The ultimate active automatic backup system isn’t actually as hard to achieve as it may sound, nor does it need to cost you a fortune.
Why do I call this ‘The Ultimate’ active automatic backup system? The reason is because, if you set it up like I suggest herein, it’ll even automatically back up your WordPress self-hosted blog or website locally and online too.
In this example I used Windows 10 for the operating system. The computer was on a network with another computer ( both wired ) and a laptop (wireless)- connected via a BT Home Hub 3 router.
I set up my Ultimate Active Automatic Backup System using a relatively-inexpensive Western Digital ‘My Book’ USB3 external 4 terabyte hard-drive. You’ll need 3 drives for this operation: It’s best to partition the WD drive into 3 separate partitions; however I partitioned this WD drive into 2 separate equally-sized drives, and used an old 150GB HDD via a SATA to USB2.0 adaptor as the third drive. I suggest, in order to limit the hardware, as well as the space requirement = plus not limiting yourself to USB 2, that you initially partition off 1TB of the WD drive, map it as a network drive, and label it drive F: – Then split the remaining space into 2 equal partitions of over 1TB in size, map those as network drives, and label those drive G: and drive K: .
(Labelling drives with these letters is done so that you can follow what I’m on about: You can give them any label you like in reality.)
‘All pretty standard so far. –‘Nothing out of the ordinary.
For our next step in setting up the ultimate active automatic backup system – we need to subscribe to Dropbox:
Yes it does, for this example, have to necessarily be Dropbox: Freebie substitutes just won’t cut it. I think around $8 per month buys me a terabyte of cloud storage – and that’s plenty enough for what we need. The idea here is to set up the Dropbox app so that it syncs your files which are stored with Dropbox offline to your F: drive. (You’ve just hired a whole terabyte of extra storage in the cloud too, which I’m sure you’ll find useful.)
Next we install the CrashPlan app.
CrashPlan is provided by Code42, and it allows the user to create an automated local backup free of charge. You can also subscribe to their online backup service at CrashPlan Central if you like. – I did initially, but dropped my subscription after a month. That’s because I use Backblaze online backup instead because I’m happier with it. In this article I’ll be using Backblaze ( $5 per month. ) as online backup, and ignoring CrashPlan’s online backup service.
Having installed the CrashPlan app; set it to send everything that it backs up to K: drive. The CrashPlan app will create a ‘crashplan’ folder on K: drive and place everything it backs up inside that.
Now set the CrashPlan app to back up all data from F: drive, G: drive, and anything you’d like backed up from your computer’s C: drive also. If you have other computers connected via a router and an Ethernet network or VPN, you can have those back up locally via the CrashPlan app too.
Here’s where Backblaze comes into it: –
Now we set Backblaze to back up any part of the C: drive that we want backed up online. Also set Backblaze to back up F: drive – so your entire Dropbox storage not only has a local offline copy on F: drive, but also is getting a local backup from CrashPlan, while enjoying online backup via Backblaze.
Also set Backblaze to back up drives G: and K: .
Drive G is currently empty and is being backed up on 2 levels. – So start using it for storage of items you don’t want to go on Dropbox. Anything you store on G: gets a local backup via CrashPlan, and online backup via Backblaze.
Anything stored on F: drive is also stored on Dropbox. – That means that you can access it across the web from anywhere on any web-connected device. It also gets backed up locally by CrashPlan on drive K:, as well as backed up online via Backblaze.
Drive K: itself… Well you don’t HAVE to back up drive K: with Backblaze, but I like to have local backups backed up online. Remember that only the drives pertaining to the main computer are backed up online unless you also set Backblaze to back up drive K:.
If you do set Backblaze to back up drive K: then you’ll have the CrashPlan local backups of any other computer or computers backed up online via Backblaze. If you don’t set Backblaze to back up drive K: then you only have local backups of those computers’ data, and if anything happens to your hard drive containing drive K: then you’re screwed.
Just a note: – If you do set Backblaze to back up drive K: you’ll notice that Backblaze is backing up a lot of data. CrashPlan writes its backups to a file inside the crashplan folder on drive K: called cpbdf, with a string of numbers after it to identify individual backups. cpbdf: CrashPlan Backup Data File s can be massive; several gigabytes in size at times – Expect plenty of backup activity often.
As soon as anything is written to a file that you have set for backup; the system goes into operation to ensure that, within 24 hours, that data is backed up online and also locally. Your other computers also get backed up locally and online too – if you’ve set Backblaze to back up drive K:.
Back Up Your WordPress Self-Hosted Website With This Too…
If you have a WordPress self-hosted website; install the VaultPress plugin and set it to back up your WordPress website to your Dropbox account daily. As soon as your VaultPress backups appear in your Dropbox account they’ll be sent to F: drive. Backblaze will then back up the VP backup to your Backblaze online backup account while CrashPlan will back up same locally, at its scheduled time. – All without you having to lift a finger.
My setup has 3 computers in it: 1 remote computer backing up to main ( Main being a laptop.) via CrashPlan, and a remote laptop backing up to the remote computer, which then backs that up to main via CrashPlan.
I picked up the Western Digital 4TB My Book drive brand new from Amazon for $80. I think I got a really good deal, and I doubt you’ll find it at that low price anywhere else or even on Amazon now; though I may be wrong. (You don’t have to use this WD drive anyway – it’s just a suggestion – because I used it.) The subscription to Backblaze costs $5 a month for unlimited backup, 1TB of cloud storage from Dropbox costs $8 a month, and VaultPress costs around < $5 a month to back up your WordPress. – So for under $18 a month, or under £15 GBP a month, it’s a good little setup. CrashPlan is free if you don’t use their online backup at CrashPlan Central.- Otherwise it’s same price as Backblaze – but I prefer Backblaze myself.
Its best to leave your main computer in this setup on all the time, which is why I used a laptop for the purpose; because laptops use far less power than desktops.. But you can shut main down or reboot it at any time: It’ll catch back up again fairly quickly; depending upon the amount of data it has to handle.
…And yes you could set yourself up as a local backup centre using the CrashPlan app, and have other people backing up to you via CrashPlan for a fee. – You sort that out if you trust people to pay you on time, not to try to hack you, sue you, moan and complain… Personally I can do without all that and just keep myself to myself.
You’ll be able to tell – from all the links – that I’m a Backblaze salesperson. I do get a bonus if you take out a subscription with Backblaze via one of my links in this article. – However I will add that there are many other online backup providers – and most of whom should be suitable for use in this operation; though Backblaze are best as far as I’m concerned.
This ultimate automated backup system is no big secret; it’s just a product born from Idol ingenuity. There’s no copyright on it and the idea itself costs nothing: It’s setting it up which means you’ll have to part with a minimal amount. – But it’s very unlikely to break the bank; and you’ll probably come up with your own variation on the system described here after time has passed – which might cost you even less perhaps?.
Whatever the case; have happy and stress-free backups on autopilot with this system – as used by Sharron-Idol at time of writing.
Read the revised article:
If you like my spiel, or my music, or both - even my geekiness; then I'd like you to come back some time. - In fact I'd like to stay in touch with you, and have you come back here to this site sometime.
The only way I can think of to achieve this is to ask you to leave me an email address on which I can contact you... So I'll tell you what I'll do: I'll give you almost 30 minutes of my self-composed mix in exchange for your email address. - 'Good deal yeah? - 'Great, we're singing from the same lyric-sheet here, as it were.
When you enter your email address below and click "Get It Now", you'll be taken to my "Thank You" page, where you can download your music, and click on links to more of my stuff if you're interested too.
Since I will then have your email address I'll send you email from time to time; like when I have something interesting to say, or when I release something, or even when I think there's something I've found that you'd be interested in.
You can unsubscribe from these emails at any time if you get fed up with getting them, and I won't complain about it. - And you won't hear from me again; unless you re-subscribe.
'Sound good to you? OK let's do this: 'See the inset below? Follow the instructions - it's really easy - and we're away.
'See you there.
*Opt-in for Sharron-Idol's emailing list - stay connected with this great new site...