How to Backup and Version Control a Single Obsidian File, on a Mac
An elegant alternative for people who don’t get on with Git
You already know you should be backing up your work, and I’ll optimistically assume you’re already doing that. But are you doing enough? Do you have sufficient version control of your most important files, without spamming your backup service?
I know, I know. Git does this very, very well. But for those of us who are ambitious, but haven’t yet tamed the Mighty Git, Hazel provides an elegant solution.
As a self-proclaimed cheapskate, I’ve chosen a paid app to back up and version control specific files in my Obsidian vault over a free one, because —
I get Hazel, and it works. Plus, I already own it.
I can’t make Git consistently bend to my will, despite following tutorials.
One day I hope to be able to invite Git to all my parties and not need subtitles for everything it says. Even so, Hazel and I are such good friends, that I suspect I’d spend more time talking with them at a party, than I would our more code-driven pal.
Next, how I’m backing up my Obsidian vault. And, specifically, making an extra, version-controlled backup of my most used file.
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Repeat after me: I Must Back Up My Obsidian Vault! Today!
Paranoid must be my middle name, as I already back up my entire hard drive, including my Obsidian vault, with Dropbox, iCloud, and Backblaze, and still find myself looking for more. Times past have shown me that backups fail, and even with all that in place I’ve occasionally lost a file.
Obsidian has some nice backup plugins you should check out, if you haven’t already:
Obsidian Git has nearly 425K downloads at the time of writing, so clearly there are a lot of happy users. It worked for me for a while, and then it didn’t. No clue why, and I decided to stop wasting hours looking into it.
Aut-O-Backups syncs your entire vault to Dropbox, at regular intervals. Good for version control, but not great for saving space. It literally backs up everything every few minutes, modified or not, making search a nightmare.
Remotely Save is the plugin I’m using now to back up to Dropbox. S3, webdav, and OneDrive are other destination options. As files are modified in your vault, they’re replaced in the backup.
I’m happy with Remotely Save, but realised recently that I’d rather not have to rely on Dropbox’s versioning to recover one specific, extensive file that I’m constantly modifying throughout the day: my To Do list in TaskPaper format.
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