rsyncd.conf - configuration file for rsync server
The rsyncd.conf file is the runtime configuration file for rsync when run with the --dae-
mon option. When run in this way rsync becomes a rsync server listening on TCP port 873.
Connections from rsync clients are accepted for either anonymous or authenticated rsync
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 or as a stand-alone daemon. If run as a 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 server a HUP signal to force it to reread the
/etc/rsyncd.conf. 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 "log file" option tells the rsync daemon to log messages to that file rather
than using syslog. This is particularly useful on systems (such as AIX) where sys-
log() doesn't work for chrooted programs.
The "pid file" option tells the rsync daemon to write its process id to that file.
The "syslog facility" option allows you to specify the syslog facility name to use
when logging messages from the rsync server. 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 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
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 servers filesystem to make avail-
able in this module. You must specify this option for each module in
If "use chroot" is true, the rsync server 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 and of not being able to follow symbolic links out-
side of the new root path when reading. 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 absolute paths. The default for "use
chroot" is true.
The "max connections" option allows you to specify the maximum number of simultane-
ous connections you will allow to this module of your rsync server. 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.
The "lock file" option specifies the file to use to support the "max connections"
option. The rsync server uses record locking on this file to ensure that the max
connections limit is not exceeded. 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 server allow them.
The default is for all modules to be read only.
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
The "exclude" option allows you to specify a space separated list of patterns to
add to the exclude list. This is equivalent to the client specifying these patterns
with the --exclude option except that the exclude list is not passed to the client
and thus only apply on the server. Only one "exclude" option may be specified, but
you can use "-" and "+" before patterns to specify exclude/include.
Note that this option is not designed with strong security in mind, it is quite
possible that a client may find a way to bypass this exclude list. If you want to
absolutely ensure that certain files cannot be accessed then use the uid/gid
options in combination with file permissions.
The "exclude from" option specifies a filename on the server that contains exclude
patterns, one per line. This is equivalent to the client specifying the --exclude-
from option with a equivalent file except that the resulting exclude patterns are
not passed to the client and thus only apply on the server. See also the note about
security for the exclude option above.
The "include" option allows you to specify a space separated list of patterns which
rsync should not exclude. This is equivalent to the client specifying these pat-
terns with the --include option. 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 section of exclude patterns in the rsync man page for information on the
syntax of this option.
The "include from" option specifies a filename on the server that contains include
patterns, one per line. This is equivalent to the client specifying the --include-
from option with a equivalent file.
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 are 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").
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 IP address. In this case the incoming machines IP address must
o a address/mask in the form a.b.c.d/n were n is the number of one bits in in the
netmask. All IP addresses which match the masked IP address will be allowed in.
o a address/mask in the form a.b.c.d/e.f.g.h where e.f.g.h is a netmask in dotted
decimal notation. All IP addresses which match the masked IP address will be
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 nor-
mal unix filename matching. If the pattern matches then the client is allowed in.
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 IO errors on the server when
deciding whether to run the delete phase of the transfer. Normally rsync skips the
--delete step if any IO errors have occurred in order to prevent disasterous dele-
tion due to a temporary resource shortage or other IO error. In some cases this
test is counter productive so you can use this option to turn off this behaviour.
This tells the rsync server 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. If you want to customize the
log formats look at 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.
The prefixes that are understood are:
o %h for the remote host name
o %a for the remote IP address
o %l for the length of the file in bytes
o %p for the process id of this rsync session
o %o for the operation, which is either "send" or "recv"
o %f for the filename
o %P for the module path
o %m for the module name
o %t for the current date time
o %u for the authenticated username (or the null string)
o %b for the number of bytes actually transferred
o %c when sending files this gives the number of checksum bytes received for this
The default log format is "%o %h [%a] %m (%u) %f %l", and a "%t [%p] " is always
added to the beginning when using the "log file" option.
A perl script called rsyncstats to summarize this format is included in the rsync
source code distribution.
The "timeout" option allows you to override the clients choice for IO 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 servers 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 server. The full names of
the options must be used (i.e., you must use "checksum" not "c" to disable check-
summing). When an option is refused, the server prints an error message and exits.
To prevent all compression, you can use "dont compress = *" (see below) instead of
"refuse options = compress" to avoid returning an error to a client that requests
The "dont compress" option allows you to select filenames based on wildcard pat-
terns that should not be compressed during transfer. 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
The authentication protocol used in rsync is a 128 bit MD4 based challenge response sys-
tem. Although I believe that no one has ever demonstrated a brute-force break of this sort
of system you should realize that this is not a "military strength" authentication system.
It should be good enough for most purposes but if you want really top quality security
then I recommend that you run rsync over ssh.
Also note that the rsync server protocol does not currently provide any encryption of the
data that is transferred over the link. 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:
The rsync server does not send all types of error messages to the client. this means a
client may be mystified as to why a transfer failed. The error will have been logged by
syslog on the server.
Please report bugs! The rsync bug tracking system is online at http://rsync.samba.org/
This man page is current for version 2.0 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 server. Thanks to
Karsten Thygesen for his many suggestions and documentation!
rsync was written by Andrew Tridgell and Paul Mackerras. They may be contacted via email
at email@example.com and Paul.Mackerras@cs.anu.edu.au
12 Feb 1999 rsyncd.conf(5)