Beginner Rsync

Rsync comes pre-installed on many systems including Red Hat, Ubuntu and Solaris. Rsync is a useful tool for performing remote backups. It is very efficient as it only backs up the changes or differences in tany changed files rather than the whole file.


In this example you can use rsync to perform a backup from your local system to another location on your local system. This could be used to back up files onto a mounted filesystem or another hard disk. It is similar to the copy (cp) command but more efficient.

rsync -av /home/jonny/temp/source/ /home/jonny/temp/destination

The 'a' option is for all files and 'v' is for verbose. I have a trailing slash on the source directory otherwise the rsync command will create a directory


rather than



 To backup a directory from a local machine to a remote machine asecure shell account is needed on the remote machine and the command for a remote machine named 'barney' would be:

rsync -a –delete -e ssh /home/jonny/temp/rsync/source/ jonny@barney:/home/jonny/rsync/ 

The delete option ensures that any files deleted in the source directory will be deleted in the remote directory. This ensures you keep a mirrored backup without the junk. On logging in you are asked for your password on the remote system.



To schedule backups on a *nix system you would obviously use Cron.

crontab -e 

An add an entry for your backup e.g.

10 2 * * * /usr/bin/rsync -a --delete /home/jonny/source/ destination/

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>