This page answers many of the questions we often get asked, as well as describing known issues and how to handle them.
- Do you guys actually use your own service?
- Can I use Relica with a slow Internet connection?
- Is Relica a suitable replacement for Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.?
- The first backup has been running for a while; can I restore any files?
- What is the "cloud count" for the Relica Cloud?
- What is coming soon for Relica?
- Known issues
Do you guys actually use your own service?
Yes! We built Relica because we needed it. Relica was designed very carefully to meet the requirements and desires of our own families. It was a tough list:
- Our family members use Windows, Mac, and Linux machines.
- Each family wants to backup to others' computers, spread across the country.
- Most of the family has no technical training, so the software has to be approachable and easy to use. (Cloning a repo from GitHub was not an option.)
- While some of our families have just one computer to back up, most had multiple computers. We noticed that the leading "Unlimited" backup software limits you to just one computer.
- Some of us have home file servers that we want to back up to, then replicate that to the cloud. Most consumer "Unlimited" backup software doesn't allow backing up network drives.
- Others of us access those file servers without a GUI, so an elegant command-line interface was crucial.
- We wanted backups to be fast, but not a continuous backup that was constantly running scans or hogging system resources.
- Some of us wanted to back up to multiple cloud providers for redudnancy and to spread out trust allocations.
- Some software had too many bells and whistles or did too many things (backup + file sync + system protection + disk imaging + ...), so we wanted something that did one thing really well.
- The software has to update itself without requiring user action; we decided this was going to be crucial for security and longevity, since most of our family members never take steps to update their software.
- Backing up everything on the system by default seemed overkill for most of our family members, and it also implies hidden exclude lists (which are hard to customize and understand). So we wanted our users to be able to choose which files to backup (defaulting with just their home/user folder) and with no hidden exclude lists.
- Some backup software treat symlinks weird or actually follow them; we wanted to preserve them so that they were just that when restored: symlinks.
- Even though most of our family doesn't know how to compile software, the rest of us wanted to be able to restore files without relying on a proprietary program.
As you can see, this is not trivial! While there are already many decent backup services to choose from, none of them quite met our requirements. And besides, this is more fun.
So yes, we use and rely on Relica. If you're at all like us, we think you'll like it, too.
Can I use Relica with a slow Internet connection?
Yes! Fun fact: Relica was developed on a painfully slow 1 Mbps-uplink Internet connection. (That's the free Google Fiber plan for ya. To put this in perspective, doing a release of a new version of Relica on this Internet connection took over an hour. On a gigabit connection, it took 4 minutes.) We know very well what it's like to suffer through slow Internet and slow backups. We had no choice but to make sure Relica handled slow Internet and bad WiFi gracefully and robustly.
Relica is perhaps the best choice for slow Internet connections, because we can back up your data to multiple cloud providers in real-time with only a single upload of your data. No other backup program does this, and it could save you months of time.
And yes, it works even better on fast Internet too. We also use it on gigabit connections.
Is Relica a suitable replacement for Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.?
Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc., are "cloud drive" or "file sync" programs, which make files available to other devices as you edit them. These are very useful, but not ideal for file backup. For example, file sync programs also sync deletes. For this and other reasons, we do not recommend using cloud drive programs for backup.
Relica is file backup software, which makes archival copies of your files to multiple destinations. Backups are additive, meaning they do not delete data when you do (see retention periods). Cloud sync programs require syncing up to and through their cloud service, but Relica does not require that: you may back up only locally if you wish. Further, Relica lets you back up to multiple cloud providers, rather than a single proprietary cloud service.
Relica also encrypts your files on your devices with a key that only you have. While some file sync programs do this, not all do, including some of the major ones used by businesses.
Basically, we recommend using file sync in conjunction with backup software like Relica. They do different things, and are intended for different purposes. Arguably, good file backup is more important. :)
The first backup has been running for a while; can I restore any files?
The initial backup usually takes the longest. Depending on how much data you have and the speed of your Internet connection, it may take just a few hours or up to a few weeks to complete. Once the initial backup is complete, you can restore your data. If you're backing up to a hard drive attached to your computer, the backup will usually be orders of magnituede faster.
What is the "cloud count" for the Relica Cloud?
The cloud count or number of providers is how many times your files are replicated after being uploaded. The Relica Cloud consists of not 1, not 2, but up to 5 independent, multi-region, industry-leading storage providers. If you value not "putting all your eggs in one basket" but you are not a basketweaver, then Relica Cloud is the perfect solution for you. No other professional-grade backup service for consumers offers this feature.
No matter how many providers you choose, your data is uploaded only once. This drastically speeds up your backups and makes them less costly for you (in terms of data transfer).
We recommend most people choose 2 for their "cloud count" (number of providers) so that if the first one is down or inaccessible, you can restore from the second one. Note that your choice of number affects your bill.
What is coming soon for Relica?
We are currently working on the following features and improvements (not in any particular order):
- Back up to your own cloud storage accounts
- Web-based restore: (restore files from the Relica Cloud using our website)
- Live status updates of backups and restores
- Ability to restore from incomplete snapshots
- A revamped user interface that builds on what we've learned so far
- More—top secret for now!
Any known issues?
All outstanding known issues are fairly minor and will not affect your use of Relica, its performance, or its reliability. Generally these are still outstanding either because we are busy working on new features for you in Relica itself (see above) or because involvement and interaction with the open source community to work on enhancements takes some time.
|When preparing a restore, all files in selected folders are restored, even though certain files inside the folders were manually deselected.||This is a current limitation in restic. We could do a workaround ourselves, but it would be somewhat complex.||You can safely delete any excess/unwanted files that are restored.|
|Backups, peers, origins, and/or destinations cannot be deleted.||Destinations can be deleted; the rest are coming soon, once we are sure we have them right.||Having them remain on your account has no side-effects. In the meantime, you can use the CLI to delete some of these things from your account.|
If you encounter a bug that is not listed here, feel free to contact us to report it! Please describe whether you have Windows/Mac/Linux, what you were trying to do and what actually happened, including the specific error message (or a screenshot) so that we may best help you.