Configuration Backup to GitHub


Backing up and regularly syncing your Home Assistant configuration to GitHub has several benefits:

  • A remote copy of your Home Assistant YAML files in case you need to recover
  • A documented history of your changes for troubleshooting purposes
  • It will help the Home Assistant community learn from your configuration examples

This is not a comprehensive tutorial on using GitHub, more information can be found in the GitHub Help pages. This guide assumes the user has an intermediate experience level and is comfortable with such concepts as: navigating the Home Assistant directory structure, logging in as the Home Assistant user, and working with the command line.

This will not create a full backup of your Home Assistant files or your OS. In addition to backing up to Github, you should consider having regular backups of all your Home Assistant configuration files and images of your SD card if applicable.

Important Best Practices

Some best practices to consider before putting your configuration on GitHub:

  • Extensive use of secrets.yaml to hide sensitive information like usernames, passwords, device information, and location
  • Exclusion of some files, including secrets.yaml and device-specific information using a .gitignore file
  • Regularly commiting your configuration to GitHub to make sure that your backup is up to date
  • Use a README.md to document your configuration and include screenshots of your Home Assistant GUI

Step 1: Installing and Initializing Git

In order to put your configuration on GitHub, you must install the git package on your Home Assistant server (instructions below will work on Raspberry Pi, Ubunutu, or any Debian-based system):

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install git

Step 2: Creating .gitignore

Before creating and pushing your Home Assistant configuration to GitHub, please make sure to follow the secrets.yaml best practice mentioned above and scrub your configuration for any passwords or sensitive information.

Creating a .gitignore file in your repository will tell git which files NOT to push to the GitHub server. This should be used to prevent publishing sensitive files to the public. It should contain a list of filenames and pattern matches. This list should include at least your secrets.yaml file, device configuration files, and the Home Assistant database/directory structure. The .gitignore file should be placed in your Home Assistant directory.

Here is a sane example, but yours should be based on the files in your structure:

.gitignore

*.pid
*.xml
*.csr
*.crt
*.key
www
OZW_Log.txt
home-assistant.log
home-assistant_v2.db
*.db-journal
lib
deps
tts
secrets.yaml
known_devices.yaml
*.conf
plex.conf
phue.conf
harmony_media_room.conf
pyozw.sqlite
.*
!/.gitignore
html5_push_registrations.conf
ip_bans.yaml
/icloud/*

More information on the layout of the file can be found in the .gitignore manual.

Step 3: Preparing your Home Assistant directory for GitHub

In your Home Assistant directory, type the following commands as the Home Assistant user, replacing the email address and name with your information:

$ git init
$ git config user.email "[email protected]"
$ git config user.name "Your Name"
$ git add .
$ git commit

After the git commit command, you will be asked to enter a message for the commit. This will add a comment beside each file on GitHub describing the purpose for the commit. In this case, you can enter something like “Initial commit of my Home Assistant configuration.”

Step 4: Creating Repository on GitHub

  • Connect to GitHub and login to your account (or create an account if you don’t already have one).
  • Click “New Repository” and give your repository a name/description (Home-AssistantConfig is used in the example below). You do NOT need to change any other options.
  • Click “Create Repository”

Step 5: Your initial commit to GitHub

Once you are sure you are using secrets.yaml and .gitignore correctly, it is time to push your configuration to the GitHub Repository that you just created.

In your Home Assistant directory, type the following commands as the Home Assistant user, replacing “username” in the URL with your GitHub username:

$ git remote add origin https://github.com/username/Home-AssistantConfig
$ git push -u origin master

You will be asked to enter your GitHub username and password (or ssh key passphrase if you use GitHub with ssh).

Congratulations, you now have a copy of your current Home Assistant Configuration on GitHub!

Step 6: Keeping your repository up to date

You should update your repository on a regular basis; ideally after you make a major configuration change (new device, new component, etc.). The below script will update your repository with any changed configuration files and allow you to add a comment with the commit for tracking purposes:

You may need to adjust the paths in the script depending on your Home Assistant configuration.

gitupdate.sh

#!/bin/bash

cd /home/homeassistant/.homeassistant
source /srv/homeassistant/homeassistant_venv/bin/activate
hass --script check_config

git add .
git status
echo -n "Enter the Description for the Change: " [Minor Update]
read CHANGE_MSG
git commit -m "${CHANGE_MSG}"
git push origin master

exit

Every time you run this script, you will be prompted for a comment to describe the change(s) that you are commiting. This comment will be displayed beside each changed file on GitHub and will be stored after each commit. You will also be asked to enter your GitHub username and password (or ssh key passphrase if you use GitHub with ssh).

Step 7: Configuration file testing

Travis CI is a continuous integration testing system that runs every time the code in your repository is updated and allows you to validate that your code works on a fresh install.

  • Authorise Travis CI to have access to your github repos.
  • Create the build script that travis will run to test your repo.
  • Create a dummy secrets.yaml for Travis.

Example .travis.yml

language: python
python:
  - "3.4"
before_install:
  - mv travis_secrets.yaml secrets.yaml
install:
  - pip3 install homeassistant
script:
  - hass -c . --script check_config

Since the secrets.yaml should not be stored in your repo for security reasons, you won’t be able to access it at build time. Creating a dummy secrets.yaml is as simple as creating a new file that mimics your existing secrets.yaml with the required keys, but not their value.

#travis_secrets.yaml
http_api: 000000000000000000000000
home_latitude: 00.00000
home_longitude: 00.0000
home_elevation: 0

Extra commands

You can enter these commands to get a list of the files in your local git repository and a status of files that have changed but not commited yet:

$ git ls-files
$ git status

Examples:

[email protected]:~/.homeassistant $ git ls-files
.gitignore
README.md
automation.yaml
configuration.yaml
customize.yaml
device_tracker.yaml
group.yaml
script.yaml

[email protected]:~/.homeassistant $ git status
On branch master
Your branch is up-to-date with 'origin/master'.
Changes not staged for commit:
  (use "git add <file>..." to update what will be committed)
  (use "git checkout -- <file>..." to discard changes in working directory)

        modified:   .gitignore
        modified:   automation.yaml
        modified:   customize.yaml
        modified:   group.yaml

no changes added to commit (use "git add" and/or "git commit -a")