To get up and running, first install Borg, at least version 1.1.
By default, borgmatic looks for its configuration files in
/etc/borgmatic.d/, where the root user typically has read access.
So, to download and install borgmatic as the root user, run the following commands:
sudo pip3 install --user --upgrade borgmatic
This is a recommended user site
You will need to ensure that
/root/.local/bin is available on your
that the borgmatic executable is available. For instance, adding this to
~/.bash_profile may do the trick:
Note that your pip binary may have a different name than "pip3". Make sure you're using Python 3, as borgmatic does not support Python 2.
Other ways to install ¶
Along with the above process, you have several other options for installing borgmatic:
- Docker image with scheduled backups
- Docker base image
- Fedora official
- Fedora unofficial
- Arch Linux
- stand-alone binary
Hosting providers ¶
Need somewhere to store your encrypted offsite backups? The following hosting providers include specific support for Borg/borgmatic. Using these links and services helps support borgmatic development and hosting. (These are referral links, but without any tracking scripts or cookies.)
- rsync.net: Cloud Storage provider with full support for borg and any other SSH/SFTP tool
- BorgBase: Borg hosting service with support for monitoring, 2FA, and append-only repos
After you install borgmatic, generate a sample configuration file:
If that command is not found, then it may be installed in a location that's
not in your system
PATH (see above). Try looking in
This generates a sample configuration file at /etc/borgmatic/config.yaml (by default). You should edit the file to suit your needs, as the values are representative. All options are optional except where indicated, so feel free to ignore anything you don't need.
Note that the configuration file is organized into distinct sections, each
with a section name like
storage:. So take care that if you
uncomment a particular option, also uncomment its containing section name, or
else borgmatic won't recognize the option. Also be sure to use spaces rather
than tabs for indentation; YAML does not allow tabs.
You can also get the same sample configuration file from the configuration reference, the authoritative set of all configuration options. This is handy if borgmatic has added new options since you originally created your configuration file. Also check out how to upgrade your configuration.
Note that if you plan to run borgmatic on a schedule with cron, and you
encrypt your Borg repository with a passphrase instead of a key file, you'll
either need to set the borgmatic
variable or set the
BORG_PASSPHRASE environment variable. See the
of the Borg Quick Start for more info.
Alternatively, you can specify the passphrase programatically by setting
either the borgmatic
encryption_passcommand configuration variable or the
BORG_PASSCOMMAND environment variable. See the Borg Security
for more info.
If you'd like to validate that your borgmatic configuration is valid, the following command is available for that:
This command's exit status (
$? in Bash) is zero when configuration is valid
and non-zero otherwise.
Validating configuration can be useful if you generate your configuration files via configuration management, or you want to double check that your hand edits are valid.
Before you can create backups with borgmatic, you first need to initialize a Borg repository so you have a destination for your backup archives. (But skip this step if you already have a Borg repository.) To create a repository, run a command like the following:
borgmatic init --encryption repokey
init action? Try the old-style
--init flag, or upgrade
This uses the borgmatic configuration file you created above to determine which local or remote repository to create, and encrypts it with the encryption passphrase specified there if one is provided. Read about Borg encryption modes for the menu of available encryption modes.
Also, optionally check out the Borg Quick Start for more background about repository initialization.
Note that borgmatic skips repository initialization if the repository already exists. This supports use cases like ensuring a repository exists prior to performing a backup.
If the repository is on a remote host, make sure that your local user has key-based SSH access to the desired user account on the remote host.
Now that you've configured borgmatic and initialized a repository, it's a good idea to test that borgmatic is working. So to run borgmatic and start a backup, you can invoke it like this:
borgmatic --verbosity 1
By default, this will also prune any old backups as per the configured retention policy, and check backups for consistency problems due to things like file damage.
The verbosity flag makes borgmatic list the files that it's archiving, which are those that are new or changed since the last backup. Eyeball the list and see if it matches your expectations based on the configuration.
Running backups manually is good for validating your configuration, but I'm guessing that you want to run borgmatic automatically, say once a day. To do that, you can configure a separate job runner to invoke it periodically.
If you're using cron, download the sample cron file. Then, from the directory where you downloaded it:
sudo mv borgmatic /etc/cron.d/borgmatic
sudo chmod +x /etc/cron.d/borgmatic
You can modify the cron file if you'd like to run borgmatic more or less frequently.
If you're using systemd instead of cron to run jobs, download the sample systemd service file and the sample systemd timer file. Then, from the directory where you downloaded them:
sudo mv borgmatic.service borgmatic.timer /etc/systemd/system/
sudo systemctl enable borgmatic.timer
sudo systemctl start borgmatic.timer
Feel free to modify the timer file based on how frequently you'd like borgmatic to run.
Colored output ¶
Borgmatic produces colored terminal output by default. It is disabled when a
non-interactive terminal is detected (like a cron job). Otherwise, you can
disable it by passing the
--no-color flag, setting the environment variable
PY_COLORS=False, or setting the
color option to
false in the
section of configuration.
"found character that cannot start any token" error ¶
If you run borgmatic and see an error looking something like this, it probably means you've used tabs instead of spaces:
test.yaml: Error parsing configuration file An error occurred while parsing a configuration file at config.yaml: while scanning for the next token found character that cannot start any token in "config.yaml", line 230, column 1
YAML does not allow tabs. So to fix this, replace any tabs in your configuration file with the requisite number of spaces.
libyaml compilation errors ¶
borgmatic depends on a Python YAML library (ruamel.yaml) that will optionally use a C YAML library (libyaml) if present. But if it's not installed, then when installing or upgrading borgmatic, you may see errors about compiling the YAML library. If so, not to worry. borgmatic should install and function correctly even without the C YAML library. And borgmatic won't be any faster with the C library present, so you don't need to go out of your way to install it.
Related documentation ¶
- Make per-application backups
- Deal with very large backups
- Inspect your backups
- Monitor your backups
- Upgrade borgmatic
- borgmatic configuration reference
- borgmatic command-line reference
Improve this documentation
Have an idea on how to make this documentation even better? Send your feedback below! (But if you need help installing or using borgmatic, please use our issue tracker instead.)