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10 Best Free and Open Source Backup Software

10 Best Free and Open Source Backup Software

Backup is a vital process that makes the functioning of the present day businesses smooth and secure. No business can do without deploying a standard backup software in their IT systems. The internet age years of 2010-2019 witnessed some of the horrific and unfortunate instances of data loss disasters. The mishaps of Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, Pixar, and many more are enough to justify the importance of quality data backup when it comes to managing data backups for businesses. These companies have suffered losses of millions of dollars because of poor data backup infrastructure, substandard data recovery strategy, and improper data disaster management implementation.

#CASE

An IT employee gave a usual deletion command ‘rm’ in Linux. He later realized that deleted the wrong directory. Those who work on Linux would understand that it was a grave mistake as unlike Windows and Mac operating systems, there is no way you can recover the file from Linux after giving 'rm' command. The content will not be moved to the trash in Linux. So once a file is deleted, it cannot be recovered unless there is a backup. 


Backup software is the lifeline of the data that is 24 by 7 prone to cyber attacks, system failures, hardware faults, software glitches, and data deletion due to human mistakes, including the disgruntled employee's sabotage attempts.

What is Backup?

Backup is the process of creating duplicate and exact copies of the data which might be needed in the future. Backup safeguards data from being lost as it can be restored using the backup files. Backup is one of the most vital and complicated processes that organizations follow to safeguard their valuable data. Backup is carried out by specific software suits or applications known as the Backup software.  

What is a Backup Software?

A backup software allows users to create backups of their data from computers, mobiles, tablets, hard drives, and/or servers. The backup software has features to make the process of creating backups easy and cost-efficient. 

What are the various methods of creating Backups?

  1. Full PC Backup:  Copying the complete source data files, including the associated settings and configurations of the whole computer system or hard drive, is called Full Disk Backup. 
  2. Differential Backup: Differential backup refers to the process of copying only those files that have changed since the last backup.
  3. Incremental Backup: Incremental backup acts as an add-on to the already existing backup. If the source disk has a change of data or new data was added to the source disk, then incremental backup automatically adds the newly created extra data only.
  4. Disk Imaging: Disk imaging is the process of creating an archive of the source disk to a destination disk, which can be later used for making more copies of the hard drive.
  5. Disk cloning: Disk cloning creates a clone of the source disk into another hard drive.
  6. Mirror backups: Mirror backup is quite similar to a full backup. But unlike full backup mirror backup doesn't allow compression of all files together. Files need to be individually compressed if required.
  7. Local Backups: Local backup refers to a backup when the destination disk is kept close to the source disk. Mostly the storage disk is directly connected to the source computer.
  8. Remote backups: Sometimes, IT administrators take the backup of distant computers remotely without physically accessing them. This is known as Remote backup.
  9. Cloud backups: The backup data is uploaded to cloud servers directly. A cloud backup uploads the source disk data to cloud servers directly. Many third-party vendors provide cloud backup services. 

Best backup advice, things to keep in mind while taking backup

Need for Backup Software

  1. Companies cannot risk storing all the data on a single computer, hard drive, or server. Any blow to one will wipe out all the valuable data it has. It requires hardware and software capabilities of backup software to create multiple storage points for the important data.
  2. All backup is not a simple copy and paste function to create duplicate files. Some backups require complicated backup functionalities such as creating exact duplicate copies of OS, configurations, and system settings of one computer to another. This cannot be done without deploying backup software.  Even if companies engage hardware to store data, it is not feasible to keep a backup for such a massive amount of data files.
  3. It is an arduous task for companies to keep the data safe and secure all by themselves. They need to use the advanced and professional services of data backup software that possess the expertise and compliance that organizations don't have.
  4. It is not easy for large scale companies to backup the bulk amount of data to external drives without deploying a backup software. 
  5. Companies can't process the backup of bulk content in customized formats. There are functions like compressed data backups, backups of old and new versions, differential and incremental backups, remote backups, etc. that are not possible without backup software.

Benefits of using a Backup Software:

  1. Backup software acts as a protection against power failure, abrupt electricity cut-offs, etc.
  2. Backup software loads data easily. It saves a lot of time. Companies are spared from wasting time in managing the data. 
  3. The data is disaster-proof, more secure, and safe once backup is taken with multiple layers of security provided by the backup software.
  4. Companies have to bear a lot of cost if they lose valuable data. Backup software saves a lot of time and costs by safeguarding the data.
  5. Lost files or loss of old versions of important files can cause a massive blow to a company's profitability. Backup software retains all versions of a document.
  6. IT administrators have to spend a lot of time addressing the request of other employees regarding lost or deleted files. With backup software in their hands, this task becomes easy for them.
  7. Companies don't have to face any operational breakdown. In case of any mishaps, the backup gets them ready quickly.

Who should use backup software, backup software can be helpful for you

Features of a  Backup Software:

  • Automatic Backups

Backup software provides the option to take automatic backup with a frequency set up by users. It can automatically initiate the backup process on a monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly basis.

  • Real-time Backups

Backup software can backup all data in real-time if the option is enabled to do so.

  • Incremental and differential backups

The Backup software allows users to take customized backups such as incremental and differential backups.

  • Compression

The Backup software has features to compress the data for creating optimal backups. This reduces the storage needs, and more backups can be taken.

  • Retrieving data:

The stored backup data can be retrieved to specific disks, paths, or folders whenever needed.

  • Encryption:

Most of the backup software converts the data to an encrypted form for security purposes. This ensures that data is safe and secure.

  • Schedule backup

The backup software allows users to schedule data backups. Users can establish time frames for backup as per needs and convenience.

  • Remote backup

It allows remotely backing data for distant computers.

  • Storage

Some backup software solutions also provide paid storage solutions for safe storage of your data on their servers.

  • Access Control

It allows users to retain control over the data by restricting access. Only people with admin rights can view or import backup data.

  • Version Control

It allows users to back up and restore files with all older versions too.

  • Reports and Analytics:

The Report and analytics provide users with information and details about the backup history, usage, and other related things.

See below for the list of 10 free and open source Backup Software:

  1. Duplicati
  2. Areca
  3. Urbackup
  4. Bareos
  5. Fbackup
  6. AOMEI
  7. Easeus
  8. Paragon
  9. Unitrends
  10.  Iperius Backup

Comparison table of the 10 free and open source Backup Software

Comparision table of backup software

1. Duplicati 2.0

Duplicati is a free backup software to use for creating encrypted backups online for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It is an open source software suite. It requires .NET 4.5 or Mono. It works with standard protocols like FTP, WebDAV, and SSH and is compatible to use with Microsoft OneDrive, box.com,  Amazon Cloud Drive & S3, Google Drive, many others. It handles network issues efficiently. Duplicati uses strong AES-256 encryption to protect your privacy. Duplicati is licensed under LGPL. 

Duplicati backup software, free backup software

(Source-Duplicati)

Features:

  • It uses strong AES-256 encryption to protect your data. All data is encrypted locally. 
  • Duplicati takes a full backup initially. Later on, it will take incremental backups of only the data that has changed after the first backup.
  • It supports Zip/Deflate or 7z/LZMA2 compression. All data is compressed before encryption.
  • Duplicati initiates online backup verification by randomly downloading a set of backup files and checking if they can be restored easily or not. This helps in identifying corrupt or virus-infected storage systems.
  • Duplicati’s deduplication process searches and analyzes the content of the files for duplicate content. It finds duplicate files and stores them only once in the backup. 
  • Its fail-safe design can manage network hiccups, corrupt storage, and interrupted backups. Duplicati can also try to repair files that get corrupted.
  • Duplicati can be installed on NAS for the web interface. It allows users to configure and run backups remotely.
  • It provides Command Line interface
  • Duplicati stores the metadata and timestamps of files in the backup.
  • A built-in scheduler to run backups
  • It comes with a built-in updater
  • Backup open files in Windows by Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS), and for Linux based devices, it uses Logical Volume Management (LVM)

2. Areca

Areca is a free and open source backup solution released under the General Public License (GPL) v2. It allows you to backup a select a set of files/directories. It allows users to choose what kind/format of backup is required. Users can opt for simple file copies or zip archives. A post backup action such as sending backup reports via email is available.  It is very simple to set up, versatile, and interactive software.

Areca backup, free backup software

(Source-Areca)

Features:

  • Archives compression (Zip & Zip64 format)
  • Archives encryption (AES128 & AES256 encryption)
  • Storage on the local hard drive, USB, network drive, FTP, FTPs or SFTP server
  • Multiple source file filters 
  • Incremental, differential and full backup support
  • Recover your files as of a specific date
  • All critical processes are transactional.
  • Generates backup reports
  • Areca can launch shell scripts post backup.
  • Content explorer to find files
  • It provides information about an archive such as title, description, date, etc.
  • Keep track of your files' historical versions
  • Backup simulation 
  • Command-line interface
  • Backup automation.

3. Urbackup

UrBackup is an open source backup system for file and image backups. It can create a backup of the running system without interrupting the current processes. Currently, there are over 21,000 running UrBackup server instances. It is free software licensed under the OSI certified AGPLv3+. Clients adhering to the terms and conditions of the license are allowed to use and redistribute UrBackup for personal and commercial purposes.

Urbackup backup software, free backup software

(Source-Urbackup)

Features:

  • Auto-update enabled
  • Backup for Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD
  • Incremental image backup
  • File backups even while the file is running
  • Consistent backups of files on Windows and Linux
  • Checks for duplication and the same files on different computers are saved only once
  • Users can define their settings like backup frequency or number of backups
  • Users are alerted if no backup is taken for some time
  • Web interface that provides the status of the clients
  • Reports about backups sent to users or administrators
  • Secure and efficient backups
  • Metadata is also backed up
  • Easy to use file and image restore
  • Easy to configure and use
  • E-Mail alerts if the backup is not taken for a configurable amount of time

    4. Bareos

Bareos is an open source backup system by Bacula. Its an AGPL 3 licensed free software. Bareos stands for-Backup Archiving Recovery Open Sourced.  Bacula emerged from a 2010 project by Bacula. Bareos is popular for features such as LTO hardware encryption, new practical console commands, and bandwidth limitation. Bareos provides binary package repositories for both Windows and Linux distributions.

Bareos Backup software, free backup software

(Source-Bareos)

Features:

  • All general backup features
  • Backup disk and tape drives
  • Full, incremental and differential backup
  • Migrations, copies,
  • Virtual full backups and deduplication
  • Backup into the cloud
  • Compression
  • Encryption
  • Open interfaces to easily integrate into any existing IT environments
  • Bareos supports IPv6
  1.  Fbackup

FBackup’s simple interface makes it appealing to people with little to no technical knowledge. It has a friendly wizard that guides users through the process of the backup. Users have first to define clearly, what kind of backup they need? It has features to ask the users questions about the intended backup. Once the users set the required backup definitions, then they can take backup by pressing the Backup button (or F6). Users can also add a scheduler to run this process automatically. FBackup is used to take a backup of local drives to destination drives. Fbackup provides free data protection. FBackup is free for both commercial and personal use.

fbackup backup software, free backup software

(Source-Fbackup)

Features:

  • Automatic backups
  • Scheduled backups
  • Zip compression with ZIP64 (can create upto 2GB Zip file)
  • Password protection to secure ZIP files
  • Mirror backup
  • Protection from ransomware
  • It allows users to clear previous backups and start afresh backup
  • Post backup actions such as set the computer on hibernate, log off, standby mode or shut down can be done
  • Updates are installed automatically on a weekly basis
  • The destination drives that Fback supports for backup are-USB/Firewire, drives, CD/DVD/BluRay, mapped network, and online services such as Google Drive and Dropbox.
  • Fback can backup a currently open file. The windows volume shadow service used by Fbackup enables to backup files that are in use.
  • Multi-language interface

6. AOMEI

AOMEI  is a free backup software for the backup needs of your Windows PC. Users can create a system backup, file backup, file sync of their computer system. It is also a disaster recovery tool to restore Windows in case of OS failure. It can also do disk cloning for upgrading HDD to SSD. It's easy to operate, and anyone with no technical knowledge can also use it. Clients can use AOMEI without the need for any specific technical skills or knowledge.

AOMEi backupper backup software

(Source-AOMEI)

Features:

  • Backup all contents in system drive
  • Backup Windows operating system too
  • Customize settings
  • Backup to external hard drive, NAS, USB flash drive network drive.
  • Multi-backup files/folders
  • Backup all kinds of hard drives such as external disk, internal disk, USB flash drive, the hard drive on NAS, SD card and other storage devices recognized by Windows
  • Instead of taking a backup of the entire disk, Backup only specified partitions or volume
  • Backup multiple partitions to a compressed image file
  • Incremental or differential backup strategy
  • Schedule to automatically backup
  • Clone your hard drive to another HDD or SSD
  • Sync files from one location to another on a regular basis
  •  real-time sync files Sync files to external drive, SD card, USB flash drive, mapped network drive, etc

7. EaseUS

Easeus is a Backup software that protects and saves your data from technical glitches and hardware blunders. EaseUS free backup software schedules and runs backup actively on a regular basis. EaseUS free data backup has tremendous restoring capabilities, and it recovers everything from backup copies at a great speed. It ensures your data is safe, available, and never distorted.

EaseUS backup software, free backup software

(Source-Easeus)

Features:

  • Back up your entire system to another location, ensure you always have access to a bootable system
  • Back up your system, file, disk, partition
  • Create copies of files or file folders of different formats, including network, shared data. Full backup
  • Incremental backup
  • Differential backup
  • Schedule backup upon time
  • With block-level disk imaging technology, backs up your entire partition, HDD/SSD, and volume. 
  • EaseUS backup restores lost data fast in seconds from backups you create and saves your digital life while data is frequently changed or updated. Once your system crashes or fails, restore the system back without reinstalling and keep it running as usual.

8. Paragon

Paragon lets users back up files, disks, and volumes. Users can decide to backup all at once or one at a time.  Users can select the OS partition to be backed up.  In case of an operating system crash, the backup recovers it easily. Paragon allows clients to define and custom new backup parameters and strategies. Users can underline the needed backup type, retention, frequency of backup, backup schedule, and scenario-based backups by themselves.

Paragon backup software, backup software

(Source-Paragon)

Features:

  • Schedule Backup
  • Disk space management
  • Version control
  • Mount archives by setting a drive letter
  • Browse like a normal disk on PC
  • Recover separate files
  • boot the system from a bootable USB stick
  • Restore your entire OS
  • Backup all installed programs and user settings
  • Backup all data within the WinPE environment.

9. Unitrends FreeTM Backup

Unitrends Free™ protects up to one terabyte of data for free. Unitrends Free is free backup software providing powerful backup capabilities. Unitrends provides enterprise-class instant recovery. It reduces downtime significantly. Protecting your backups is important for any sound backup strategy.  It has a highly secured offsite compliance.  Unitrends Free integrates with popular cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure. It provides users unlimited VMs or sockets protected for VMware or Hyper-V. Users can create backup recovery points every day. 

Unitrends backup software

(Source-Unitrends)

Features:

  • Supported Environment
  • 24×7 Customer Support
  • Hyperscale Cloud Backup Copies
  • VMware vSphere Hypervisor-Level Protection
  • Proactive Ransomware Detection
  • Self-Service for Application Owners
  • Physical and Virtual File Protection
  • Compression
  • Hyper-V Hypervisor-Level Protection
  • VM Recovery (Instant, Full, File)

10.  Iperius Backup

Iperius Backup is one of the top free backup software with advanced backup features. The free version of Iperius Backup lets users to take backup to any data storage device, such as NAS, hard drives, external USB, RDX drives, and networked computers. It is also available in commercial editions. One of the limitations of the freeware version is that it cannot make file synchronization. If you want the advanced backup types such as backup to Cloud (One Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox), backup of databases, remote backup FTP, and Drive Image backup (disaster recovery), then upgrade to the commercial editions. If you need technical support, then also you need to upgrade. 

 Iperius backup software, free backup software

(Source-Iperius Backup)

Features:

  • Automatic backup and email notifications
  • Incremental backup to disk, USB, NAS, network computers
  • Advanced filters, running and execution of external scripts, and compression
  • Compatible with XP, 2003, Windows 7, Server 2008, Windows 8, Windows 10, Server 2012, Server 2016, Server 2019
  • Complete planning functions
  • Backups based on specific days and times
  • Create multiple backup schedules 
  • Keep multiple backup copies
  • Supports zip compression with no size limit
  • No file number limit 
  • Compress files with longer paths (more than 255 characters).
  • Keeps a history of all backup operations
  • Creating easy-to-read HTML log files
  • Backup to any storage device
  • Unlimited number of backup jobs
  • No license limitation, No expiration
  • Advanced filters for specific files or folders
  • Full, incremental and differential backup
  • Zip compression with no limitation for size
  • Reliable, lightweight and portable
  • Automatic network authentication

We have included one more business backup software for discussion owing to its popular stature as a complete back and data archive solution. Novabackup is an unbeatable backup software that made to our list for its best-in-class service and robust features. Let us discuss it in detail:

#Novabackup

With NovaBACKUP, users can backup their data safely and quickly. By using the automatic scheduling feature, you will rest easy knowing that your data is protected every day, every week, every month. Whether you want to restore a file or an entire system, you can do it easily with the advanced functionalities of the Novabackup software.  

Novaback backup software, free backup software, Novastor

(Source-NovaBackup)

Features:

  • Novabackup features a military-grade 256-bit AES encryption
  • Free central monitoring through Nova backup Cmon
  • Local and off-site backups
  • Full and incremental backup
  • Schedule backup
  • Full protection from ransomware
  • Boot disk option for bare-metal restore
  • Restore data to an alternate location
  • Email notification for a backup reminder
  • Supports NTFS formatted drives
  • Compression

Conclusion:

Backup software is designed to save organizations from any unforeseen event that may cause them to lose their valuable data. It is like an essential infrastructure that is a must for the smooth running of the organization's daily operations. It is not something that organizations may choose to deploy or not, but it is a necessary tool that all businesses should possess irrespective of the size and scale of their business.

The richness of new data formats and the advent of new applications and technologies such as IoT has caused a spike in the amount of data that is generated every year. While #SaaS licensing model for vendors that provide backup solutions was already present, the new IT frameworks such as #Hyperconvergence have already revolutionized the way data is stored. Amazon’s AWS is providing high end and cost-effective options for backup at the petabyte scale.

The field of data storage and backup has a long way to go. Backup software can be improved further by adopting new technical capabilities. Vendors that follow the guidelines laid down by the General Data Protection Regulation to protect data from cyber-crimes are sought after by companies to entrust them with the latter’s valuable data. Businesses should choose their backup software solution provider carefully, and it is always wise to choose data security over cheap costs.

While businesses can use any of the free and open source backup software discussed in the article for their backup purposes, yet if they want more features, then they can also try premium backup software such as Acronis True Image, Carbonite, Retrospect backup, and Nakivo.

We will be happy if you share your thoughts in the comments section below. If you have used the services of any of the free and open source backup software mentioned above, then don't forget to share your feedback with us. 

If you wish to refer to any backup software or any other software category other than backup software, then do look at our software directory.

James Mordy
James Mordy

James Mordy is a content writer for Goodfirms. A voracious reader, an avid researcher, a logophile, and a tech geek he loves to read about the latest technologies that are shaping the world. He often articulates the very nuances of the tech world in his blogs. In his free time, he loves to watch movies and analyze stock markets around the world.

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