Ignoring Files and Folders in Snapshots

Ignoring Files and Folders in Snapshots

Users may want to exclude folders and files not to be saved within the repository when creating snapshots. The benefits of omitting unnecessary files and folders are smaller and faster snapshots while saving only essential data.

Kopia uses pattern-based ignore rules to omit folders and files from snapshots. While scanning directories and their content, Kopia looks explicitly for files that contain such rules. If such a file is placed within a directory, Kopia omits files and folders matching the rules.

NOTE The default file is called .kopiaignore. However, ignore rules can be specified within the global or snapshot-specific policy - either directly or by providing a path to file containing such rules.

In the following, we explain different rules and provide examples to create .kopiaignore files.

Kopiaignore Files

Let us start with an example directory that contains the following files and folders:


The above directory consists of a bunch of tex files, figures, and temporary files. Generally, a .kopiaignore file is a simple text file where each line represents a single rule. To only save the essential files, we create the following .kopiaignore file:

# Ignoring all files that end with ".dat"

# Ignoring all files and folders within the "thesis/logs" directory

# Ignoring "tmp.db" files within the whole directory

The example above contains three simple rules to exclude files and folders from a snapshot and some comments. Each line that begins with a # is a comment and can be used to describe the rule.

  • The first rule, *.dat contains a wildcard and ignores all files with a filename that ends with .dat.
  • The second rule, /logs/* ignores all files within the logs directory. Only the logs directory at the root will be ignored as the rule begins with a /.
  • The third rule, tmp.db ignores the corresponding files within the whole directory. In our example both tmp.db files will be ignored.

The example shows that excluding files using .kopiaignore from a snapshot is easy. However, there is also the risk of accidentally excluding files when creating rule - leading to incomplete snapshots or data loss.

Supported Patterns

Kopia supports a lot of different operators allowing users to precisely exclude unnecessary files or folders. The following table shows special operators used to generate rules.

Special Operator Explanation
# Comment that is ignored by Kopia
! Negates a following rule
* Wildcard that matches any character zero or multiple times
** Double Wildcard that matches zero or multiple directories
? Matches any character exactly one time
[0-9] Matches any single number between 0 and 9
[a-z] Matches any single character between a and z
[A-Z] Matches any single character between A and Z
[abc] Matches one of a, b, or c
/ Matches a following rule only at the root directory

Examples of Kopiaignore Rules

The following table provides some example rules related to our example. Files and folders that match the given rules are excluded from the snapshot.

Rule Explanation Matches Ignores
logs Matches files and folders that are named logs thesis/logs/ thesis/chapters/logs/ 2 directories, 6 files
/logs Matches files and folders that are named logs only within the parent directory thesis/logs/ 1 directory, 5 files
*.db Matches files with extension .db (…) thesis/tmp.db thesis/logs/log.db 0 directories, 5 files
*.db* Matches files with extension .db followed by any other number or character (…) thesis/tmp.db thesis/logs/tmp.dba 0 directories, 6 files
**/logs/** Matches all occurences of logs within the thesis and sub-directories (…) thesis/logs/ thesis/chapters/logs/ 2 directories, 6 files
chapters/**/*.log Matches all files with extension .log in all sub-directories within chapters thesis/chapters/logs/chapter.log 0 directores, 1 file
*.* Matches all files in thesis (…) thesis/ thesis/tmp.db 5 directories, 17 files (all)
!*.* Matches no files in thesis - 0 directories, 0 files
[a-z]?tmp.db Matches files beginning with characters between a and z, followed by a single character, ending with tmp.db thesis/abtmp.db 0 directories, 1 file
?tmp.db Matches files with exactly one character ending with tmp.db thesis/atmp.db 0 directories, 1 file
[a-z]*tmp.db Matches files beginning with characters between a and z, followed by zero or multiple characters, ending with tmp.db thesis/abtmp.db thesis/atmp.db thesis/logs/tmp.db 0 directories, 3 files

NOTE Make sure that you have tested your .kopiaignore file and the resulting snapshot for correctness. If a file or folder is missing, you will need to adjust the rules to your needs.

Last modified July 13, 2023: docs(site): fix typo (#3144) (9f6b86ff)