What is "(do not include files)" when creating a backup manually?

When attempting to create a new backup, I get dialog with the options Yes and Yes (do not include files):

What files is that dialog talking about? Source files so the forum’s condition can be reproduced reliably? Uploaded ones? Would be nice and easy to specify.

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It means uploaded files and images.

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I’ve just triggered a manual backup with “Yes (do not include files)” and it’s ~20x as small as the automatic backup that occurred yesterday:

I’ve just migrated the forum from MyBB and there are no attachments (the migration doesn’t support them). What causes the difference in size? Is the last backup incremental? Are linked images from remote URLs downloaded in the first one?

Basically, everything that is inside the “uploads” folder.

This folder contains all the images (the ones included in posts, avatars, user cards and profile backgrounds) as well as optimized thumbnails.

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If you have lots of duplicated images, there are tools that identify and replace duplicated files with symbolic links on Linux, in theory it should work well (never tested).

If you have a forum with lots of reaction gifs it would be a good case for file deduplication, I think.

Be carefull if you try this, backup everything and etc

I highly recommend that you do not mess with files that are in the “uploads” folders or you are in for a world of pain.

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Hmm @sam is this another benefit of avatars.discourse.org the local server does not have to store a zillion copies of the generic avatars?


Yes, our letter avatars only live on our CDN. It does reduce storage.

That said, user uploaded avatars are “optimized” multiple times for various sizes so user uploaded avatars are effectively stored 6 times or so in different sizes in backups.


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