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How to Backup to SFTP


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Mar 22, 2022
Backup4all 9.x
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Backup4all supports backing up to a remote computer or device using the SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) connection. This is also a practical backup destination because the backed up data can be easily accessed by any other computer with an Internet connection.

Defining SFTP configuration

Before using SFTP as a destination for backing up, you should define a new SFTP configuration using the File->Options->Online connections->SFTP window. Once defined, you will be able to apply this SFTP configuration to individual backup jobs.
Press the Add button once in File->Options->Online connections->SFTP to add a new SFTP connection. The New SFTP configuration name will appear in the list and you can enter the other settings for this connection:
  • Configuration name - Set a name of your choice for the connection.
  • Server name or IP - In this field you have to enter the name or IP address for the SFTP server
  • Port - In this field you have to enter the port number if different than the default SFTP ports (22).
  • Destination folder - Here you can enter the destination path if different than root.
  • User name - If this is a private SFTP server (no anonymous access allowed) enter the user name for your account.
  • Password - In this field enter the password for the SFTP server.
Additional settings like private key, bandwidth limitation, authentications, encryption and compression can also be configured from this page.
In the Online connections page you can set the number of retry attempts and interval length (wait) for connecting to a SFTP server. This is a global setting for all SFTP connections. By default, if a SFTP server cannot be reached the first time, Backup4all will attempt to connect 5 more times at intervals of 60 seconds. If all attempts fail, then the backup is aborted.
Once you have finished defining the connection, press the Test button to check if the SFTP details you have entered are correct. If the test was successful, The SFTP connection was tested successfully message will be displayed.

Setting the destination to SFTP
When defining a new backup job using the New Backup Wizard, select the SFTP option in the Destination section (1st page of the wizard). If you already have a defined backup job and want to change the destination to SFTP, select that backup job, open the Properties window (Ctrl+P), go to the Destination page and select SFTP. There you can choose from existing SFTP configurations or create a new connection.
If you have any defined SFTP configurations, you will be able select one from the dropdown list (to define a configuration go to File->Options->Online connections->SFTP ). Alternatively, you may define a custom configuration during the same step of the Backup Wizard.
Once you've entered the SFTP connection details, it is recommended to run a connection test by pressing the Test button.
In case of a connection error, Backup4all will notify you with a message in the pop-up Notifications window. To change the number of connection retries and retry intervals go to File->Options->Online connections->Backup and select SFTP. There you can edit the Retry and Wait parameters to be used for SFTP connections.

Recommendations for backing up to SFTP
  • After each change to the SFTP configuration be sure to use the Test function.
  • Most SFTP sites have policies against hammering (repeatedly attempting to connect to an unavailable SFTP server with little or no time between connection attempts). Thus they require SFTP clients to set retry times at specific intervals, commonly at least 120 seconds between each connection attempt. Most SFTP sites can also monitor for devices that hammer, and once detected the server will ban access to the offending IP address, either permanently or for a limited amount of time. Therefore, when you set the retry time intervals in File->Options->Online connections->SFTP, you should use 60 seconds or more.
  • If you backup important data to a remote location using SFTP, encrypt the zip files for increased security. In this case, even if another person manages to gain unauthorized access to the SFTP, your files will still be protected.