How to backup Presearch Node?

By Aakasha | AakashaBlogs | 4 Dec 2021


How to safely back up Presearch VPS node security key

I should be finishing another writing assignment about now, but then I couldn't contain my excitement at successfully backing up my Presearch node security keys. So here I am, eager to share how I did it! It is a pretty straightforward activity. Nevertheless, I had to (p)research a little to find the optimum method for my system configuration. I found this tutorial by Modo Tech particularly useful as he explained the process clearly, although I did not follow all the steps. There are alternative ways of doing this. This post is for those who found that the steps provided in the official channel did not work for them. 

What is Presearch?

If you are reading this post, chances are you already know what Presearch is, so you can skip directly to the section 'Steps to back up the node security keys'. However, if you are new and wondering what this is about, here's a little about it.

Founded and launched in 2017, Presearch is a decentralized, privacy focused search engine powered by blockchain. A network of nodes run by community members fuels it to handle and anonymize search queries. PRE is the native token used to compensate the node operators for their service. It also serves to reward early adopters who use the search engine. New users can get 25 PRE tokens on signing up with a referral code. The project saw a surge in users once it became the default search engine on all Android phones in Europe.

Why backup?

If you have a staked node supporting the project, you should back up your security keys. The foremost reason for that is to preserve the grandfathered status of your node. In October, the minimum requirement for PRE staking increased to 2000 PRE, although older ones got grandfathered in at 1000 PRE. This status is subject to maintaining the stake. If you lose access to your server or your computer or Raspberry Pi breaks down, you lose your grandfathered status unless you can restore a saved version.

There could also be another change in the minimum staking amount, or as the ecosystem grows, the reward mechanism is also subject to change. So it makes sense to hold on to the current stake and reliability score to avoid unwanted losses.

Steps to back up the node security keys

Let us now get to how I did it. I have a Windows 10 computer, so these instructions are for Putty. Mac users will need to do this on Terminal, and the steps will be a little different. The server I am running is an Ubuntu 20.04.

  • Open Putty and log into your server. Run the following commands:
  • $mkdir -p presearch-node-(identity)-backup
  • $sudo docker cp presearch-node:/app/node/.keys presearch-node-(identity)-backup/.keys
  • $ cd presearch-node-(identity)-backup/.keys (copy directory)
  • You should have the keys backed up now. Check by running the command:
  • ls presearch-node-identity-backup/.keys


  • ls -al presearch-node-identity-backup/.keys
  • The next step is to save it locally. I downloaded WinSCP for that. It's a free, open-source tool with a graphical interface that makes transferring files securely from a remote server to a local computer as easy as pie.
  • Launch the WinSCP once installed, and it will ask for your username. It will be the same as your server username.
  • Once logged in, you should see the desktop and the server folders side by side.

WinSCP Home Page

  • Copy from the server and save it locally into any secure folder.
  • Close the session and exit from WinSCP.

That's it! You have safely backed up your node keys, and you can restore them as needed. If you run more than one server, you will need to do this one by one for all of them. An easy way to do this for multiple servers has been described by Community Moderator nabeards here. I haven't had to restore it yet, but I hope the official instructions will do the magic. I shall post an update in the future if I get to it.


Presearch Privacy Engine - Get Paid to search

Dear Reader, did you find this article helpful? Go ahead and let me know in the comments. Show your love by adding a tip or a like! Your support encourages me to keep writing. 

Do give Presearch a try if you haven't already. It is a project I am very enthusiastic about and I feel anyone who cares about privacy will love it. If you like, you can use my referral link to sign up and get 25 tokens and I'll get the same too at no cost to you.

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