Duplicati Review

A basic, open-source backup solution that lacks features, but still works surprisingly well, Duplicati is definitely something every tinkerer should look into. People that want ready-to-go solutions might want to give it a pass, as you can read in our Duplicati review.

By Branko VlajinWriter
— Last Updated: 17 Aug'18
2017-09-16T08:23:26-08:00
Table of ContentsRating
Features
80%
Good
Pricing
80%
Good
Ease of Use
78%
Good
File Backup & Restoration
86%
Very Good
Speed
85%
Very Good
Security
85%
Very Good
Privacy
85%
Very Good
Support
68%
Decent
User Reviews & Comments

Good
Starts from $ 500 per month
Best Online Backup Reviews

Duplicati isn’t a standard backup service. It doesn’t come with backup space, but instead provides you with a web client that lets you manage your backup on a cloud service. That’s a blessing or a curse, depending on your IT knowledge and willingness to tinker. If you’d like a simple service that makes it easy to backup your data, consult our best online backup list.

If you’re excited about the prospect of managing your backup the way you want, note that Duplicati can connect to more than 20 cloud providers. It’s also open source and free. That doesn’t mean it’s a weak product. On the contrary, it has strong and private encryption, a backup scheduler, the ability to backup to local and external drives and quick speeds, to boot.

Because it’s free, it lacks a dedicated team of support technicians ready to help solve your problems. That said, there’s an active forum where you can ask for help. There are no mobile apps, though, so those who want to access their backup on the go should look elsewhere.

If you’re interested in learning more about the service, stick with us as we get into the details in this Duplicati review.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • Multiple cloud options
  • Software is free
  • Browser-based
  • Backup scheduling
  • Client-side encryption
  • Local backup options
  • Zero-knowledge

Weaknesses:

  • Weak support
  • Storage sold separately
  • Limited cloud options
  • Harder for laymen
  • No mobile apps

Alternatives for Duplicati

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Features

80% - Good

Duplicati doesn’t provide backup space like standard online backup providers do. Rather, it only gives you the means to backup data. You’ll have to take care of the backup space. That’s extra work, and mainstream users probably won’t like it.

On the other hand, if you’re a power user, organizing your backup space the way you see fit is a plus. You get many providers to choose from, so you have access to better deals and you can tweak your backup the way you want.

Duplicati works with 21 cloud services. They include cloud infrastructure services, such as Amazon S3, Backblaze B2 and Google Cloud, as well as cloud storage services, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and MEGA. You can find all of those on our best cloud storage providers comparison list.

You can choose to set your own servers as a destination and connect to Duplicati using FTP, its more secure variant SFTP or WebDAV. If you don’t know what those protocols mean, read our guides to FTP and WebDAV.

Duplicati also supports backup to local external drives and servers. That’s good if you’re someone who wants to implement the 3-2-1 backup rule, which takes into account local and cloud backup.

Duplicati creates a full backup initially. Afterward, it updates it by adding only the parts of the data that have changed. That’ll save you time and space, and the backup size usually grows slowly. The whole process is called “continuous backup.” We’ll talk more about the backup and restore processes below.

Duplicati also has advanced options that are commonly associated with proprietary cloud backup services. They include the ability to schedule backups, set versioning policies and encrypt files. If you like to tinker you can add more options, such as zip encryption level, scripts that run at certain points in the chain and emails that are sent after the backup completes.

The retention policy lets you keep a custom number of versions. You can specify how often Duplicati should keep old backups in days, weeks, months or years. If you don’t want to wrestle with that, you can use smart backup, which saves one backup for each of the last seven days, each of the last four weeks and each of the last 12 months.

Otherwise, you can choose to automatically delete backups older than a specific value or keep a specific number of backups.

System administrators and other individuals who are inclined to use the command line can do so by using the command line executable for Duplicati. It allows you to add backup features to your scripts or run backups in a terminal window.

For more information about cloud backup dive into our online backup library.

Duplicati Features Overview

Starts from$ 500per month

Backup

Backup Scheduler
Continuous Backup
Incremental Backup
Image-Based Backup
External Drive Backup
NAS Backup
Server Backup
Hybrid Backup
Mobile Device Backup
Unlimited Backup
Unlimited Devices
Speed Throttling
Block-Level File Copying
Multithreaded Backup

Restore

Courier Recovery Service
Browser Access
Mobile App Access
Versioning
Deleted File Retention

Security

Private Encryption
At-Rest Encryption
In-Transit Encryption
Encryption Protocol
AES 256-bit
Two-Factor Authentication
n/a
Hardened Data Centers
n/a
Proxy Server Settings
HIPPA Compliant
n/a

Support

24/7 Support
Live Chat Support
Telephone Support
Email Support
User Forum
Knowledgebase

Misc

File Sharing
Device Sync
Free Trial
Unlimited

Pricing

80% - Good

Duplicati itself is free and open source software that you can download from duplicati.com. There are no barriers if you want to give it a try.

If you want to use cloud storage as a destination for your backup, though, you’ll need to choose a provider. Depending on how much you need to backup, that’ll cost you. You can’t rely on free plans because they don’t provide much storage.

How much it’ll cost depends on which service you go with and how much space you need. Assuming you need 1TB of space, consult the table below to see popular options.

Dropbox
  • Flat fee
1-year plan $ 8.33 / month
$99.99 billed every year
Google Drive
  • Flat fee
1-year plan $ 8.33 / month
$99.99 billed every year
Microsoft OneDrive
  • Flat fee
1-year plan $ 5.83 / month
$69.99 billed every year
Amazon Drive
  • Flat fee
1-year plan $ 5.00 / month
$60.00 billed every year
MEGA
  • Flat fee
1-year plan $ 9.40 / month
$112.76 billed every year
Wasabi
  • $0.0059 per GB per month
1-year plan $ 5.99 / month
$71.88 billed every year
Amazon S3
  • 0.023 per GB per month
1-year plan $ 23.00 / month
$276.00 billed every year
Backblaze B2
  • 0.005 per GB per month
1-year plan $ 5.00 / month
$60.00 billed every year
Google Cloud
  • 0.020 per GB per month
1-year plan $ 20.00 / month
$240.00 billed every year

The prices for Wasabi, Amazon S3, Backblaze B2 and Google Cloud in the table above are simplified and reflect only how much each service charges per gigabyte of storage per month.

All are services that only require you to pay for the storage you use, but charge for data transfers, too.

You can check out our Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3, Google Cloud and Backblaze B2 comparison article to see how those services stack up to one another. To learn more about Wasabi, read our Wasabi review. If you’re leaning toward Google’s product, read our Google Cloud review.

Though some of those offers give you 1TB for $60 per year, they still can’t beat Backblaze’s $5 unlimited plan for home users. You can learn more about it in our Backblaze review.

Those who need more options than Duplicati offers can give CloudBerry Backup a try. CloudBerry Backup can connect to more than 60 providers, but note that the desktop version costs $49.99, and that doesn’t include the price of the cloud storage provider you choose. Read more about CloudBerry Backup in our Cloudberry Backup review.

Ease of Use

78% - Good

You need to download the Duplicati desktop client to use the service, but you’ll use the browser most of the time. The desktop client is available for Windows, macOS and Linux.

The web app has a minimal interface that’s easy to use. The left side contains the navigation buttons, which let you access the homepage, add a backup, restore files, tweak settings and read the “about” page.

The experience is simple. When you create a backup you follow the steps and choose the options you need, just like with a basic installer app. We’ll talk more about the backup and restore processes in the next section.

We compared it to Cloudberry Backup in the previous section, but the user experience of the two services is quite different. Duplicati is much more friendly and simpler to use, but it’s still more complicated than Backblaze and Carbonite. Both Backblaze and Carbonite automate most of the backup and restore process, so you don’t have to do much of the work.

Duplicati doesn’t have mobile apps, so if you need to check your backup from your smartphone, it’s better to pick one of the mainstream online backup services. Consult our online backup reviews for help with that.

File Backup & Restoration

86% - Very Good

To create a backup plan, click the “add backup” button.

You can choose to configure a new backup or import a configuration from a file. If you select the former, you’ll be sent to a screen where you can set general backup settings.

Name your backup plan, choose an encryption level and set a strong passphrase, then click “next.”

The next step requires you to select a backup destination. You can choose a local or remote one. Local storage gives you the option to select a local folder or drive. For remote, you can choose a cloud storage provider or connect to your own server using one of the available protocols.

We chose Google Drive for our test. If you do so you need to authorize Duplicati to interact with Google Drive by clicking the “authID” link.

Once you do, you can test the connection with Google Drive by clicking “test connection.”

The following step requires you to choose content for backup. Duplicati doesn’t preselect files or folders based on type so you have to make selections manually. That said, you can add filters to include and exclude certain files.

You can include files based on extension using regular expressions and exclude hidden, system and temporary files, as well as files larger than a certain size.

Next, you can set your backup to run on a schedule. You can run backups after a set number of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years. You can also choose which days of the week backups are allowed to run on.

The last screen lets you set a retention policy. You can choose to keep all previous backup versions, a specific number of them, use smart retention or delete backups older than a certain date.

That’s all you need to do to create a backup plan. If you’ve set your backups to run automatically, they should start on the schedule you’ve chosen. If not, you need to start manually by clicking the “run now” button.

Duplicati Backup Speed

Depending on how much data you have to backup, the initial backup can take a long time. Hundreds of gigabytes might take days or weeks to complete, depending on your internet service provider and how far you are from a server.

After the initial backup, the transfers will be much faster thanks to Duplicati’s block-level file copying algorithm and continuous backup. The block level copying algorithm helps select and transfer only the parts of the file that have changed since the last backup, rather than whole files.

To restore files, click the “restore” button in the web client. From there, you can choose to restore files using a configuration file, directly from your backup file or from your backup plan.

The next window lets you select files you want to restore. For us, it’s only a single zipped folder we used for testing.

You can choose to restore files to their original location and overwrite those with the same name or save different versions. Otherwise, you can restore to a different location. Once you’re ready, click the “restore” button to start the process.

Duplicati will put a progress bar at the top of the screen to show the status of your restore. After the restore finishes, Duplicati will notify you and ask you to make a donation. The process works well and has a lot of options that you can use to enhance it. You can consult the speed table in the next section to see our test results.

Speed

85% - Very Good

In general, how fast your backup runs depends on your ISP and how close you are to one of the cloud backup service provider’s servers. In this case, though, that won’t be Duplicati, but the service that provides the storage space. That said, how fast Duplicate compresses and encrypts files will be a factor, too.

We tested Duplicati’s transfer speeds by connecting it to Google Drive and uploading and downloading a 1GB zipped folder. Our tests were done using an Ethernet connection in Belgrade, Serbia, that had an upload speed of 6 megabits per second and a download speed of 100 Mbps.

Considering that, we expected it to take about 21 minutes to upload and about a minute to download without any overhead.

 First attempt:Second attempt:Average:
Upload time:00:24:5500:25:5000:25:23
Download time:00:00:4400:00:3500:00:40

Our tests were similar to what we expected. Average upload time was 25 minutes and 23 seconds, while download, surprisingly, only took 40 seconds on average. That’s thanks to Google Drive’s global network of servers.

If you find that Duplicati’s transfers take too much of your bandwidth, you can throttle them by clicking the speedometer icon at the top of the web client.

Security

85% - Very Good

You can turn on encryption while you’re creating your backup plan. The first step in the backup process lets you choose between no encryption, GNU Privacy Guard and AES 256-bit. We recommend using AES 256-bit because it’s the standard for encryption when transferring to the cloud. It hasn’t been cracked as far as anyone knows.

If you want to encrypt your data, you need to set a password. Duplicati will tell you if your password is weak and give you the option to generate a strong password if you don’t know how to create one.

Duplicati encrypts your data locally before transferring it to a server. Your password never leaves your computer. Because of that, Duplicati qualifies as zero-knowledge encryption. With zero-knowledge encryption, no one but you will be able to read your files. You can also turn on the SSL protocol to protect your data from man-in-the-middle attacks.

That’s all the security that depends on Duplicati. The rest will depend on the cloud service you use. You should pick a service that has hardened data centers. Fortunately, most of them do. Some services don’t encrypt data, such as Amazon Drive, so enable encryption with Duplicati.

Privacy

85% - Very Good

Your privacy will rely on Duplicati and the service you choose to host your data. For an example of a service that has strong privacy, read our Sync.com review.

That said, Duplicati uses zero-knowledge encryption and doesn’t transmit your password. Your privacy is protected well. On top of that, the privacy policy doesn’t contain anything suspicious.

Duplicati collects information about you when you register with the website and participate in the forums. It uses that information to improve the website and customer service and send you periodic emails.

Duplicati uses many security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information, but note that website administrators have full access to messages on the website, including private messages.

The service doesn’t sell, trade or otherwise transfer your personal information to third parties. That doesn’t include trusted third parties that help Duplicati run its website, though, so long as they agree to keep the information confidential. Duplicati may also release information to comply with the law or protect the rights and safety of others.

Support

68% - Decent

The support category is the biggest difference between Duplicati and the rest of the backup services. That’s because Duplicati doesn’t have a dedicated technical support team, which means no email, chat or phone support. To be fair, though, Duplicati is open source and free, so it can’t afford to pay them.

What it has instead is a support forum where other users will help you fix your problem. Among the users are Duplicati developers and other IT experts. Response times are generally good, with most topics receiving an answer the same day they were posted.

The Verdict

Duplicati offers a smooth user experience, even though it takes IT gymnastics to set up your backup. Advanced IT users won’t be affected, though. Those who want a streamlined experience should find a more suitable service.

That said, Duplicati is free, and if you choose a storage service that’s not expensive, you can save money. If you choose one with a global network of servers, you’ll achieve fast speeds, too, because Duplicati encrypts and compresses files quickly.

The backup and restore process isn’t difficult and has the standard options we like to see when using a backup service. Duplicati is also secure because it uses strong encryption to protect your files.

What are your thoughts on Duplicati? Do you lean more toward a service that includes storage? If you already use a backup service, let us know which one in the comments below. Thank you for reading.

Starts from$ 500per month

Backup

Backup Scheduler
Continuous Backup
Incremental Backup
Image-Based Backup
External Drive Backup
NAS Backup
Server Backup
Hybrid Backup
Mobile Device Backup
Unlimited Backup
Unlimited Devices
Speed Throttling
Block-Level File Copying
Multithreaded Backup

Restore

Courier Recovery Service
Browser Access
Mobile App Access
Versioning
Deleted File Retention

Security

Private Encryption
At-Rest Encryption
In-Transit Encryption
Encryption Protocol
AES 256-bit
Two-Factor Authentication
n/a
Hardened Data Centers
n/a
Proxy Server Settings
HIPPA Compliant
n/a

Support

24/7 Support
Live Chat Support
Telephone Support
Email Support
User Forum
Knowledgebase

Misc

File Sharing
Device Sync
Free Trial
Unlimited

Duplicati Review

An open-source provider without bells and whistles

A basic, open-source backup solution that lacks features, but still works surprisingly well, Duplicati is definitely something every tinkerer should look into. People that want ready-to-go solutions might want to give it a pass, as you can read in our Duplicati review.
Starts from$ 500per month
Visit Duplicati

8 thoughts on “Duplicati”

  1. I tend not to share your view on Duplicati. In short, as long as there are no hiccups Duplicati works fine, but on hiccup you risk losing your ability to restore.
    The details of the story are not relevant. Just a question : when testing backup, do you verify “bad weather scenarios”, the behavior if some of the backup’d [block] files are corrupt/missing.
    – robustness of the tool if the local database (of backup’d files) and the backup content on the cloud fall out of sync.
    – transparency of files backup’d, the ability to re-create a list of files in the backup from scratch
    – ability to continue backup (identify corrupt or missing files and handle appropriately)
    – ability to restore at least the remaining content

  2. I fully agree with Bruno’s remarks about Duplicati. I had to move away from it exactly because of the things that Bruno mentioned.

  3. I also agree with those that have issues with Duplicati. The actual server backup (only about 80Gb) to Dropbox was fairly simple once you understand the paths etc. It does incremental backups OK (checked daily), but try a restore if anything goes wrong and it’s a nightmare. I have posted on the Duplicati forum, but the biggest issue is that the proagressbars don’t move and there is NO feedback to the user. You have no idea whether things are happening or not. After 40 hours I had the disk folders all empty. It take 2 hours to do a database reconstruct then does a temporary reconstruct (many hours) when you select the files to restore. I can see in the first three hours the progress bart has actually moved, but the feedback is atrocious). Further, the buttons on the screen are live when you are sitting around waiting. If you accidentally click one, several hours of just waiting are down the tube.

    I used the free crash plan, it was much better (and for $10/month now I will move there). I believe backblaze at $5/month is good as well (tossing up). For servers, more complicated, but $3/month for 2Tb (IIRC) is good. Regardless, Duplicati is frustrating, very very slow, provides poor feedback (for slow tasks) and did I say slow. So on the PLUS, I like the backup and it seems to work. On the MINUS, getting stuff back (from say Dropbox) in the real world is a nightmare – my experience, YMMV. The software (UI) is OK, but there are some issues that should be taken care of as in UI design/operation 101.

    1. Hi Kevin,
      Thanks for the details, it is interesting for me. Now, 2019/05 I have found that Crashplan, which I was willing to pay for, stopped silently backing up my vmware files. Just one day they decided, implemented and here you are. That pissed me off literally. How the h*ll they want to decide next time instead of me what to backup and what not. So I am searching alternatives. Alternatives that do NOT primarily depend of any company’s stupid decissions. ANd Duplicatti seems a good way. Unless you are unable to restore the backup 🙂 lol non-responsive interface as is described here seems to be nightmare and it is good to know about it. But I wonder, I would like to hear from people that experienced coruptions and freezes in order of hours: [Did you finally get your data back from backup?] Because answer to this question is what counts in the end of the day. I missed this answer in the posts an I would really like to know, besides of frustration I understand, were you able to retrieve the data finally? Because restore is something one does not do so often…… I consider buying my hardware and configure my own server. Disks are cheap and only thing I have trouble figuring out some reliable alternative physical location. One extra question that comes to my mind. Ransomware. Is Ransomware able, when it controlls Duplicatti (with perhaps cached S3 Login credentials) able to tell “delete all my backups” on behalf you your credentials? I wonder whether some non-cached “delete password” was implemented. Weird that regarding security noone else asks similar question. Have a nice day

    2. Definitely, robustness is an issue.

      I had a problem where the shared drive to which Duplicati backed up became full. It happened when I inadvertently included some large files in the backup.

      Duplicati was not able to recover.

  4. Duplicati User Rating

    Nice review, but you left out one of the most important aspects of Duplicati – deduplication. This can save huge amounts of backup storage space, if you are sloppy about organizing files, like I am.

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Duplicati Review

An open-source provider without bells and whistles

A basic, open-source backup solution that lacks features, but still works surprisingly well, Duplicati is definitely something every tinkerer should look into. People that want ready-to-go solutions might want to give it a pass, as you can read in our Duplicati review.
Starts from$ 500per month
Visit Duplicati
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