This article originally appeared quite some time ago. But for some
unknown reason, it was lost from the indexes. I've just come back to upgrade it with
some new error observations.
We now return you to your regularly
rsync is an amazing and powerful tool for moving files around. I know
of people that use it for file transfers, keeping dns server records up-to-date, and
along with sshd to remote restart the services when rsync reports a file change
(how they do that, I don't know, I'm just told they do it).
This article describes how you can use rsync to synchronize file trees.
In this case, I'm using two websites to make sure one is a backup of the other. As
an example, I'll be making sure that one box contains the same files as the other box in
case I need to put the backup box into production, should a failure occur.
rsync can be used in six different ways, as documented in man rsync:
for copying local files. This is invoked when neither source nor destination path contains a :
for copying from the local machine to a remote
machine using a remote shell program as the transport (such as rsh or ssh). This is invoked when the
destination path contains a single : separator.
for copying from a remote machine to the local
machine using a remote shell program. This is
invoked when the source contains a : separator.
for copying from a remote rsync server to the local
machine. This is invoked when the source path contains a :: separator or a rsync:// URL.
for copying from the local machine to a remote
rsync server. This is invoked when the destination
path contains a :: separator.
for listing files on a remote machine. This is done
the same way as rsync transfers except that you
leave off the local destination.
I'll only be looking at copying from a remote rsync server (4) to a local machine and when using a remote shell program (2).
This was an easy port to install (aren't they all, for the most part?).
Remember, I have the entire ports tree, so I did this:
# cd /usr/ports/net/rsync
# make install
If you don't have the ports tree installed, you have a bit more work to do.... As far as I know,
you need rsync installed on both client and server, although you do not need to be running rsyncd
unless you are connecting via method 4.
Setting up the server
In this example, we're going to be using a remote rsync server (4).
On the production web server, I created the /usr/local/etc/rsyncd.conf
file. The contents is based on man rsyncd.conf.
uid = rsync
gid = rsync
use chroot = no
max connections = 4
syslog facility = local5
pid file = /var/run/rsyncd.pid
path = /usr/local/websites/
comment = all of the websites
You'll note that I'm running rsync as rsync:rsync. I added
lines to vipw and /etc/group to reflect the new user. Something like
I also wanted deleted server files to be deleted on the client. So I did this:
rsync -avz --delete ducky::www /home/dan/test
Of course, you can combine all of these arguments to suit your needs.
I found the --stats option interesting:
Number of files: 2707
Number of files transferred: 0
Total file size: 16022403 bytes
Total transferred file size: 0 bytes
Literal data: 0 bytes
Matched data: 0 bytes
File list size: 44388
Total bytes written: 132
Total bytes read: 44465
My transfers are occur on a trusted network and I'm not worried about
the contents of the transfer being observed. However, you can use ssh as the transfer medium by using the following command:
rsync -e ssh -avz ducky:www test
Note that this differs from the previous example in that you have only one : (colon) not two as in
the previous example. See man rsync for details. In this example, we will be grabbing the contents
of ~/www from host ducky using our existing user login. The contents of the remote directory will be
synchronized with the local directory test.
Here I supplied the wrong password and I didn't specify the user ID. I suspect it
used my login. A check of the man page confirmed this. This was my next
attempt. You can see that I added the user name before the host, ducky..
$ rsync -e ssh -avz --delete susan@ducky:www /home/dan/test
receiving file list ... done
wrote 132 bytes read 44465 bytes 1982.09 bytes/sec
total size is 16022403 speedup is 359.27
In this case, nothing was transferred as I'd already done several successful rsyncs.
The next section deals with how to use a password in batch mode.
Do it on a regular basis
There's no sense in having an rsync set up if you aren't going to
use it on a regular basis. In order to use rsync from a cron job, you should supply
the password in a non-world readable file. I put my password in /home/dan/test/rsync.password.
Remember to chmod 640 that password file!
I put the command into a
script file (rsync.sh), which looks like this:
If you want to use ssh as your transport medium, I suggest using using the authorized_keys
I think rsync is one of the most powerful tools I've seen for
transferring files around a network and the Internet. It is just so powerful! Although
I actually use cvsup to publish the Diary, I am still impressed with rsync.
It took me a while to understand the problem. It's a read issue. rsyncd
didn't have permission to read the files in question. You can either make rsynd
run as a different user, or change the permissions on the files.
If you get the user id for rsync wrong, you'll see this error: