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Backup script for Linux servers running a Minecraft server in a GNU Screen
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Minecraft Backup

Backup script for Linux servers running a Minecraft server in a GNU Screen

Still in development, so use at your own risk!


  • Create backups of your world folder
  • Manage deletion of old backups
    • "thin" - keep last 24 hourly, last 30 daily, and use remaining space for monthly backups
    • "sequential" - delete oldest backup
  • Choose your own compression algorithm (tested with: gzip, xz, zstd)
  • Able to print backup status and info to the Minecraft chat


  • Linux computer (tested on Ubuntu)
  • GNU Screen (running your Minecraft server)
  • Minecraft server (tested with Vanilla 1.10.2 only)


  1. Download the script: $ wget
  2. Mark as executable: $ chmod +x
  3. Configure the variables (in the top of the script)
SCREEN_NAME="PrivateSurvival" # Name of the GNU Screen your Minecraft server is running in
SERVER_DIRECTORY="/home/server/MinecraftServers/PrivateSurvival" # Server directory, NOT the world; world is SERVER_DIRECTORY/world
BACKUP_DIRECTORY="/media/server/ExternalStorage/Backups/PrivateSurvivalBackups" # Directory to save backups in
NUMBER_OF_BACKUPS_TO_KEEP=128 # -1 indicates unlimited
DELETE_METHOD="thin" # Choices: thin, sequential, none; sequential: delete oldest; thin: keep last 24 hourly, last 30 daily, and monthly (use with 1 hr cron interval)
COMPRESSION_ALGORITHM="zstd" # Leave empty for no compression
COMPRESSION_FILE_EXTENSION=".zst" # Leave empty for no compression; Precede with a . (for example: ".gz")
COMPRESSION_LEVEL=3 # Passed to the compression algorithm
ENABLE_CHAT_MESSAGES=true # Tell players in Minecraft chat about backup status
PREFIX="Backup" # Shows in the chat message
DEBUG=true # Enable debug messages
  1. Create a cron job to automatically backup

a. Edit the crontab: $ crontab -e

b. Example for hourly backups: 00 * * * * /path/to/


  • Make sure the compression algorithm you specify is installed on your system. (zstd is not installed by default)
  • Make sure your compression algorithm is in the crontab's PATH
  • Make sure cron has permissions for all the files involved and access to the Minecraft server's GNU Screen
  • It's surprising how much space backups can take--make sure you have enough empty space
  • SERVER_DIRECTORY should be the server directory, not the world directory
  • Do not put trailing / in the SERVER_DIRECTORY or BACKUP_DIRECTORY
  • If "thin" delete method is behaving weirdly, try emptying your backup directory or switch to "sequential"
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