rsync is a replacement for rcp that has many more features.

rsync uses the "rsync algorithm" which provides a very fast method for
bringing remote files into sync. It does this by sending just the
differences in the files across the link, without requiring that both
sets of files are present at one of the ends of the link beforehand.
At first glance this may seem impossible because the calculation of
diffs between two files normally requires local access to both

A technical report describing the rsync algorithm is included with
this package. 


Basically you use rsync just like rcp, but rsync has many additional options.

Here is a brief description of rsync usage:

Usage: rsync [OPTION]... SRC [SRC]... [USER@]HOST:DEST
  or   rsync [OPTION]... [USER@]HOST:SRC DEST
  or   rsync [OPTION]... SRC [SRC]... DEST
  or   rsync [OPTION]... [USER@]HOST::SRC [DEST]
  or   rsync [OPTION]... SRC [SRC]... [USER@]HOST::DEST
  or   rsync [OPTION]... rsync://[USER@]HOST[:PORT]/SRC [DEST]
SRC on single-colon remote HOST will be expanded by remote shell
SRC on server remote HOST may contain shell wildcards or multiple
  sources separated by space as long as they have same top-level

 -v, --verbose               increase verbosity
 -q, --quiet                 decrease verbosity
 -c, --checksum              always checksum
 -a, --archive               archive mode
 -r, --recursive             recurse into directories
 -R, --relative              use relative path names
 -b, --backup                make backups (default ~ suffix)
     --suffix=SUFFIX         override backup suffix
 -u, --update                update only (don't overwrite newer files)
 -l, --links                 preserve soft links
 -L, --copy-links            treat soft links like regular files
     --copy-unsafe-links     copy links outside the source tree
     --safe-links            ignore links outside the destination tree
 -H, --hard-links            preserve hard links
 -p, --perms                 preserve permissions
 -o, --owner                 preserve owner (root only)
 -g, --group                 preserve group
 -D, --devices               preserve devices (root only)
 -t, --times                 preserve times
 -S, --sparse                handle sparse files efficiently
 -n, --dry-run               show what would have been transferred
 -W, --whole-file            copy whole files, no incremental checks
 -x, --one-file-system       don't cross filesystem boundaries
 -B, --block-size=SIZE       checksum blocking size (default 700)
 -e, --rsh=COMMAND           specify rsh replacement
     --rsync-path=PATH       specify path to rsync on the remote machine
 -C, --cvs-exclude           auto ignore files in the same way CVS does
     --delete                delete files that don't exist on the sending side
     --delete-excluded       also delete excluded files on the receiving side
     --partial               keep partially transferred files
     --force                 force deletion of directories even if not empty
     --numeric-ids           don't map uid/gid values by user/group name
     --timeout=TIME          set IO timeout in seconds
 -I, --ignore-times          don't exclude files that match length and time
     --size-only             only use file size when determining if a file should be transferred
 -T  --temp-dir=DIR          create temporary files in directory DIR
     --compare-dest=DIR      also compare destination files relative to DIR
 -z, --compress              compress file data
     --exclude=PATTERN       exclude files matching PATTERN
     --exclude-from=FILE     exclude patterns listed in FILE
     --include=PATTERN       don't exclude files matching PATTERN
     --include-from=FILE     don't exclude patterns listed in FILE
     --version               print version number
     --daemon                run as a rsync daemon
     --config=FILE           specify alternate rsyncd.conf file
     --port=PORT             specify alternate rsyncd port number
     --stats                 give some file transfer stats
     --progress              show progress during transfer
     --log-format=FORMAT     log file transfers using specified format
     --password-file=FILE    get password from FILE
 -h, --help                  show this help screen


Rsync uses rsh or ssh for communication. It does not need to be setuid
and requires no special privileges for installation. It does not
require a inetd entry or a daemon. You must, however, have a working
rsh or ssh system. Using ssh is recommended for its security

To install rsync, first run the "configure" script. This will create a
Makefile and config.h appropriate for your system. Then type

Note that on some systems you will have to force configure not to use
gcc because gcc may not support some features (such as 64 bit file
offsets) that your system may support. Set the environment variable CC
to the name of your native compiler before running configure in this

Once built put a copy of rsync in your search path on the local and
remote systems (or use "make install"). That's it!


rsync can also talk to "rsync servers" which can provide anonymous or
authenticated rsync. See the rsyncd.conf(5) man page for details on how
to setup a rsync server. See the rsync(1) man page for info on how to
connect to a rsync server.


There is a mailing list for the discussion of rsync and its
applications. It is open to anyone to join. I will announce new
versions on this list. 

To join the mailing list send mail to with
no subject and a body of "subscribe rsync Your Name".

To send mail to everyone on the list send it to


If you have web access then please look at 

This will give you access to the bug tracking system used by the
developers of rsync and will allow you to look at other bug reports or
submit a new bug report.

If you don't have web access then mail bug reports to or (if you think it will be of interest to lots
of people) send it to


If you want to get the very latest version of rsync direct from the
source code repository then you can use anonymous cvs. You will need a
recent version of cvs then use the following commands:

	cvs -d login
	Password: cvs

	cvs -d co rsync

Look at the cvs documentation for more details.


Rsync was written by Andrew Tridgell and Paul Mackerras, and is
available under the Gnu Public License.


The main web site for rsync is
The main ftp site is
This is also available as rsync://