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Always have a backup plan1

duplicati Screenshot

Duplicati is a free and open-source backup software to store encrypted backups online For Windows, macOS and Linux (our favorite, yay!).

Similar to the other backup options in the Cookbook, we can use Duplicati to backup all our data-at-rest to a wide variety of locations, including, but not limited to:

  • Generic endpoints (FTP, SSH, or WebDAV servers)
  • Cloud storage providers (Amazon S3, BackBlaze B2, etc)
  • Cloud services (OneDrive, Google Drive, etc)


Since Duplicati itself offers no user authentication, this design secures Duplicati behind Traefik Forward Auth, so that in order to gain access to the Duplicati UI at all, authentication through the mechanism configured in traefik-forward-auth (to GitHub, GitLab, Google, etc) must have already occurred.



*[X] Docker swarm cluster with persistent shared storage * [X] Traefik and Traefik-Forward-Auth configured per design * [X] Credentials for one of the Duplicati's supported upload destinations


Setup data locations

We'll need a folder to store a docker-compose configuration file and an associated environment file. If you're following my filesystem layout, create /var/data/config/duplicati (for the config), and /var/data/duplicati (for the metadata) as per the following example:

mkdir /var/data/config/duplicati
mkdir /var/data/duplicati
cd /var/data/config/duplicati

Prepare {{ no such element: dict object['recipe'] }} environment

  1. Generate a random passphrase to use to encrypt your data. Save this somewhere safe, without it you won't be able to restore!
  2. Seriously, save. it. somewhere. safe.
  3. Create duplicati.env, and populate with the following variables (replace "Europe/London" with your appropriate time zone from this list)
CLI_ARGS= #optional

Excuse me! Why are we running Duplicati as root?

That's a great question! We're running Duplicati as the root user of the host system because we need Duplicati to be able to read files of all the other services no matter which user that service is running as. After all, Duplicati can't backup your exciting stuff if it can't read the files.

{{ no such element: dict object['recipe'] }} Docker Swarm config

Create a docker swarm config file in docker-compose syntax (v3), something like the example below:

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version: "3"
    env_file: /var/data/config/duplicati/duplicati.env
      replicas: 1
        # traefik common
        - traefik.enable=true

        # traefikv1
        - traefik.port=8200
        - traefik.frontend.auth.forward.address=http://traefik-forward-auth:4181
        - traefik.frontend.auth.forward.authResponseHeaders=X-Forwarded-User
        - traefik.frontend.auth.forward.trustForwardHeader=true

        # traefikv2
        - "traefik.http.routers.duplicati.rule=Host(``)"
        - "traefik.http.routers.duplicati.entrypoints=https"
        - "" 
        - "traefik.http.routers.duplicati.middlewares=forward-auth"
      - /var/data/config/duplicati:/config
      - /var/data:/source
      - 8200:8200
      - traefik_public
      - internal

    external: true
    driver: overlay
        - subnet:


Setup unique static subnets for every stack you deploy. This avoids IP/gateway conflicts which can otherwise occur when you're creating/removing stacks a lot. See my list here.


Launch Duplicati stack

Launch the Duplicati stack by running docker stack deploy duplicati -c <path-to-docker-compose.yml>

Create (and verify!) Your First Backup

Once we authenticate through the traefik-forward-auth provider, we can start configuring your backup jobs via the Duplicati UI. All backup and restore job configuration is done through the UI. Be sure to read through the documentation on Creating a new backup job and Restoring files from a backup for information on how to configure those jobs.


An untested backup is not really a backup at all. Being sure you can succesfully restore files from your backup now could save you lots of heartache later after "something bad" happens.


Backing up files on a regular basis is going to use a continually-increasing amount of disk space. To help with this, Duplicati offers a "Smart Backup Retention" scheme that will intelligently remove certain backups as they age while still maintaining a comprehensive backup history. You can set that configuration on the "Options" tab of the backup configuration.

Chef's notes πŸ““

  1. Quote attributed to Mila Kunis ↩

  2. The Duplicati 2 User's Manual contains all the information you'll need to configure backup endpoints, restore jobs, scheduling and advanced properties for your backup jobs. ↩

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