rsyncd.conf - configuration file for rsync in daemon mode
The rsyncd.conf file is the runtime configuration file for rsync
when run as an rsync daemon.
The rsyncd.conf file controls authentication, access, logging and
The file consists of modules and parameters. A module begins with
the name of the module in square brackets and continues until the next
module begins. Modules contain parameters of the form 'name = value'.
The file is line-based -- that is, each newline-terminated line
represents either a comment, a module name or a parameter.
Only the first equals sign in a parameter is significant.
Whitespace before or after the first equals sign is discarded. Leading,
trailing and internal whitespace in module and parameter names is
irrelevant. Leading and trailing whitespace in a parameter value is
discarded. Internal whitespace within a parameter value is retained
Any line beginning with a hash (#) is ignored, as are lines
containing only whitespace.
Any line ending in a \ is "continued" on the next line
in the customary UNIX fashion.
The values following the equals sign in parameters are all either
a string (no quotes needed) or a boolean, which may be given as yes/no, 0/1
or true/false. Case is not significant in boolean values, but is preserved
in string values.
The rsync daemon is launched by specifying the --daemon
option to rsync.
The daemon must run with root privileges if you wish to use
chroot, to bind to a port numbered under 1024 (as is the default 873), or to
set file ownership. Otherwise, it must just have permission to read and
write the appropriate data, log, and lock files.
You can launch it either via inetd, as a stand-alone daemon, or
from an rsync client via a remote shell. If run as a stand-alone daemon then
just run the command "rsync --daemon" from a suitable
When run via inetd you should add a line like this to
and a single line something like this to /etc/inetd.conf:
rsync stream tcp nowait root /usr/bin/rsync rsyncd --daemon
Replace "/usr/bin/rsync" with the path to where you have
rsync installed on your system. You will then need to send inetd a HUP
signal to tell it to reread its config file.
Note that you should not send the rsync daemon a HUP signal
to force it to reread the rsyncd.conf file. The file
is re-read on each client connection.
The first parameters in the file (before a [module] header) are
the global parameters.
You may also include any module parameters in the global part of
the config file in which case the supplied value will override the default
for that parameter.
- motd file
- The "motd file" option allows you to specify a "message of
the day" to display to clients on each connect. This usually contains
site information and any legal notices. The default is no motd file.
- pid file
- The "pid file" option tells the rsync daemon to write its
process ID to that file.
- You can override the default port the daemon will listen on by specifying
this value (defaults to 873). This is ignored if the daemon is being run
by inetd, and is superseded by the --port command-line option.
- You can override the default IP address the daemon will listen on by
specifying this value. This is ignored if the daemon is being run by
inetd, and is superseded by the --address command-line option.
- This option can provide endless fun for people who like to tune their
systems to the utmost degree. You can set all sorts of socket options
which may make transfers faster (or slower!). Read the man page for the
setsockopt() system call for details on some of
the options you may be able to set. By default no special socket options
are set. These settings are superseded by the --sockopts
After the global options you should define a number of modules,
each module exports a directory tree as a symbolic name. Modules are
exported by specifying a module name in square brackets [module] followed by
the options for that module.
- The "comment" option specifies a description string that is
displayed next to the module name when clients obtain a list of available
modules. The default is no comment.
- The "path" option specifies the directory in the daemon's
filesystem to make available in this module. You must specify this option
for each module in rsyncd.conf.
- use chroot
- If "use chroot" is true, the rsync daemon will chroot to the
"path" before starting the file transfer with the client. This
has the advantage of extra protection against possible implementation
security holes, but it has the disadvantages of requiring super-user
privileges, of not being able to follow symbolic links that are either
absolute or outside of the new root path, and of complicating the
preservation of users and groups by name (see below). When "use
chroot" is false, rsync will: (1) munge symlinks by default for
security reasons (see "munge symlinks" for a way to turn this
off, but only if you trust your users), (2) substitute leading slashes in
absolute paths with the module's path (so that options such as
--backup-dir, --compare-dest, etc. interpret an absolute
path as rooted in the module's "path" dir), and (3) trim
".." path elements from args if rsync believes they would escape
the chroot. The default for "use chroot" is true, and is the
safer choice (especially if the module is not read-only).
- When this option is enabled, rsync will not attempt to map users and
groups by name (by default), but instead copy IDs as though
--numeric-ids had been specified. In order to enable name-mapping,
rsync needs to be able to use the standard library functions for looking
up names and IDs (i.e. getpwuid() ,
getgrgid() , getpwname() ,
and getgrnam() ). This means the rsync process in
the chroot hierarchy will need to have access to the resources used by
these library functions (traditionally /etc/passwd and /etc/group, but
perhaps additional dynamic libraries as well).
- If you copy the necessary resources into the module's chroot area, you
should protect them through your OS's normal user/group or ACL settings
(to prevent the rsync module's user from being able to change them), and
then hide them from the user's view via "exclude" (see how in
the discussion of that option). At that point it will be safe to enable
the mapping of users and groups by name using the "numeric ids"
daemon option (see below).
- Note also that you are free to setup custom user/group information in the
chroot area that is different from your normal system. For example, you
could abbreviate the list of users and groups.
- Enabling the "numeric ids" option disables the mapping of users
and groups by name for the current daemon module. This prevents the daemon
from trying to load any user/group-related files or libraries. Enabling
this option makes the transfer behave as if the client had passed the
--numeric-ids command-line option. By default, this parameter is
enabled for chroot modules and disabled for non-chroot modules.
- A chroot-enabled module should not have this option enabled unless you've
taken steps to ensure that the module has the necessary resources it needs
to translate names, and that it is not possible for a user to change those
- The "munge symlinks" option tells rsync to modify all incoming
symlinks in a way that makes them unusable but recoverable (see below).
This should help protect your files from user trickery when your daemon
module is writable. The default is disabled when "use chroot" is
on and enabled when "use chroot" is off.
- If you disable this option on a daemon that is not read-only, there are
tricks that a user can play with uploaded symlinks to access
daemon-excluded items (if your module has any), and, if "use
chroot" is off, rsync can even be tricked into showing or changing
data that is outside the module's path (as access-permissions allow).
- The way rsync disables the use of symlinks is to prefix each one with the
string "/rsyncd-munged/". This prevents the links from being
used as long as that directory does not exist. When this option is
enabled, rsync will refuse to run if that path is a directory or a symlink
to a directory. When using the "munge symlinks" option in a
chroot area, you should add this path to the exclude setting for the
module so that the user can't try to create it.
- Note: rsync makes no attempt to verify that any pre-existing symlinks in
the hierarchy are as safe as you want them to be. If you setup an rsync
daemon on a new area or locally add symlinks, you can manually protect
your symlinks from being abused by prefixing "/rsyncd-munged/"
to the start of every symlink's value. There is a perl script in the
support directory of the source code named "munge-symlinks" that
can be used to add or remove this prefix from your symlinks.
- When this option is disabled on a writable module and "use
chroot" is off, incoming symlinks will be modified to drop a leading
slash and to remove ".." path elements that rsync believes will
allow a symlink to escape the module's hierarchy. There are tricky ways to
work around this, though, so you had better trust your users if you choose
this combination of options.
- max connections
- The "max connections" option allows you to specify the maximum
number of simultaneous connections you will allow. Any clients connecting
when the maximum has been reached will receive a message telling them to
try later. The default is 0 which means no limit. See also the "lock
- log file
- When the "log file" option is set to a non-empty string, the
rsync daemon will log messages to the indicated file rather than using
syslog. This is particularly useful on systems (such as AIX) where
syslog() doesn't work for chrooted programs. The
file is opened before chroot() is called, allowing
it to be placed outside the transfer. If this value is set on a per-module
basis instead of globally, the global log will still contain any
authorization failures or config-file error messages.
- If the daemon fails to open to specified file, it will fall back to using
syslog and output an error about the failure. (Note that the failure to
open the specified log file used to be a fatal error.)
- The "syslog facility" option allows you to specify the syslog
facility name to use when logging messages from the rsync daemon. You may
use any standard syslog facility name which is defined on your system.
Common names are auth, authpriv, cron, daemon, ftp, kern, lpr, mail, news,
security, syslog, user, uucp, local0, local1, local2, local3, local4,
local5, local6 and local7. The default is daemon. This setting has no
effect if the "log file" setting is a non-empty string (either
set in the per-modules settings, or inherited from the global
- The "max verbosity" option allows you to control the maximum
amount of verbose information that you'll allow the daemon to generate
(since the information goes into the log file). The default is 1, which
allows the client to request one level of verbosity.
- lock file
- The "lock file" option specifies the file to use to support the
"max connections" option. The rsync daemon uses record locking
on this file to ensure that the max connections limit is not exceeded for
the modules sharing the lock file. The default is
- read only
- The "read only" option determines whether clients will be able
to upload files or not. If "read only" is true then any
attempted uploads will fail. If "read only" is false then
uploads will be possible if file permissions on the daemon side allow
them. The default is for all modules to be read only.
- write only
- The "write only" option determines whether clients will be able
to download files or not. If "write only" is true then any
attempted downloads will fail. If "write only" is false then
downloads will be possible if file permissions on the daemon side allow
them. The default is for this option to be disabled.
- The "list" option determines if this module should be listed
when the client asks for a listing of available modules. By setting this
to false you can create hidden modules. The default is for modules to be
- The "uid" option specifies the user name or user ID that file
transfers to and from that module should take place as when the daemon was
run as root. In combination with the "gid" option this
determines what file permissions are available. The default is uid -2,
which is normally the user "nobody".
- The "gid" option specifies the group name or group ID that file
transfers to and from that module should take place as when the daemon was
run as root. This complements the "uid" option. The default is
gid -2, which is normally the group "nobody".
- The "filter" option allows you to specify a space-separated list
of filter rules that the daemon will not allow to be read or written. This
is only superficially equivalent to the client specifying these patterns
with the --filter option. Only one "filter" option may be
specified, but it may contain as many rules as you like, including
merge-file rules. Note that per-directory merge-file rules do not provide
as much protection as global rules, but they can be used to make
--delete work better when a client downloads the daemon's files (if
the per-dir merge files are included in the transfer).
- The "exclude" option allows you to specify a space-separated
list of patterns that the daemon will not allow to be read or written.
This is only superficially equivalent to the client specifying these
patterns with the --exclude option. Only one "exclude"
option may be specified, but you can use "-" and "+"
before patterns to specify exclude/include.
- Because this exclude list is not passed to the client it only applies on
the daemon: that is, it excludes files received by a client when receiving
from a daemon and files deleted on a daemon when sending to a daemon, but
it doesn't exclude files from being deleted on a client when receiving
from a daemon.
- When you want to exclude a directory and all its contents, it is safest to
use a rule that does both, such as "/some/dir/***" (the three
stars tells rsync to exclude the directory itself and everything inside
it). This is better than just excluding the directory alone with
"/some/dir/", as it helps to guard against attempts to trick
rsync into accessing files deeper in the hierarchy.
- The "exclude from" option specifies a filename on the daemon
that contains exclude patterns, one per line. This is only superficially
equivalent to the client specifying the --exclude-from option with
an equivalent file. See the "exclude" option above.
- The "include" option allows you to specify a space-separated
list of patterns which rsync should not exclude. This is only
superficially equivalent to the client specifying these patterns with the
--include option because it applies only on the daemon. This is
useful as it allows you to build up quite complex exclude/include rules.
Only one "include" option may be specified, but you can use
"+" and "-" before patterns to switch include/exclude.
See the "exclude" option above.
- The "include from" option specifies a filename on the daemon
that contains include patterns, one per line. This is only superficially
equivalent to the client specifying the --include-from option with
a equivalent file. See the "exclude" option above.
- This option allows you to specify a set of comma-separated chmod strings
that will affect the permissions of all incoming files (files that are
being received by the daemon). These changes happen after all other
permission calculations, and this will even override destination-default
and/or existing permissions when the client does not specify
--perms. See the description of the --chmod rsync option and
the chmod(1) manpage for information on the format of this
- This option allows you to specify a set of comma-separated chmod strings
that will affect the permissions of all outgoing files (files that are
being sent out from the daemon). These changes happen first, making the
sent permissions appear to be different than those stored in the
filesystem itself. For instance, you could disable group write permissions
on the server while having it appear to be on to the clients. See the
description of the --chmod rsync option and the chmod(1)
manpage for information on the format of this string.
- auth users
- The "auth users" option specifies a comma and space-separated
list of usernames that will be allowed to connect to this module. The
usernames do not need to exist on the local system. The usernames may also
contain shell wildcard characters. If "auth users" is set then
the client will be challenged to supply a username and password to connect
to the module. A challenge response authentication protocol is used for
this exchange. The plain text usernames and passwords are stored in the
file specified by the "secrets file" option. The default is for
all users to be able to connect without a password (this is called
- See also the "CONNECTING TO AN RSYNC DAEMON OVER A REMOTE SHELL
PROGRAM" section in rsync(1) for information on how handle an
rsyncd.conf-level username that differs from the remote-shell-level
username when using a remote shell to connect to an rsync daemon.
- The "secrets file" option specifies the name of a file that
contains the username:password pairs used for authenticating this module.
This file is only consulted if the "auth users" option is
specified. The file is line based and contains username:password pairs
separated by a single colon. Any line starting with a hash (#) is
considered a comment and is skipped. The passwords can contain any
characters but be warned that many operating systems limit the length of
passwords that can be typed at the client end, so you may find that
passwords longer than 8 characters don't work.
- There is no default for the "secrets file" option, you must
choose a name (such as /etc/rsyncd.secrets). The
file must normally not be readable by "other"; see "strict
- The "strict modes" option determines whether or not the
permissions on the secrets file will be checked. If "strict
modes" is true, then the secrets file must not be readable by any
user ID other than the one that the rsync daemon is running under. If
"strict modes" is false, the check is not performed. The default
is true. This option was added to accommodate rsync running on the Windows
- hosts allow
- The "hosts allow" option allows you to specify a list of
patterns that are matched against a connecting clients hostname and IP
address. If none of the patterns match then the connection is
- Each pattern can be in one of five forms:
- a dotted decimal IPv4 address of the form a.b.c.d, or an IPv6 address of
the form a:b:c::d:e:f. In this case the incoming machine's IP address must
- an address/mask in the form ipaddr/n where ipaddr is the IP address and n
is the number of one bits in the netmask. All IP addresses which match the
masked IP address will be allowed in.
- an address/mask in the form ipaddr/maskaddr where ipaddr is the IP address
and maskaddr is the netmask in dotted decimal notation for IPv4, or
similar for IPv6, e.g. ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff:: instead of /64. All IP
addresses which match the masked IP address will be allowed in.
- a hostname. The hostname as determined by a reverse lookup will be matched
(case insensitive) against the pattern. Only an exact match is allowed
- a hostname pattern using wildcards. These are matched using the same rules
as normal unix filename matching. If the pattern matches then the client
is allowed in.
- Note IPv6 link-local addresses can have a scope in the address
- You can also combine "hosts allow" with a separate "hosts
deny" option. If both options are specified then the "hosts
allow" option s checked first and a match results in the client being
able to connect. The "hosts deny" option is then checked and a
match means that the host is rejected. If the host does not match either
the "hosts allow" or the "hosts deny" patterns then it
is allowed to connect.
- The default is no "hosts allow" option, which means all hosts
- The "hosts deny" option allows you to specify a list of patterns
that are matched against a connecting clients hostname and IP address. If
the pattern matches then the connection is rejected. See the "hosts
allow" option for more information.
- The default is no "hosts deny" option, which means all hosts can
- The "ignore errors" option tells rsyncd to ignore I/O errors on
the daemon when deciding whether to run the delete phase of the transfer.
Normally rsync skips the --delete step if any I/O errors have
occurred in order to prevent disastrous deletion due to a temporary
resource shortage or other I/O error. In some cases this test is counter
productive so you can use this option to turn off this behavior.
- This tells the rsync daemon to completely ignore files that are not
readable by the user. This is useful for public archives that may have
some non-readable files among the directories, and the sysadmin doesn't
want those files to be seen at all.
- The "transfer logging" option enables per-file logging of
downloads and uploads in a format somewhat similar to that used by ftp
daemons. The daemon always logs the transfer at the end, so if a transfer
is aborted, no mention will be made in the log file.
- If you want to customize the log lines, see the "log format"
- log format
- The "log format" option allows you to specify the format used
for logging file transfers when transfer logging is enabled. The format is
a text string containing embedded single-character escape sequences
prefixed with a percent (%) character. An optional numeric field width may
also be specified between the percent and the escape letter (e.g.
"%-50n %8l %07p").
- The default log format is "%o %h [%a] %m (%u) %f %l", and a
"%t [%p] " is always prefixed when using the "log
file" option. (A perl script that will summarize this default log
format is included in the rsync source code distribution in the
"support" subdirectory: rsyncstats.)
- The single-character escapes that are understood are as follows:
- %a the remote IP address
- %b the number of bytes actually transferred
- %B the permission bits of the file (e.g. rwxrwxrwt)
- %c the checksum bytes received for this file (only when sending)
- %f the filename (long form on sender; no trailing "/")
- %G the gid of the file (decimal) or "DEFAULT"
- %h the remote host name
- %i an itemized list of what is being updated
- %l the length of the file in bytes
- %L the string " -> SYMLINK", " => HARDLINK", or
"" (where SYMLINK or HARDLINK is a filename)
- %m the module name
- %M the last-modified time of the file
- %n the filename (short form; trailing "/" on dir)
- %o the operation, which is "send", "recv", or
"del." (the latter includes the trailing period)
- %p the process ID of this rsync session
- %P the module path
- %t the current date time
- %u the authenticated username or an empty string
- %U the uid of the file (decimal)
- For a list of what the characters mean that are output by "%i",
see the --itemize-changes option in the rsync manpage.
- Note that some of the logged output changes when talking with older rsync
versions. For instance, deleted files were only output as verbose messages
prior to rsync 2.6.4.
- The "timeout" option allows you to override the clients choice
for I/O timeout for this module. Using this option you can ensure that
rsync won't wait on a dead client forever. The timeout is specified in
seconds. A value of zero means no timeout and is the default. A good
choice for anonymous rsync daemons may be 600 (giving a 10 minute
- The "refuse options" option allows you to specify a
space-separated list of rsync command line options that will be refused by
your rsync daemon. You may specify the full option name, its one-letter
abbreviation, or a wild-card string that matches multiple options. For
example, this would refuse --checksum (-c) and all the
various delete options:
refuse options = c delete
- The reason the above refuses all delete options is that the options imply
--delete, and implied options are refused just like explicit
options. As an additional safety feature, the refusal of
"delete" also refuses remove-sent-files when the daemon
is the sender; if you want the latter without the former, instead refuse
"delete-*" -- that refuses all the delete modes without
- When an option is refused, the daemon prints an error message and exits.
To prevent all compression when serving files, you can use "dont
compress = *" (see below) instead of "refuse options =
compress" to avoid returning an error to a client that requests
- dont compress
- The "dont compress" option allows you to select filenames based
on wildcard patterns that should not be compressed when pulling files from
the daemon (no analogous option exists to govern the pushing of files to a
daemon). Compression is expensive in terms of CPU usage, so it is usually
good to not try to compress files that won't compress well, such as
already compressed files.
- The "dont compress" option takes a space-separated list of
case-insensitive wildcard patterns. Any source filename matching one of
the patterns will not be compressed during transfer.
- The default setting is *.gz *.tgz *.zip *.z *.rpm *.deb
*.iso *.bz2 *.tbz
- pre-xfer exec,
- You may specify a command to be run before and/or after the transfer. If
the pre-xfer exec command fails, the transfer is aborted before it
- The following environment variables will be set, though some are specific
to the pre-xfer or the post-xfer environment:
- RSYNC_MODULE_NAME: The name of the module being accessed.
- RSYNC_MODULE_PATH: The path configured for the module.
- RSYNC_HOST_ADDR: The accessing host's IP address.
- RSYNC_HOST_NAME: The accessing host's name.
- RSYNC_USER_NAME: The accessing user's name (empty if no user).
- RSYNC_PID: A unique number for this transfer.
- RSYNC_REQUEST: (pre-xfer only) The module/path info specified by
the user (note that the user can specify multiple source files, so the
request can be something like "mod/path1 mod/path2", etc.).
- RSYNC_ARG#: (pre-xfer only) The pre-request arguments are set in
these numbered values. RSYNC_ARG0 is always "rsyncd", and the
last value contains a single period.
- RSYNC_EXIT_STATUS: (post-xfer only) the server side's exit value.
This will be 0 for a successful run, a positive value for an error that
the server generated, or a -1 if rsync failed to exit properly. Note that
an error that occurs on the client side does not currently get sent to the
server side, so this is not the final exit status for the whole
- RSYNC_RAW_STATUS: (post-xfer only) the raw exit value from
- Even though the commands can be associated with a particular module, they
are run using the permissions of the user that started the daemon (not the
module's uid/gid setting) without any chroot restrictions.
The authentication protocol used in rsync is a 128 bit MD4 based
challenge response system. This is fairly weak protection, though (with at
least one brute-force hash-finding algorithm publicly available), so if you
want really top-quality security, then I recommend that you run rsync over
ssh. (Yes, a future version of rsync will switch over to a stronger hashing
Also note that the rsync daemon protocol does not currently
provide any encryption of the data that is transferred over the connection.
Only authentication is provided. Use ssh as the transport if you want
Future versions of rsync may support SSL for better authentication
and encryption, but that is still being investigated.
A simple rsyncd.conf file that allow anonymous rsync to a ftp area
at /home/ftp would be:
path = /home/ftp
comment = ftp export area
A more sophisticated example would be:
uid = nobody
gid = nobody
use chroot = no
max connections = 4
syslog facility = local5
pid file = /var/run/rsyncd.pid
path = /var/ftp/pub
comment = whole ftp area (approx 6.1 GB)
path = /var/ftp/pub/samba
comment = Samba ftp area (approx 300 MB)
path = /var/ftp/pub/rsync
comment = rsync ftp area (approx 6 MB)
path = /public_html/samba
comment = Samba WWW pages (approx 240 MB)
path = /data/cvs
comment = CVS repository (requires authentication)
auth users = tridge, susan
secrets file = /etc/rsyncd.secrets
The /etc/rsyncd.secrets file would look something like this:
/etc/rsyncd.conf or rsyncd.conf
Please report bugs! The rsync bug tracking system is online at
This man page is current for version 2.6.9 of rsync.
rsync is distributed under the GNU public license. See the file
COPYING for details.
The primary ftp site for rsync is
A WEB site is available at http://rsync.samba.org/
We would be delighted to hear from you if you like this
This program uses the zlib compression library written by
Jean-loup Gailly and Mark Adler.
Thanks to Warren Stanley for his original idea and patch for the
rsync daemon. Thanks to Karsten Thygesen for his many suggestions and
rsync was written by Andrew Tridgell and Paul Mackerras. Many
people have later contributed to it.
Mailing lists for support and development are available at