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How To Install Proxmox Backup Server Step by Step

Setup Proxmox Backup Server

By sk
Published: Updated: 13.4K views

This tutorial is going to explain you what is Proxmox Backup Server, and how to install Proxmox Backup Server step by step with screenshots.

A. What is Proxmox Backup Server?

Proxmox Backup Server (shortly known as PBS) is an enterprise backup solution to backup and restore Proxmox Virtual machines, containers and physical hosts.

The Proxmox Backup Server is a custom Linux distribution based on a minimal Debian with built-in ZFS support. Thus, it can be installed on bare-metal, using the ISO image.

PBS can be easily integrated with you an existing Proxmox VE in order to backup the VMs and containers. In addition to that, we can use PBS to store non-VM backups as well. For instance, you can send file-level backups from physical or virtual Debian machine to PBS.

It contains an integrated web interface which allows you to easily manage and monitor all backup and restore processes from a common place. So you can do everything via your web browser.

You don't need to install a separate management tool. Proxmox Backup Server comes with all the essential management tools you need. You can manage the server either from commandline or through a web browser.

Proxmox Backup Server supports incremental and deduplicated backups. Meaning - only the changes will be backed up instead of full backup. This way it reduces the amount of duplicate data, saves a lot of network bandwidth and disk space and also makes the backup and restore processes faster.

Since Proxmox uses the ultra-fast Zstandard (ZSTD) compression method, the data transfer rate is quite faster when backing and restoring data.

With strong encryption and methods of ensuring data integrity, Proxmox Backup Server greatly minimizes the downtime and keep the data safe, even if the target location is not fully trusted.

Proxmox Backup software is fully written in Rust programming language. It is completely Opensource, so you can inspect the code, fix bugs if there are any, and it is totally FREE to use.

The minimum hardware requirements to install Proxmox backup server is 64-bit CPU, 2+ cores, 2 GiB RAM, 8 GiB disk space and NIC. As long as you meet the minimum requirements, you can evaluate and test PBS.

However, the recommended hard requirements for Proxmox Backup Server is 4+ cores, 8 GiB memory and 32 GiB storage. The higher the configuration the better for production use.

For storage, I recommend you to use Enterprise-grade Solid State Drives (SSD). This makes your backup and restore processes faster.

C. Install Proxmox Backup Server (PBS)

There are three ways to install Proxmox Backup Server. The first method is to install Proxmox Backup Server using the installer ISO image (standalone installation), second method is to install PBS on Debian, and third and last way is to install it in Proxmox VE itself.

First, we will learn how to install Proxmox Backup Server using ISO.

1. Install Proxmox Backup Server using Installer ISO Image

1.1. Download Proxmox Backup Server ISO

Download the latest Proxmox Backup Server ISO from the link given below.

After downloading Proxmox Backup Server ISO, we need to create a bootable USB with it.

1.2. Create Proxmox Backup Server Bootable USB

There are many bootable USB creation tools available to create a bootable USB medium. We already have reviewed a few bootable USB creation applications. You can pick any one that suits you.

Command line bootable USB creation tools:

Graphical bootable USB creation tools:

1.3. Start Proxmox Backup Server Installation

After creating Proxmox Backup Server bootable USB, boot your system with the newly created bootable USB drive. It will automatically recognize the installation medium. If not, press the F12 to bring up the boot menu and choose USB as first boot device and hit ENTER.

Heads Up: Pressing F12 key is the most common key for bringing up your system’s boot menu. The other common alternatives to bring System boot menu are F2 and F10 keys. If you’re unsure about which key to press, look for a brief message (at the bottom left or right corner of the Monitor screen) when your system starts. This will often inform you of which key to press to bring up the boot menu.

You will now be pleased with Proxmox backup Server installer welcome screen. Choose "Install Proxmox Backup Server" option and press ENTER to continue.

Install Proxmox Backup Server
Install Proxmox Backup Server

Click "Agree" to accept the license agreement.

Accept License Agreement
Accept License Agreement

Make sure you've chosen the correct target disk to install and click "Next" to continue. If you wish to choose different filesystem type (E.g. ext4) and custom size for Swap, click "Options" button. I go with the defaults.

Select Target Disk
Select Target Disk

Heads Up: Please note that Proxmox Backup Server is bare-metal installer. Meaning - the whole disk is used and all existing data will be removed.

Choose your Country, Timezone and Keyboard Layout and click "Next".

Select Country, Timezone, Keyboard Layout
Select Country, Timezone, Keyboard Layout

Provide a password for the "root" user and enter a valid email id and click "Next". Please make sure you've provided a strong password that has at least 8 characters including numbers and special characters.

Provide Root password and Email address
Provide Root password and Email address

Enter hostname, ip address, netmask, gateway, and DNS. You must provide a valid network details to access Proxmox management interface after installation.

Configure Network
Configure Network

You will see installation summary. If it is OK for you, click Next to start Proxmox backup Server installation. Or, simply click Previous button to go back and change the values accordingly.

Installation Summary
Installation Summary

The Proxmox Backup Server installation will start now. Give it a few minutes to complete.

Installing Proxmox Backup Server
Installing Proxmox Backup Server

If you have checked the option that says "Automatically reboot after successful installation" in the previous screen, your system will automatically reboot upon successful installation. If you didn't check that option, you will see the Installation successful message. Remove the installation medium and hit Reboot button.

Enter the username (root) and password (the one you have created during the installation) to login to Proxmox console.

Login to Proxmox Backup Server Console
Login to Proxmox Backup Server Console

Congratulations! Proxmox Backup Server has been successfully installed.

As mentioned earlier, Proxmox is based on Debian. So, you can install any additional applications or update it as the way you do in Debian. Say for example, to update Proxmox, simply run:

# apt update && apt full-upgrade

We have installed Proxmox. Next, skip to Access Proxmox Backup Server via SSH and Access PBS Web UI sections.

2. Install Proxmox Backup Server on Debian

If you're already have installed Debian, you can install PBS on top of a Debian distribution.

Heads Up: Installing PBS on Debian may easy to you. However, you should properly setup the local storage for storing VMs and containers.

First, we will have to add Proxmox GPG key. To add GPG key, run:

# wget https://enterprise.proxmox.com/debian/proxmox-release-bullseye.gpg -O /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/proxmox-release-bullseye.gpg

Verify the SHA512 checksum using command:

# sha512sum /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/proxmox-release-bullseye.gpg

You should get an output like below:

7fb03ec8a1675723d2853b84aa4fdb49a46a3bb72b9951361488bfd19b29aab0a789a4f8c7406e71a69aabbc727c936d3549731c4659ffa1a08f44db8fdcebfa  /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/proxmox-release-bullseye.gpg

And then, verify md5sum:

# md5sum /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/proxmox-release-bullseye.gpg
bcc35c7173e0845c0d6ad6470b70f50e  /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/proxmox-release-bullseye.gpg

If you got same output as above, you're good to go!

Now, let us add Proxmox Backup Server repositories to the Debian system.

2.1. Configure Proxmox Repositories

Proxmox comes as two editions:

  • Enterprise edition - Recommended for production. You need a valid license key to use this edition.
  • Free edition - Recommended for home lab users. It is NOT RECOMMENDED for PRODUCTION use. It has all features of enterprise, but you won't get any official support from Proxmox developers.

Depending upon the edition you use, you need to configure Proxmox Enterprise Repository or Proxmox No-subscription Repository.

2.1.1. Enable Proxmox Enterprise Repository

Proxmox Enterprise Repository is the stable, recommended repository. It contains the most stable packages, and is suitable for production use. It is available for all Proxmox Backup subscription users. You need a valid subscription to access this repository.

The pbs-enterprise repository is enabled by default.

# cat /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pbs-enterprise.list 
deb https://enterprise.proxmox.com/debian/pbs bullseye pbs-enterprise

If you don't have a valid license key, you can disable this repository. To do so, simply open the pbs-enterprise.list file in any editor and comment out the following line.

#deb https://enterprise.proxmox.com/debian/pbs bullseye pbs-enterprise

After disabling the enterprise repository, you can enable the No-subscription Repository.

2.1.2. Enable Proxmox No-subscription Repository

You don't need a license key to use the Proxmox No-subscription repository. It is suitable for home labs users, testing purpose and non-production use.

To enable Proxmox No-subscription repository, edit /etc/apt/sources.list file:

# nano /etc/apt/sources.list

And add the following lines:

deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian bullseye main contrib

deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian bullseye-updates main contrib

# security updates
deb http://security.debian.org bullseye-security main contrib

# PBS pbs-no-subscription repository provided by proxmox.com,
# NOT recommended for production use
deb http://download.proxmox.com/debian/pbs bullseye pbs-no-subscription

Finally, update the repository list:

$ sudo apt update

2.2. Start PBS Installation

After configuring the Proxmox repositories, run the following commands as root or sudo user to install Proxmox backup Server in Debian:

# apt update
# apt install proxmox-backup-server

You will be prompted to select mail configuration type. Select "OK" and hit ENTER to continue:

Postfix Configuration
Postfix Configuration

Select the mail configuration type and press ENTER. I go with the "Local Only" type.

Select Mail Configuration Type
Select Mail Configuration Type

Enter system mail name and press ENTER key:

Enter System Mail Name
Enter System Mail Name

Now all packages needed to setup Proxmox backup Server will be installed and configured.

After installation is completed, you can access the PBS server via SSH or access the PBS web UI via web browser as shown in the subsequent sections.

3. Install Proxmox Backup Server on Proxmox VE

If you're already running a Proxmox VE, you can install Proxmox Backup Server in it. The installation procedure is same as installing Proxmox backup Server on Debian. Simply follow the same steps as shown in the previous section and complete the installation.

Heads Up: Running Proxmox VE and Backup Server is NOT RECOMMENDED. Keeping Proxmox VE and Backup Server in different server is SAFE. Because, if Proxmox VE goes down, you can't access the backups.

Once installed, we can access PBS server SSH and the PBS web UI via a browser as shown in the following sections.

D. Access Proxmox Backup Server via SSH

SSH is pre-configured in Proxmox. So you can access the Proxmox server from any system from LAN via SSH like below.

$ ssh root@

Replace the IP address with your Proxmox Backup Server's IP.

Access Proxmox Backup Server Via SSH
Access Proxmox Backup Server Via SSH

E. Access Proxmox Backup Server Web Interface

You need a web browser to access Proxmox Backup Server (PBS) web UI. The vanilla PBS doesn't have a GUI. You need to access the web dashboard either from a remote system's web browser or install any Desktop Environment on PBS with a web browser and start configuring it.

To open Proxmox Backup Server's Web UI, enter the URL - https://IP_Address:8007 in the address bar. You will be asked to enter the user credentials. Type root and its password to continue. You may need to open the port 8007 in firewall/router in case you're accessing the Proxmox web dashboard from other systems in your local network.

Login to Proxmox Backup Server Web UI
Login to Proxmox Backup Server Web UI

This is how the Proxmox Backup Server's web dashboard looks like.

Proxmox Backup Server Web Dashboard
Proxmox Backup Server Web Dashboard

From the PBS administration dashboard, you can manage the PBS server, create backups either locally or send them to a remote location, for example Tape drive. Thanks to the simplified web interface, restoring backups can also be done in a flash.

F. Update Proxmox Backup Server

Proxmox Backup Server is based on Debian, so you can use any command that can be run in a DEB-based system.

To update the Proxmox Backup Server, simply run the following commands as root user:

# apt update
# apt full-upgrade


In this guide, we discussed how to install Proxmox Backup Server standalone edition using the installer ISO. As you can see, installing Proxmox Backup Server using ISO is quite easy and is exactly same as Proxmox VE installation method.

We also looked at how to install Proxmox Backup Server on top of Debian and Proxmox VE. Finally, we learned how to access Proxmox Backup Server via SSH and access Proxmox Backup Server Web UI.

Check the following guide to learn how to create and restore backups with Proxmox Backup Server.

Getting Started With Proxmox Backup Server


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