Configure automatic backups for Discourse

Setting this up can be rather confusing. Here’s a simple guide to help you out.

  • Log into your Discourse admin panel
  • Configure daily backups
  • Set maximum backups to 7
  • Log into your Amazon Web Services account
  • Go in the S3 Dashboard
  • Open the bucket containing the backups
  • Click on the properties tab
  • Activate versioning
  • Open the Lifecycle menu
  • Add a rule for the whole bucket
  • Set current version to expire after 15 days
  • Set previous version to
  • Archive to Glacier after 1 days
  • expire after 91 days
  • Save and logout

How it works

Versioning will keep backups automaticly deleted by Discourse. One day after beeing deleted it will be moved to the Glacier storage. After 91 days it will be delete from the Glacier storage.


Amazon charge you for item stored in Glacier for 90 days even if you delete them before. Make sure your Glacier Lyfecicle keep your file at least 90 days.


I may have missed this, but how to I make sure a bucket for backups is private the proper way? Setting up file and image uploads to S3 doesn’t seem to be described here.

Looks like there is no such option anymore.

UPD: ah, now it’s split into 2 steps of this wizard.

So I guess it should be like this:


Does S3 backup functionality play nice without IAM access key and secret if using AWS roles assigned to the instance and s3 use iam profile is enabled in the settings menu?

Edit: The answer is YES! Just ensure you have region set appropriately.

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I had this problem too, which was resolved by adding a couple of lines to the policy document:

"Resource": [

Should this be added to the OP (which isn’t a wiki)? Or perhaps in the OP of Setting up file and image uploads to S3?


Is there a good reason not to make daily backups aren’t the default?

Fixes needed for OP

Add something about moving S3 backups to Glacier?
Delete the S3 stuff and link to Using Object Storage for Uploads (S3 & Clones)

It’d be overkill and expensive. Same reason we don’t recommend changing the oil in your car every 500 miles?

You back up your servers once a week?

I think your 500 mile oil change analogy would be a good answer for “why not keep 30 backups?”, but it doesn’t make sense to me here.

Do you not think that if you’re going to have 5 backups most people would rather have backups every day so that if they do have to revert to a backup they’ve lost no more than a day? The only time I remember an older backup being useful is when images fell out of tombstone.

If they have so little disk space that they can’t hold 5 backups, it would seem better to learn that in 5 days when they still have some memory of what they did than wait 4-5 weeks.

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Yes, that is correct, for my self hosted servers.

If you prefer different settings, feel free to edit them from the defaults. What’s stopping you from doing so?

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Well, I’ll be!

I’m cleaning up topics like this one. If the defaults were changed, it wouldn’t be needed!

I’m convinced that the defaults won’t be changed, so I’ll move ahead. :wink


Once a week is a good starting point and a solid default.

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I had the very same problem!

i suggest to add a note regarding this on the initial post too!


Would be nice if this could be used to upload to a different S3 compatible provider, such as running MinIO.

If you want to use minio, see Using Object Storage for Uploads (S3 & Clones). If you want different services for backups and assets then you’re out of luck (though there are ways to set up triggers to copy from one bucket 8 another)

No, just want for backups, so they get automatically pushed to a different machine on my network.

Then the guide I linked is what you’re looking for.

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Is it possible to be more frequent than once per day? I’d rather not make assumptions and set backup freqeuncy to a float

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If you want more frequent backups you’ll need to do them externally.


Thanks for the hint. That pushed me towards the command line option which we can schedule to do whenever: :+1:


I got this to work, but it seems that the uploads checkbox was not really needed, nor do I understand the purpose. What is the purpose? The only thing I want is backups to s3 instead of local for my server. The server only has weekly automatic backups…

The Json also had problems… I was able to get it to work using another website reference. However, nobody could upload any images because I had the uploads checkbox checked (as described here)…Unchecking that box fixed the image upload problem for users and their profile pics.

What is the purpose of the images upload? I’m seriously hoping images are inside the s3 backups.
I had to do the instructions twice because I didn’t understand “uploads” and only made one bucket. Then I had to do it again with 2 buckets, and then I had to remove the checkbox for uploads. It might be good if there was a separate more simple topic for s3 backups … and only backups.

    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": [
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": "*"