For peace of mind you always need to backup data. There three aspects of full backup:

  • media directory

  • database

  • application version

If all you want is to just to ensure safe copy of you documents then all you need to do is to backup media directory. If you want to create full snapshot (i.e you want to be able to restore full application state from specific moment in past) then you need media directory backup + database backup + Papermerge version of that specific moment in time.

Media Directory

Media directory is place where Papermerge application saves all your original documents and their derivatives (extracted text, images etc). By backing up your media directory - you ensure your documents are safe.

Media directory is configured with media_dir setting. By default it is a folder named “media” in of same directory where papermerge project was cloned.


media_dir has two subfolders docs and results. media_dir/docs is place where original documents are uploaded - it is the location you want to ensure is regularely backed up. Media directory configuration is pure Django webframework thing; in Django it is called MEDIA_ROOT


Papermerge never overwrites or renames original uploads!, in that sense, Papermerge is non-destructive DMS. Every time you perform changes on document, like moving pages around a new document version is created, thus keeping original document version intact.


Another important part of whole backup picture - is backing up your Papermerge database. In database, Papermerge stores information like user related informations, documents’ metadata, documents’ tags etc.


Uploaded documents are NOT stored in database! Uploaded files are stored (by default) on local filesystem. In general, binary files are never stored in databases.

Basically with database backup you can restore “the state” of Papermerge application.

Application Version

If you want to restore Papermerge backups you need to know for what application version that backup is. This is why it is a good idea to append Papermerge application version to your backup archives.

Backup Utility

Papermerge is shipped with backup command line utility. You can run it from project current directory:

$ ./ backup

That command will backup all your documents with preserved directory structure (it will backup documents of all users).


provided backup utility does not backup tags and metadata information.

In order to restore backup:

$ ./ restore <path-to-tar-file>