KeyHelp® 21.1 - New backup management, new email notification system and more features

by Alexander Mahr

At the beginning of the week, the latest KeyHelp version 21.1 was released.

This version includes the long-awaited brand new backup system, a superior solution to the previous application in almost all aspects.

Below you will find an overview of selected features and improvements of the new KeyHelp version.

  • Backup management
    The backup management provides you with an advanced way to create and restore backups of your system. Learn about the advantages of the newly developed system and how it differs from the previous backup system.

    • Incremental backups
      In the old system, all files in the backup were always fully backed up, regardless of whether they were modified between two backup runs or not. On the one hand, this cost valuable disk space, and on the other hand, it was especially time-consuming, putting a strain on the system's CPU.
      The new system creates incremental backups. This means that only the data whose contents have been modified are backed up.
      For example, the initial backup run takes several hours, but the next backup run can be completed in just a few minutes, yet all the data is still just as safely stored in the backup repository. This saves processing power, storage space, and much less data needs to be transferred to the backup repository.

    • Resource-saving
      The new system requires less storage space, both on the server running the backup and on the remote storage.
      In the previous system, data was first prepared in one place in the file system before being packed into an archive file and stored in the backup storage. This meant that a lot of free space had to be reserved on the system in order to perform a backup.
      With the new system, the amount of data that needs to be prepared could be reduced by a large amount.
      An upcoming update will further reduce the amount of data that needs to be prepared. This in turn will save storage space and runtime.
      As already described under the point incremental backups, the CPU is burdened many times less than before due to the incremental architecture.
      Computationally intensive compression, which was still necessary in the previous system, is completely eliminated in the new system. Due to the use of deduplication, storage space is still saved.
      On average, about 60 MB of RAM is used for a backup run.
    • Individual backup scope
      With the previous backup system, it was not possible to specify which data should be backed up. The entire data set was always backed up.
      The new system now offers the possibility to adjust the scope according to one's own wishes and, in addition, to exclude files and directories from the backup.

    • Backup restore
      The ability to restore a backup through the KeyHelp management interface was not offered by the old backup system.
      In the new system, a restore of the backed up data can be done with a few mouse clicks. Which part of a backup you want to restore is easily defined by checkboxes. Furthermore, it is possible to restore only individual folders or files from the backup.

    • Any number of backup locations (= repositories)
      In order to create backups, you must first create a repository. A repository is a secure place where your backups are stored.
      In the previously known system, only one repository could be defined.
      In the current system, you can manage any number of repositories. Each of these repositories can exist locally on the server itself or on another server or cloud storage.

    • New connection types
      The previous system supported FTP(S) and SFTP protocols as connection types to remote storage.
      As of now, WebDAV and storage in a Dropbox account are additionally supported.
      Furthermore, the new system is easily extensible with additional connection types. Upcoming KeyHelp updates will bring additional options of connection types.

    • Security
      Previously, it was still up to the backup management user whether or not to assign a password to the backup archive created.
      The new system requires a password. Without the correct password, no access to the repository or the data contained therein is possible. In principle, it would also be possible to store a repository in a supposedly insecure environment - however, this is not recommended.

    • Any number of backup schedules
      Up to now it was only possible to define one backup schedule. This meant that only one backup could be started automatically per user account at a specified time.
      This restriction no longer exists. In addition, the scope and destination of each of these scheduled backups can be defined as desired.
      For example, you can specify that your websites and databases are backed up once a week, your e-mails once a day, and your entire database once a month.

    • Technical background
      In the background, KeyHelp works with the backup software Restic - a powerful, modern, secure, lightweight and free solution for creating backups.
      The software Rclone is used to transfer data to the remote backup storage.

    • Other features
      With the help of the Restic documentation, you may discover other features that may be of interest to you. For example, Restic offers the possibility to mount a backup repository like a regular file system. Afterwards, you can navigate in it like on a regular file system and restore data.
      The KeyHelp toolbox (CLI command: "keyhelp-tool") will have extended commands in one of the upcoming KeyHelp updates to make working with a repository from the command line more convenient.

    • What happens to the old backup system
      The old backup management system will remain active for the time being. It can be used simultaneously with the new system without any restrictions.
      In perspective, however, it is planned to remove it from the KeyHelp management interface after a transition period. Except for possible bug fixes, the old backup system will not receive any new updates. You will be informed about the removal in time here via the KeyHelp news system. The transition period will last at least half a year.
  • Email notification system
    The email notification system has been completely redeveloped. All relevant settings are available via the modern administration interface, clearly presented.
    From here, you control which notifications you want to send and define individual message texts for each supported language.
    In addition, it is now possible to specify any SMTP server as the outgoing e-mail server for e-mail notifications.
    The data of the old system has been completely merged into the new system. You do not have to take care of anything else.
  • File Manager
    Der Datei-Manager wurde mit neuen Features und weiteren Verbesserungen ausgestattet. Es ist nun beispielsweise möglich, direkt über die Benutzeroberfläche aus Ordnern oder Dateien Archive zu erstellen. Außerdem können Dateien jetzt direkt unter Angabe einer URL in den Webspace des jeweiligen Benutzeraccounts geladen werden.
  • New translations
    Special thanks to A. Doole for translating the KeyHelp interface into Indonesian and to Lingyu for providing the Chinese translation. Also, as always, a big thank you to the translators of the other now 15 different languages in KeyHelp.
  • API
    Also the KeyHelp API received a function update. From now on a new API endpoint "/login/" is available, which allows to generate URLs to log in to the KeyHelp interface with one click. This makes it even easier to integrate KeyHelp into your own infrastructure.
    In addition, the API has been enhanced with features to facilitate the migration of users from one KeyHelp server to another. From now on, the password hashes of user / email / database / FTP accounts as well as those of the protected directories can be read out in order to be able to import them again on another KeyHelp server.
    Furthermore, the API version has been raised to version 2.0 (v2). API version 2.0 is fully backward compatible except for a change in the "/certificates/" endpoint. For details, please consult API documentation at (keyword: "API version upgrade guide"). All calls using the old API version 1.x (v1) still work. However, a change to v2 in the URL of the API call is recommended in a timely manner.

An overview of all changes can be found in the change log at:

Note for systems with Ubuntu 16

Please note that support from the operating system manufacturer has already been discontinued. KeyHelp will also no longer support this operating system with the release of KeyHelp 21.1. Systems running Ubuntu 16 will no longer receive KeyHelp updates effective immediately.

An operating system upgrade to at least Ubuntu 18.04 is mandatory to ensure your server's security in the future and to benefit from new KeyHelp features.

You can find upgrade instructions here: