Backing up your on-premises hosted data

Category: On-premises Hosting
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    With the public cloud version of Bitwarden, we automatically handle backing up your data for you. However, when self-hosting Bitwarden you must implement your own backup procedures in order to keep your data safe.

    Bitwarden’s Docker containers use volume mapping to keep all important data persisted on the host machine. You can find this data in the ./bwdata directory relative to your Bitwarden installation. The Docker containers themselves are to be considered ephemeral and do not persist data or state.

    You should back up and keep the entire ./bwdata directory safe. In the event of data loss you will need all or parts of data contained in this directory to restore your installation.

    Some particularly important parts of the ./bwdata directory are:

    • ./bwdata/mssql/data - database data
    • ./bwdata/core/attachments - vault item attachments
    • ./bwdata/env - environment variables, including database and certificate passwords

    Nightly database backups

    Bitwarden will automatically take nightly backups of the mssql container database. These database backups are kept in the ./bwdata/mssql/backups directory. Nightly database backups are kept in this directory for 30 days. In the event of data loss, you can restore one of these daily backups.

    Restoring a nightly backup

    1. First log into bitwarden-mssql container. In order to log into the container you will first need to figure out the container ID.

      docker ps
      
    2. Note the container ID, and execute an interactive bash shell on the bitwarden-mssql container.

      docker exec -it bitwarden-mssql /bin/bash
      
    3. Take note of the backup file you wish to restore in the nightly backups directory. The backups directory is mapped from a host volume at ./bwdata/mssql/backups to /etc/bitwarden/mssql/backups within the bitwarden-mssql container.

      ls /etc/bitwarden/mssql/backups
      

      For this example, the backup we will be using is named vault_FULL_20200302_235901.BAK, which is a backup of the vault database on March 2, 2020 at 11:53pm. The full path of the backup in the container would be /etc/bitwarden/mssql/backups/vault_FULL_20200302_235901.BAK

    4. Execute sqlcmd with the required authentication. Please note that you will want to get the database sa password from the ./bwdata/env/global.override.env file on your host.

      /opt/mssql-tools/bin/sqlcmd -S localhost -U sa -P ${SA_PASSWORD}
      
    5. Execute the SQL command RESTORE DATABASE with your backup to restore the nightly backup, followed by a GO command.

      RESTORE DATABASE vault FROM DISK = '/etc/bitwarden/mssql/backups/vault_FULL_20200302_235901.BAK' WITH REPLACE
      GO
      

    Your Bitwarden database should now be restored.

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