Two Useful Commands for Your Linux Server

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Aug 15, 2009 GMT
Dmitri Popov

Want to back up files and documents on your laptop or desktop PC to a server? Assuming both machines run Linux, you can do that with just one command. First, install SSH server on the server and rsync on your machine. Both tools are available in the software repositories of most mainstream Linux distributions, so you can install them using your distro's package manager. Open then the terminal on your machine and run the following command:

rsync --progress -avhe ssh --delete /path/to/local/dir user@host:/path/to/remote/dir

Replace user with the name of the existing user on the server and host with the IP address of the server. Also, replace /path/to/local/dir with the path to the directory on the machine you want to back up and /path/to/remote/dir with the path to the backup directory on the server. For example, the command below backs up the home directory on my laptop to a BUBBA TWO server with the 192.168.107 address:

rsync --progress -avhe ssh --delete /home/dmpop dmpop@192.168.1.107:/home/storage/backup

Using your server to serve files also requires only one command, but you need to do some preparatory work before you can use it. Start with installing the sshfs package on your machine. On Debian-based distros, this can be done by running the apt-get install sshfs command as root. Next, run the id command and note the uid and gid values for your account (e.g., uid=1000 gid=1000). Use then the following command to mount a server directory on your machine:

sshfs user@host:/path/to/dir /mountpoint -o idmap=user -o uid=1000 -o gid=1000

Replace user with the name of the existing user on the server and host with the IP address of the server. Replace the /path/to/dir with the path to the desired directory on the server and /mountpoint with the directory on your machine that will be used as a mount point. For example, to mount the /home/storage/documents directory on my Bubba Two server in the /home/dmpop/bubba directory on my laptop, I use the following command:

sshfs dmpop@192.168.1.109:/home/storage/documents /home/dmpop/bubba

Once the directory has been mounted, you can use the files in it as they were on your own machine. To unmount the directory, use the fusermount command as follows:

fusermount -u /mountpoint

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