Code Quality Rank: L3
Programming language: Python
Tags: Backups    

Rdiff-backup alternatives and similar tools

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rdiff-backup is a reverse differential backup tool

rdiff-backup backs up one directory to another, possibly over a network. The target directory ends up a copy of the source directory, but extra reverse diffs are stored in a special subdirectory of that target directory, so you can still recover files lost some time ago. The idea is to combine the best features of a mirror and an incremental backup. rdiff-backup also preserves subdirectories, hard links, dev files, permissions, uid/gid ownership (if it is running as root), modification times, acls, eas, resource forks, etc. Finally, rdiff-backup can operate in a bandwidth efficient manner over a pipe, like rsync. Thus you can use rdiff-backup and ssh to securely back a hard drive up to a remote location, and only the differences will be transmitted.

Read more on the rdiff-backup website.


rdiff-backup is available in package form across many operating systems.


  • Debian/Ubuntu: apt-get install rdiff-backup
  • RHEL/CentOS: yum install rdiff-backup


  • With homebrew: brew install rdiff-backup


  • With the Cygwin setup tool, install the rdiff-backup package, or
  • With Chocolatey: choco install rdiff-backup (and probably choco install win32-openssh if you'd like to back up over a network)

The [old README](rdiff-backup/README) contains information about building from source.


Here are some basic examples. For more detail and information about restoring files, see these examples.

Local to local backup

rdiff-backup /some/local-dir /some/other-local-dir

Local to remote backup

rdiff-backup /some/local-dir user@example.com::/some/remote-dir

Remote to local backup

rdiff-backup user@example.com::/some/remote-dir /some/local-dir


For help, try looking at the documentation and/or the FAQ. If that doesn't help with your problem, try reading or posting a message to the mailing list.

Sol1 has taken over maintainership as of February 2016. We are currently in the process of migrating from the previous Savannah bugs database to the GitHub issues list in this repository. Current bugs are being triaged and migrated as we can.

If you think you've found a bug, please search both databases then, if you can't find anything, create a new issue.


Contributions are welcome. Fork this repo on GitHub, commit and open a new pull request accordingly.


rdiff-backup is released under the [GNU General Public License](rdiff-backup/COPYING).


Sol1 is the current maintainer of rdiff-backup.

Previous project leads / maintainers were Edward Ned Harvey, Andrew Ferguson, Dean Gaudet and the original author Ben Escoto.

Other contributors include Daniel Hazelbaker, Dean Gaudet, Andrew Ferguson, Josh Nisly and Fred Gansevles.

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the Rdiff-backup README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.