Box backup

Last Update 18/01/08

For a long while I have pondered and tried to find an elegant way to backup my co-located server. I tried and failed with Amanda and several home-brew scripts. I finally stumbled across boxbackup.

Boxbackup is a multi platform network backup device. One system acts a a server to which clients (Windows, Mac, Linux, and BSD) can connect to and backup files.

Boxbackup uses libsync (think rsync) to only synchronise files that have changed. Also because there is both a server and client agent its should be more efficient than rsync alone.

Security is assured through the use of Tsig certificates. Certificates are used to encrypt the data transmission and secure files which have been transferred.

Server Setup

There are Debian packages available here


then install dpkg -i boxbackup-server_0.10-1~bpo.1_i386.deb

The debian installer didn't work out very well for me so I manually ran. Replace server1.example.tld with the name of your server.

bbstored-config /etc/boxbackup server1.example.tld bbstored

Change directory

cd /etc/boxbackup/bbstored

Create a certificate authority

bbstored-certs ca init

Sign the server key

bbstored-certs ca sign-server server1.example.tld-csr.pem

Copy the certificates into the bbstored directory

cp ca/servers/server1.example.tld-cert.pem .

Copy the server cert

ca/roots/clientCA.pem .

My server is behind a NAT firewall so I had to open port 2100 and edit /etc/boxbackup/bbstored.conf

ListenAddresses = inet:server1.example.tld
ListenAddresses = inet:
Create a client account, each client is identified with a unique hex code 75AB59D
bbstoreaccounts create 75AB59D 0 20480M 20480M
The numbers with M following are the soft and hard limits for the amount of space on the server to allow for backups. Start the server
/etc/init.d/boxbackup-server start

Client Setup

Log into the client computer, download boxbackup-client


Install the deb file

dpkg -i boxbackup-client_0.10-1~bpo.1_i386.deb

You will be prompted to let Debian guide you, it didn't work for me. Change to the boxconfig directory.

cd /etc/boxbackup/bbackupd

Run the config generator

bbackupd-config /etc/boxbackup/ lazy 75AB59D server1.example.tld /var/bbackupd /home /var/www

The final entries are the directories to backup. Copy 75AB59D-csr.pem to the main server /etc/boxbackup/bbstored/ and sign with your server certificate.

bbstored-certs ca sign 75AB59D-csr.pem

This will create 2 files ca/roots/serverCA.pem and ca/clients/75AB59D-cert.pem. Copy these to the client in /etc/boxbackup/bbackupd/

Start the client

/etc/init.d/boxbackup-client start

Check its running

grep bb /var/log/syslog

You should see something like

Jan 14 22:53:54 client bbackupd[3540]: Starting daemon (config: /etc/boxbackup/bbackupd.conf) (version 0.10) Jan 14 22:53:55 client bbackupd[3540]: Beginning scan of local files Jan 14 22:53:55 server2 bbackupd[3540]: Opening connection to server server1.example.tld... Jan 14 22:53:56 server2 bbackupd[3540]: Connection made, login successful

Good Luck!