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rsync is a Linux command-line application for synchronizing (i.e. making sure both copies have the latest versions of all files) a directory tree between two machines.

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Related Pages

user pages

  • user:Woozle/rsync: full command, showing actual options we use, including machine names


Copy a directory structure from relsource on machine to reldest on the local machine:

rsync -Pav user@machine:relsource reldest
  • a is for 'archive', which is short for pr which are 'preserve' and 'recursive'
    • p ('preserve') preserves timestamps, permissions, etc.
  • v is for 'verbose', which means it tells you what it's doing
  • P is for 'progress' and 'partial', which allows for resuming an incomplete copy


  • To keep files in sync in both directions, you have to run rsync in both directions as well; there is no single command to synchronize two directory trees.
  • This probably does not also remove destination files deleted from the source.
  • To use rsync in an automated script (e.g. for backups), see keyed login for password-less operation.
  • Tentatively, to delete source files after copying to target, use --remove-source-files.


How To