If you haven't backed up your computer yet, start now! Obsidian's [[File recovery]] plugin is a good beginning, but it's limited to notes, and the snapshots themselves should be backed up. **Why Back Up?** Your notes are stored locally on your device by default, not in the cloud. This ensures that [the data is yours](https://obsidian.md/about) and gives you control over it. However, local storage is susceptible to real-world problems like corruption and data loss. Backups protect against these issues and further ensure that you control your own data. ## Understand: Syncing is not a backup Services like [[Introduction to Obsidian Sync|Obsidian Sync]], iCloud, OneDrive, and Dropbox sync your notes across devices. They may offer [[Version history|note restoration]], but they are **not** designed to [back up your vault](https://www.backblaze.com/blog/cloud-backup-vs-cloud-sync/). - **Sync:** Keeps files and data consistently updated across multiple devices. Changes in one location automatically reflect in all synced locations. - **Backup:** Saves copies of data in a separate location for recovery in case of data loss, corruption, or disaster. Backups are not for real-time access or collaboration. To back up your vault, use a dedicated one-way backup tool that pushes data from your device to a backup location without rewriting local data. If using a multi-device sync setup, choose ONE device as your backup device. This is typically your most used device, or "primary device". > [!Example] You use Obsidian Sync on your laptop, tablet, phone, and work desktop. You spend most of the time on your vault on your work desktop, some of the time on your laptop, and rarely on the other two devices. The work desktop would be considered your primary device. ## Use community plugins While the Obsidian Team cannot officially endorse any specific plugin, we recognize two community plugins that have become popular among users for backing up their files: - **[Obsidian Git](https://obsidian.md/plugins?id=obsidian-git):** Use this plugin to back up your vault by committing its contents to a [GitHub](https://github.com/) repository. It's an effective way to version control your notes and ensure their safety on a remote server. However, please be aware that your data will be stored on Github [[#Use cloud-based services|using this method]]. - **[Local Backup](https://obsidian.md/plugins?id=local-backup):** This plugin allows you to create local copies of your vault in a folder of your choice, with options for archival. You can even use a syncing folder, like a Dropbox folder, to combine local and cloud backups. This method **pairs well** with the backup options described below. ## Use cloud-based services > [!info] It is not recommended that you keep your vault location in your chosen backup service. Keeping your backup in the cloud is an alternative and a complement to physical data storage, instead of an external hard drive or USB stick. An external hard drive or USB stick can be lost or damaged. The biggest advantage of storing files in the cloud is that they are available anytime, anywhere. The downside is, most backup services are owned by a private company. In terms of security, you should always pay close attention to access and security with cloud backups. [Worldbackupday](https://www.worldbackupday.com/en) keeps an up-to-date list of online backup services to consider using. ## Use external drives **Hard drives and SSD Drives** External hard drive backups are still valuable in an increasing cloud-based world, and are mainly used for data storage and computer backups. The biggest disadvantage of an external drive is that the drive can break down or get lost. The biggest advantage is that the storage space only needs to be purchased once. Using an external hard drive is often combined with a [[#Use computer backups|computer backup]]. **USB Sticks** USB sticks are a simple and effective method for quick backups. 1. Insert the USB stick into your computer or laptop. 2. Ensure the device is recognized and mounted in your file system. If necessary, format the USB stick to be compatible with your filesystem. 3. Copy your vault folder from its current location onto the USB stick. 4. Safely unmount the USB stick. 5. Remove the USB stick from your device. > [!tip] If your external drive contains sensitive information, it is recommended to keep the external drive secure, such as in a secured room. ## Use computer backups Your operating system itself offer the ability to help create backups, whether online in the cloud, or in an external drive. - **[Windows](https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/learning-center/back-up-files)**: Backup with OneDrive or an external drive. You may also use [System restore](https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/use-system-restore-a5ae3ed9-07c4-fd56-45ee-096777ecd14e). - **[Mac](https://support.apple.com/en-us/104984)**: Backup to an external device with Time Machine. - **[Linux](https://linuxize.com/post/how-to-use-rsync-for-local-and-remote-data-transfer-and-synchronization/)**: `rsync` to a directory or drive of choice. ## Next steps This help page provides a brief overview of backup options, but it's not exhaustive. For more in-depth information, visit [Worldbackupday.com](https://www.worldbackupday.com/en) or ask other Obsidian users in [our community](https://obsidian.md/community) about their backup strategies!