Vultr Data Portability Guide

Published on: Mon, May 14, 2018 at 3:48 pm EST
Desktop Guides FAQ System Admin

How can I download my cloud data from Vultr?

Data portability on the Vultr platform

We provide a number of simple solutions for you to download your instance's stored data, whether from a VPS, Bare Metal Server, or Block Storage volume. Most of the following tools are built right in to the OS you are currently using, as well as the OS deployed on your Vultr instance. Others can be installed relatively simply via a package manager, or downloaded via the software developer's site directly.

You can leverage many common file transfer tools in order to download data stored within your deployment, or Block Storage volume. Below we provide a list of tutorials that cover a number of methods that you can implement to serve this purpose.

Linux/BSD/Nix-like OS


Vultr Linux VPS have SFTP (Secure FTP) enabled by default. SFTP combines the functions of FTP with the security of SSH to provide a more secure way to transfer files. Traditional FTP does not encrypt its data which makes it insecure for use over the internet. The majority of FTP client software will support SFTP directly.

Using the sftp command, in order to directly transfer files via an SSH session:

You can use the sftp command available on MacOS, Linux, or Windows with BASH support in order to transfer files to/from your instance. Some common command constructions are as follows:

  • Default SSH Port (22): sftp user@domain_address_or_IP
  • Custom SSH Port: sftp -oPort=portnumber user@domain_address_or_IP

Once connected, instead of the typical SSH prompt, you will be presented with the SFTP prompt. Running many common file system navigation and manipulation commmands will work as expected. ie: cd ls cp mv chown chmod df pwd

  • Retrieving a file: get /path/to/remotefile /path/to/localfile
  • Retrieving a directory: get -r /path/to/directory
  • Retrieving a file or directory while maintaining permissions: get -Pr /path/to/file_or_directory

You can also run help to see more specific help for sftp commands.

Using Filezilla - A GUI tool to transfer files via SFTP/SCP:

Macintosh & Linux computers include a command line text SFTP client by default. Some versions of Windows do not include SFTP client software by default, in this case you will need to install a separate client. One of the most popular clients for this task is FileZilla.

A guide for using Filezilla to connect via SFTP can be found in our community documentation here.


Using the rsync command, in order to synchronize directories across a network:

The rsync command allows for remote synchronization of directories on two or more Linux systems. First, you will need install the rsync package on both machines, and make sure that you've set up private key authentication.

  • Syncing a directory from a remote server: rsync -avrt --delete --rsh='ssh -p 22' user@domain_address_or_IP:/path/to/directory/ /path/to/localdirectory

You can also include a command such as the above in a crontab for automated synchronization.

Windows Server

RDP File Transfer

Vultr Windows VPS are configured with Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) enabled. All current versions of Windows include the Microsoft RDP client. Microsoft's instructions for using the built-in RDP client are available via Microsoft's Documentation.

Macintosh & Linux PCs do not include RDP by default. You would need to install a separate RDP client. Most Linux distributions will have a client available in their software repositories. Common clients for Mac are the Microsoft RDP client and CoRD. Common clients for Linux are rdesktop, krdc, and Remmina.

Any OS, or Special Cases When the OS is Inaccessible

Using a live ISO recovery environment via a tool such as Finnix

Because we allow for custom ISO mounting, you can even recover data from an instance that otherwise is unbootable, for example due to OS corruption, or misconfigured boot options. You can mount any number of live Linux OS options from our Public ISO Library, or upload any ISO that you prefer. Once your instance is booted to a Live ISO recovery environment, you can mount the system volume and move data via RSYNC/SFTP.

Block Storage

Retrieving files by mounting a Block Storage volume

You can recover files from Block Storage volume by attaching it to a new, or existing deployment. A Block Storage volume can even be detached from one instance, and then re-attached to another.

These steps assume that the Block Storage volume has already been formatted and contains data that you would like to recover. For information about formatting a new Block Storage volume, please see our Block Storage documentation.

Once you have attached the volume via your portal, you can then mount the volume via the following steps:

Linux - First create a mountpoint, if one does not yet exist, with the mkdir /mnt/blockstorage command. You can then mount the volume with the mount /dev/vdb1 /mnt/blockstorage command. Once the volume is mounted, you can use any of the above Linux/BSD/Nix-like OS instructions for file retrieval.

Windows - Once you've attached a Block Storage volume via the portal, it should automatically appear as a second drive in the OS. You can access the files, and then download them via RDP file transfer or other configured means.

Snapshots & Backups

The importance of implementing a sound backup strategy

We offer both manual Snapshots and Automated Backups for VPS instances deployed on the Vultr platform. It is strongly recommended that you leverage these features to ensure that your data is backed up for restoration, file retrieval, and VM replication purposes.

It is important that you back up all mission critical data in accordance with your local laws and organizational policies.

While Snapshots and Backups cannot be downloaded directly, a quick deployment of a temporary instance will allow you access to any data that the Snapshot or Backup contains. Downloading data from a snapshot or Backup is as simple as deploying the stored Snapshot or Backup to a new instance, and then using one of the above methods for recovery of your files, dependent upon your Snapshot's installed OS.

As your instance is running a full OS, over which you have complete administrative control, you are also welcome to use third party backup options such as R1Soft, Bacula, or similar as well.

SSH Public Keys

Removing SSH Public Keys

If you have chosen to add your SSH public key to Vultr for easy access to your server, you can remove it any time by using the delete button located at the SSH Key Control Panel

It is important to note that once you remove your SSH public key from our control panel, it will still be active on any servers that it has already been deployed to.

Want to contribute?

You could earn up to $300 by adding new articles