We wanted to have our virtual servers backed up to Dropbox on a daily basis for real peace of mind.

To do this we will need to:

1. Sign up  for Dropbox

2. Setup Dropbox on CentOS

3. Setup Virtualmin to Dropbox Folders


1. Sign up  for Dropbox

** Please use my referral link to sign up to help me get some more space, this would be a great way to thank me! 

Use this Dropbox referral link: http://db.tt/YT1fc4Rk


2. Setup Dropbox on CentOS

– Create a new user that you would like to run the dropbox as – in our case we create the user – backup

Log in to your server as user backup so you obtain a shell prompt, and change to your home directory.

cd ~
wget -O dropbox.tar.gz "http://www.dropbox.com/download/?plat=lnx.x86"  

If you need the 64 bit version:

wget -O dropbox.tar.gz "http://www.dropbox.com/download/?plat=lnx.x86_64"

Sanity check to make sure we’re not going to clog our home directory.

tar -tzf dropbox.tar.gz


tar -xvzf dropbox.tar.gz

Run dropboxd


You should see output like this:

This client is not linked to any account... Please visit https://www.dropbox.com/cli_link?host_id=7d44a557aa58f285f2da0x67334d02c1 to link this machine.

Copy and paste that link and open it in a browser – make sure that you dont stop the process.

After you have opened that link you should see the message in your shell change and say that your account has been linked.

dropboxd will create a ~/Dropbox folder and start synchronizing it after this step! Go to the URL given; you should see a success message at the top of your screen.

NOTE: If you want to change the account it is linked to, unlink it from the first account, then kill the running dropbox process, start it up again (with “~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd &”) and obtain the new host_id with dbreadconfig.py . If you don’t restart the dropbox client, it will give the same host_id (which for some reason cause me to be unable to change the account it is linked to).

It is recommended to download the official Dropbox CLI to start the dropbox daemon (as an unprivileged user) and get its status.

mkdir -p ~/bin
wget -O ~/bin/dropbox.py "http://www.dropbox.com/download?dl=packages/dropbox.py" 
chmod 755 ~/bin/dropbox.py
~/bin/dropbox.py help

If you get an – SyntaxError: invalid syntax error then you need to have python 2.6 installed.

You will need the EPEL repo to install python26.  The package installs Python 2.6 in parallel to the distribution default version. This way YUM will not be effected by the newer version

yum install python26

After that you should be able the command as follows:

python2.6 ~/bin/dropbox.py help

You can use the Dropbox CLI for start,status, stop, exclude or many other things.

Exclude Usage

List usage:    dropbox.py exclude list 

Example         ~/bin/dropbox.py exclude 

Example         ~/bin/dropbox.py exclude list

 Add exclusion usage  dropbox.py exclude add DIRECTORY 

Example         ~/bin/dropbox.py exclude add ~/Dropbox/MyExcludedFolder

Remove exclusion usage   dropbox.py exclude remove DIRECTORY

Example        ~/bin/dropbox.py exclude remove ~/Dropbox/MyReincludedFolder


See this page for more info: http://www.dropboxwiki.com/Using_Dropbox_CLI

Make sure that Dropbox is running – create some files and check on the Dropbox site that they are syncing and vice versa.

Use this command to see some information on what Dropbox is doing now:

python2.6 ~/bin/dropbox.py status

Now we need to make sure Dropbox starts on startup:

So lets create a startup script:

vim /etc/init.d/dropbox

And paste the following into that file:

# chkconfig: 345 85 15
# description: Startup script for dropbox daemon
# processname: dropboxd
# pidfile: /var/run/dropbox.pid
# Source function library.

. /etc/rc.d/init.d/functions

DROPBOX_USERS="user1 user2"




start() {

        echo -n $"Starting $prog"
         for dbuser in $DROPBOX_USERS; do
            daemon --user $dbuser /bin/sh -c "/home/$dbuser/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd &"



        [ $RETVAL = 0 ] && touch ${lockfile}

         return $RETVAL

status() {
   for dbuser in $DROPBOX_USERS; do
      dbpid=`pgrep -u $dbuser dropbox | grep -v grep`
      if [ -z $dbpid ] ; then
         echo "dropboxd for USER $dbuser: not running."
         echo "dropboxd for USER $dbuser: running (pid $dbpid)"
stop() {

        echo -n $"Stopping $prog"
    for dbuser in $DROPBOX_USERS; do
        killproc /home/$dbuser/.dropbox-dist/dropbox
        [ $RETVAL = 0 ] && rm -f ${lockfile} ${pidfile}

# See how we were called.

case "$1" in
        echo $"Usage: $prog {start|status|stop|restart}"

exit $RETVAL

Make sure to replace user1  with the users that you want Dropbox to run as – backup in our case

Then run these commands:

chmod +x /etc/init.d/dropbox 
/sbin/chkconfig --add dropbox
chmod 755 /etc/init.d/dropbox

So, at this point, you should have a working Dropbox installation on your CentOS server. 

Make sure you can start and stop it and see the status – make sure that it can sync files to and from the server using the users account on the  Dropbox website.

Once you are sure it is running well also make sure that you disable lan sync as you wont need this on a server:

To disable lan sync:

python2.6 ~/bin/dropbox.py lansync n

Now we are ready to move on to setting up the virtualmin backups to the Dropbox folder

3. Setup Virtualmin to Dropbox Folders

We created a folder under the users Dropbox folder where the downloads will go.

mkdir ~/Dropbox/server_backups/virtualmin

Then we have to setup a Virtualmin Backup Schedule to Backup our virtual servers every day.

Dropbox will then backup keep a 30 day backup/snapshots of these backups for us.

Play around with the settings that you would like but make sure that you backup to the users directory:


**You will also need to make sure that the backup files have to correct permissions as root will be doing the backups and then the backup user will not be able to access the files

Add this command to the – Command to run after backup

chown -fR backupp:backup /home/backup/Dropbox

This command with chown the complete Dropbox folder to backup:backup after every backup.

Let me know if anything is unclear.

And please remember to use my Dropbox referral link: http://db.tt/YT1fc4Rk

Some more links:





How to: CentOS Virtualmin Server Backups to Dropbox
Tagged on:                                                                                 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

11 thoughts on “How to: CentOS Virtualmin Server Backups to Dropbox