac systems. It supports a variety of databases, storage technologies, syncing tools, compression, encryption and notification utilities. Operating System: Linux, OS X

19. Back In Time

Inspired by FlyBack (see below) and similar software, this tool creates incremental backups with a focus on simplicity. Versions are available for Gnome and KDE desktops. Operating System: Linux

20. Create Synchronicity

At just 220KB, Create Synchronicity is one of the lightest weight, fastest system backup tools available. The graphic interface is very easy to use, while also offering plenty of options for those who want to customize their backup process. Operating System: Windows

21. DAR

Short for “Disk ARchive,” DAR is a command line tool that supports incremental and decremental backup and includes encryption capabilities. An optional GUI is available from the DarGUI project. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

22. DirSync Pro

DirSync Pro is a synchronization tool with filtering and scheduling capabilities. It also includes several modes for mirroring, backup, contribution and other occasions when file and folder synchronization is useful. Note that despite the “Pro” in the name, this is a 100 percent free and open source tool. Operating System: Windows

23. DriverBackup!

This simple utility backs up and recovers Windows drivers. It doesn’t require installation and claims to be “fast and user-friendly.” Operating System: Windows

24. Duplicity

This Linux-only backup solution puts the focus on bandwidth efficiency and encryption capabilities. Note that it is still a beta release and runs from the command line. Operating System: Windows

25. FullSync

Designed for developers, FullSync serves three different functions: website publication, backup and file synchronization. Key features include flexible rules, multiple synchronization modes and support for multiple file transfer protocols. Operating System: Linux, Windows, OS X

26. FlyBack

Modeled after Apple’s TimeMachine, FlyBack offers incremental backups. Users can “fly” forward or backward in time to recover files from a point when the system was stable. Operating System: Linux

27. LuckyBackup

This award-winning backup tool has received many excellent reviews. It’s based on Rsync and is easy to use. Note that the Windows version is still under heavy development. Operating System: Linux, Windows

28. Obnam

Obnam can backup systems to local disk or an online server. Key capabilities include the ability to do both push and pull backups, data de-duplication, snapshot backups and encyrption. Operating System: Linux

29. Redo

This very popular single system backup tool claims to be able to do a bare metal restore in under ten minutes. It’s easy to use and can run from a CD or USB drive. Operating System: Windows, Linux

30. SchizoCopy

While it isn’t a full backup and recovery solution, this utility provides an alternative to the standard Windows file copy and move operations. It’s very fast, and it offers a “Backup support” feature. Operating System: Windows, Linux

31. SMS Backup+

This fork of SMS Backup allows Android users to archive their text messages to a Gmail account. It can also restore texts stored in Gmail back to your smartphone. Operating System: Android

32. Synkron

This synchronization tool offers multiple options for configuring your backups and syncs. Features include multiple folder sync, analysis tools, blacklisting, file restoration and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

33. Win32DiskImager

Extremely popular with developers and system administrators, this helpful tool can backup a raw disk image to removable media, or it can convert a CD, DVD or thumb drive to a disk image. It’s a fairly simple, no-frills project, but receives rave reviews from users. Operating System: Windows

Online Data Storage

34. FTPbox

This project allows you to use your own server as an FTP-based file syncing host. Similar to Dropbox, it backs up the files on your system and allows you to access them from anywhere. Operating System: Windows

35. Pydio

Formerly known as AjaXplorer, Pydio is another option for setting up a file syncing and sharing platform on your servers. It claims to offer “consumer-grade simplicity allied to enterprise-grade compliance.” Operating System: Windows, Linux (Android and iOS clients available)

36. SparkleShare

This developer-focused project makes it easy to host and share files that are accessed by a lot of people. It’s good for backing up a few files that change frequently, but it’s less ideal for a complete system backup. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

37. Syncany

This synchronization tool can copy your files to any cloud storage service, including both public and private clouds. It encrypts files for privacy, but also allows you to share them with others. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X


38. 7-zip

When backing up files, it makes sense to use compression to save space. 7-zip can compress files up to 10 percent smaller than other popular tools, and it can pack and unpack many different kinds of archived files. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

39. ArcConvert

If you need to convert an archived file from one format to another, ArcConvert does the job. It supports a long list of file formats and languages, and it’s won quite a few different awards from technology publications and websites. Operating System: Windows

40. ArcThemALL!

This batch compression tool can create three different kinds of archive files and read 33. It also supports encryption, and it comes in a portable version that doesn’t require installation. Operating System: Windows

41. J7Z

J7Z offers an alternative interface for 7-zip. It can quickly create archive files, backup folders and more. Operating System: Windows

42. Keka

For Macs only, Keka is a port of 7-zip. Like the original, it supports many different archive file formats in addition to 7z. Operating System: OS X

43. PeaZip

One of the most flexible archiving tools ever made, PeaZip can handle more than 150 different types of compressed files. It can open, compress, convert, split, encrypt and securely delete backup files of nearly any kind. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X


44. AxCrypt

Encryption is a must for any backup files, and with more than 3 million downloads, AxCrypt can be considered the “leading open source file encryption software for Windows.” It integrates directly into Windows, making it easy to encrypt and decrypt files with just a click or two, and it can be used with cloud-based backups. Operating System: Windows

45. Ccrypt

This replacement for the standard Unix crypt function uses the Rijndael block cipher version of AES to provide strong encryption. Like Crypt (below), it doesn’t have a graphic interface and is best used by those comfortable working from the command line. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

46. Crypt

At just 44KB, this is one of the fastest, lightest weight encryption tools available. However, because it’s a command line tool, it’s best for experienced system administrators or advanced users. Operating System: Windows

47. Encrypt

Also designed to be small and lightweight, Encrypt is a cross-platform tool with strong encryption capabilities. It aims to be fast and easy to use. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android


LUKS stands for “Linux Unified Key Setup,” and it encrypts an entire drive. It’s useful for hard disk backups and other types of storage that need password protection. Operating System: Linux

49. NeoCrypt

This file-based encryption program supports AES, DES, Triple-DES, IDEA, RC4, RC5, CAST-128, BlowFish, SkipJack and other algorithms. Like AxCrypt, it integrates into Windows Explorer for ease of use. Operating System: Windows

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Cynthia Harvey
Cynthia Harvey
Cynthia Harvey is a freelance writer and editor based in the Detroit area. She has been covering the technology industry for more than fifteen years.

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