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I'd like to run a simple tar command to backup my website directory. It will run through cron, but I want to be able to put the time at which the backup was made as the filename. I don't really mind what format it's in, but something vaguely readable would be good. I'm just looking for a generic command; a way of putting the date in the filename - I can do the rest of the tar stuff.

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up vote 12 down vote accepted
tar cfz backup-$(date +%Y-%m-%d).tar.gz ...

man strftime or man date to see what %-escapes can be used with date.

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Thank you :-) I found the date thingy before, but couldn't get it to work for some reason. Geekosaur saves the day! – Bojangles Mar 11 '11 at 19:11
This may be specific to which date command variant you use, but this probably does the same thing with a few less characters: tar cfz backup-$(date +%F).tar.gz ... – rich Apr 26 '14 at 17:31

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