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 mod
ule begins. Modules contain parameters of the form name = value.
The file is line-based that is, each newline-terminated line repre
sents 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 verbatim.
Any line beginning with a hash (#) is ignored, as are lines containing
Any line ending in a \ is continued on the next line in the customary
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.
LAUNCHING THE RSYNC DAEMON
The rsync daemon is launched by specifying the --daemon option to
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 startup script.
When run via inetd you should add a line like this to /etc/services:
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 sig
nal 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 con
The first parameters in the file (before a [module] header) are the
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.
The motd file option allows you to specify a message of the
day to display to clients on each connect. This usually con
tains site information and any legal notices. The default is no
The pid file option tells the rsync daemon to write its pro
cess ID to that file.
port 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
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-
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 command-line option.
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] fol
lowed by the options for that module.
The comment option specifies a description string that is dis
played next to the module name when clients obtain a list of
available modules. The default is no comment.
path The path option specifies the directory in the daemons
filesystem to make available in this module. You must specify
this option for each module in rsyncd.conf.
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 implemen
tation 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 usernames and groups
(see below). When use chroot is false, for security reasons,
symlinks may only be relative paths pointing to other files
within the root path, and leading slashes are removed from most
absolute paths (options such as --backup-dir, --compare-dest,
etc. interpret an absolute path as rooted in the modules path
dir, just as if chroot was specified). The default for use
chroot is true.
In order to preserve usernames and groupnames, rsync needs to be
able to use the standard library functions for looking up names
and IDs (i.e. getpwuid() , getgrgid() , getpwname() , and get
grnam() ). This means a process in the chroot namespace will
need to have access to the resources used by these library func
tions (traditionally /etc/passwd and /etc/group). If these
resources are not available, rsync will only be able to copy the
IDs, just as if the --numeric-ids option had been specified.
Note that you are free to setup user/group information in the
chroot area differently from your normal system. For example,
you could abbreviate the list of users and groups. Also, you
can protect this information from being downloaded/uploaded by
adding an exclude rule to the rsyncd.conf file (e.g. "exclude =
/etc/**"). Note that having the exclusion affect uploads is a
relatively new feature in rsync, so make sure your daemon is at
least 2.6.3 to effect this. Also note that it is safest to
exclude a directory and all its contents combining the rule
"/some/dir/" with the rule "/some/dir/**" just to be sure that
rsync will not allow deeper access to some of the excluded files
inside the directory (rsync tries to do this automatically, but
you might as well specify both to be extra sure).
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 mes
sage telling them to try later. The default is 0 which means no
limit. See also the lock file option.
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() doesnt 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-mod
ule 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
The syslog facility option allows you to specify the syslog
facility name to use when logging messages from the rsync dae
mon. 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 settings).
The max verbosity option allows you to control the maximum
amount of verbose information that youll 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
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
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.
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.
list The list option determines if this module should be listed
when the client asks for a listing of available modules. By set
ting this to false you can create hidden modules. The default is
for modules to be listable.
uid 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.
gid 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 (in
Debian it is the group nogroup).
filter 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 daemons 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 dae
mon when sending to a daemon, but it doesnt exclude files from
being deleted on a client when receiving from a daemon.
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 speci
fied, 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
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 infor
mation on the format of this string.
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.
The auth users option specifies a comma and space-separated
list of usernames that will be allowed to connect to this mod
ule. 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 speci
fied by the secrets file option. The default is for all users
to be able to connect without a password (this is called anony
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
The secrets file option specifies the name of a file that con
tains 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:pass
word 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 charac
ters dont work.
There is no default for the secrets file option, you must
choose a name (such as /etc/rsyncd.secrets). The file must nor
mally not be readable by other; see strict modes.
The strict modes option determines whether or not the permis
sions 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 operating system.
The hosts allow option allows you to specify a list of pat
terns 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:
o 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 machines IP address must match exactly.
o an address/mask in the form ipaddr/n where ipaddr is the
IP address and n is the number of one bits in the net
mask. All IP addresses which match the masked IP address
will be allowed in.
o 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.
o a hostname. The hostname as determined by a reverse
lookup will be matched (case insensitive) against the
pattern. Only an exact match is allowed in.
o 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 doesnt want those files to be seen at all.
The transfer logging option enables per-file logging of down
loads 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
If you want to customize the log lines, see the 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
The single-character escapes that are understood are as follows:
o %a the remote IP address
o %b the number of bytes actually transferred
o %B the permission bits of the file (e.g. rwxrwxrwt)
o %c the checksum bytes received for this file (only when
o %f the filename (long form on sender; no trailing /)
o %G the gid of the file (decimal) or DEFAULT
o %h the remote host name
o %i an itemized list of what is being updated
o %l the length of the file in bytes
o %L the string " -> SYMLINK", " => HARDLINK", or "" (where
SYMLINK or HARDLINK is a filename)
o %m the module name
o %M the last-modified time of the file
o %n the filename (short form; trailing "/" on dir)
o %o the operation, which is "send", "recv", or "del." (the
latter includes the trailing period)
o %p the process ID of this rsync session
o %P the module path
o %t the current date time
o %u the authenticated username or an empty string
o %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 wont wait on a dead client forever. The time
out 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 timeout).
The refuse options option allows you to specify a space-sepa
rated 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 mul
tiple 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 dae
mon is the sender; if you want the latter without the former,
instead refuse delete-* that refuses all the delete modes
without affecting --remove-sent-files.
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
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 wont compress well, such as already compressed
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
pre-xfer exec, post-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 begins.
The following environment variables will be set, though some are
specific to the pre-xfer or the post-xfer environment:
o RSYNC_MODULE_NAME: The name of the module being accessed.
o RSYNC_MODULE_PATH: The path configured for the module.
o RSYNC_HOST_ADDR: The accessing hosts IP address.
o RSYNC_HOST_NAME: The accessing hosts name.
o RSYNC_USER_NAME: The accessing users name (empty if no
o RSYNC_PID: A unique number for this transfer.
o RSYNC_REQUEST: (pre-xfer only) The module/path info spec
ified by the user (note that the user can specify multi
ple source files, so the request can be something like
mod/path1 mod/path2, etc.).
o 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.
o RSYNC_EXIT_STATUS: (post-xfer only) the server sides
exit value. This will be 0 for a successful run, a posi
tive 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 transfer.
o RSYNC_RAW_STATUS: (post-xfer only) the raw exit value
from waitpid() .
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 modules uid/gid setting) without
any chroot restrictions.
The authentication protocol used in rsync is a 128 bit MD4 based chal
lenge 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 method.)
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 COPY
ING for details.
The primary ftp site for rsync is ftp://rsync.samba.org/pub/rsync.
A WEB site is available at http://rsync.samba.org/
We would be delighted to hear from you if you like this program.
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
6 Nov 2006 rsyncd.conf(5)