Hactar – incremental daily backup

An incremential daily backup script using rsync.

Github Repository
Download Version 1.01

Copyright ©2015 by Florian Beer

This script comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
under certain conditions. See CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 for details.



You can read about my motivation for creating this script and how I am using it in this blogpost: My backup strategy

Hactar is meant to be run daily, preferably when there is little load on your machine and rsyncs the contents of SOURCE to TARGET. Each day there will be a new subdirectory with the current date. Unchanged files will automatically be hardlinked to existing files to save diskspace.

Hactar sends a message tagged “hactar” to syslog stating SOURCE and TARGET on start and logs the total runtime when finished. This feature depends on logger and python being installed on your machine.


 -r NUM         number of days to keep old backups
 -e FILE        specify rsync excludes filename
 -v             increase verbosity
 -d             dry run
 -h             show this message
 -V             show version number


Source or target can be a remote directory (via SSH) or a local path. See rsync manpage for details.

 hactar -v -e my_exludes / /backup
 hactar example.com:/home /backup
 hactar /var/www example.com:/mnt/backup
 hactar -r 7 /var/log /backup/logs


  • Save this shell script to e.g. /usr/local/bin/hactar and make it executable: chmod +x /usr/local/bin/hactar
  • Optionally, create a new file called /etc/hactar.excludesand list all directories and/or filtermaps you don’t need in your backup (see rsync manpage for details).
    My excludes contents:
  • Create a cron entry to run this script each day: crontab -e
0 3 * * * /usr/local/bin/hactar / /backup > /dev/null

This line calls the script each night at 3am and rsyncs the contents of / to /backup and sends you an email you if any errors occured during runtime.