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 dae-
The rsyncd.conf file controls authentication, access, logging and available modules.
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 com-
ment, 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 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 signif-
icant in boolean values, but is preserved in string values.
LAUNCHING THE RSYNC DAEMON
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 num-
bered 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 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.
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.
The "pid file" option tells the rsync daemon to write its process 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 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 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] 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 com-
path The "path" option specifies the directory in the daemon's filesystem to make avail-
able 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 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 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 module's "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() , get-
grgid() , getpwname() , and getgrnam() ). This means a process in the chroot
namespace will need to have access to the resources used by these library functions
(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
Note that you are free to setup user/group information in the chroot area differ-
ently 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 simultane-
ous 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 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 use-
ful 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 mes-
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 speci-
fied 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 facil-
ity 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 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
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 /var/run/rsyncd.lock.
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 setting 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 comple-
ments the "uid" option. The default is gid -2, which is normally the group
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 pro-
vide 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 equiv-
alent 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
Because this exclude list is not passed to the client it only applies on the dae-
mon: 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.
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 speci-
fying the --exclude-from option with an equivalent file. See the "exclude" option
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 spec-
ifying these patterns with the --include option because it applies only on the dae-
mon. 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 speci-
fying the --include-from option with a equivalent file. See the "exclude" option
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 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 dis-
able 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 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 "anonymous rsync").
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
The "secrets file" option specifies the name of a file that contains the user-
name:password pairs used for authenticating this module. This file is only con-
sulted 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 charac-
ters 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 char-
acters 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
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 operating system.
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 rejected.
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 machine's IP address must match
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 netmask. 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
Note IPv6 link-local addresses can have a scope in the address specification:
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 con-
The default is no "hosts allow" option, which means all hosts can connect.
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 connect.
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 dele-
tion 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
If you want to customize the log lines, see the "log format" option.
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 "sup-
port" subdirectory: rsyncstats.)
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 sending)
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 --item-
ize-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
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 time-
out and is the default. A good choice for anonymous rsync daemons may be 600 (giv-
ing a 10 minute timeout).
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 affecting
When an option is refused, the daemon prints an error message and exits. To pre-
vent 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 compression.
The "dont compress" option allows you to select filenames based on wildcard pat-
terns that should not be compressed when pulling files from the daemon (no analo-
gous 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 wild-
card patterns. Any source filename matching one of the patterns will not be com-
pressed during transfer.
The default setting is *.gz *.tgz *.zip *.z *.rpm *.deb *.iso *.bz2 *.tbz
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 host's IP address.
o RSYNC_HOST_NAME: The accessing host's name.
o RSYNC_USER_NAME: The accessing user's name (empty if no user).
o RSYNC_PID: A unique number for this transfer.
o 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.).
o RSYNC_ARG#: (pre-xfer only) The pre-request arguments are set in these num-
bered values. RSYNC_ARG0 is always "rsyncd", and the last value contains a
o 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 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 module's uid/gid
setting) without any chroot restrictions.
The authentication protocol used in rsync is a 128 bit MD4 based challenge response sys-
tem. 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 recom-
mend 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 encryption.
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 http://rsync.samba.org/
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 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 documentation!
rsync was written by Andrew Tridgell and Paul Mackerras. Many people have later contrib-
uted to it.
Mailing lists for support and development are available at http://lists.samba.org
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:
| ATTRIBUTE TYPE | ATTRIBUTE VALUE |
|Availability | SUNWrsync |
|Interface Stability | Volatile |
Source for rsync is available on http://opensolaris.org. WARNING: Daemon mode does not
participate in the core Solaris security policies, including Authentication, limit of
privileges, Audit and Audit of any subprocessing.
6 Nov 2006 rsyncd.conf(5)