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rsyncd.conf(5) User Commands rsyncd.conf(5)
rsyncd.conf - configuration file for rsync in daemon mode
The online version of this manpage (that includes cross-linking of
topics) is available at
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 verbatim.
Any line beginning with a hash (#) is ignored, as are lines containing
only whitespace. (If a hash occurs after anything other than leading
whitespace, it is considered a part of the line's content.)
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
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
The first parameters in the file (before a [module] header) are the
global parameters. Rsync also allows for the use of a "[global]"
module name to indicate the start of one or more global-parameter
sections (the name must be lower case).
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.
You may use references to environment variables in the values of
parameters. String parameters will have %VAR% references expanded as
late as possible (when the string is first used in the program),
allowing for the use of variables that rsync sets at connection time,
such as RSYNC_USER_NAME. Non-string parameters (such as true/false
settings) are expanded when read from the config file. If a variable
does not exist in the environment, or if a sequence of characters is
not a valid reference (such as an un-paired percent sign), the raw
characters are passed through unchanged. This helps with backward
compatibility and safety (e.g. expanding a non-existent %VAR% to an
empty string in a path could result in a very unsafe path). The safest
way to insert a literal % into a value is to use %%.
This parameter allows you to specify a "message of the day"
(MOTD) to display to clients on each connect. This usually
contains site information and any legal notices. The default is
no MOTD file. This can be overridden by the
--dparam=motdfile=FILE command-line option when starting the
This parameter tells the rsync daemon to write its process ID to
that file. The rsync keeps the file locked so that it can know
when it is safe to overwrite an existing file.
The filename can be overridden by the --dparam=pidfile=FILE
command-line option when starting the daemon.
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 parameter 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 manpage 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 can also be
specified via the --sockopts command-line option.
You can override the default backlog value when the daemon
listens for connections. It defaults to 5.
After the global parameters 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 parameters for that module. The module name cannot
contain a slash or a closing square bracket. If the name contains
whitespace, each internal sequence of whitespace will be changed into a
single space, while leading or trailing whitespace will be discarded.
Also, the name cannot be "global" as that exact name indicates that
global parameters follow (see above).
As with GLOBAL PARAMETERS, you may use references to environment
variables in the values of parameters. See the GLOBAL PARAMETERS
section for more details.
This parameter 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.
path This parameter specifies the directory in the daemon's
filesystem to make available in this module. You must specify
this parameter for each module in rsyncd.conf.
If the value contains a "/./" element then the path will be
divided at that point into a chroot dir and an inner-chroot
subdir. If use chroot is set to false, though, the extraneous
dot dir is just cleaned out of the path. An example of this
path = /var/rsync/./module1
This will (when chrooting) chroot to "/var/rsync" and set the
inside-chroot path to "/module1".
You may base the path's value off of an environment variable by
surrounding the variable name with percent signs. You can even
reference a variable that is set by rsync when the user
connects. For example, this would use the authorizing user's
name in the path:
path = /home/%RSYNC_USER_NAME%
It is fine if the path includes internal spaces -- they will be
retained verbatim (which means that you shouldn't try to escape
them). If your final directory has a trailing space (and this
is somehow not something you wish to fix), append a trailing
slash to the path to avoid losing the trailing whitespace.
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).
If use chroot is not set, it defaults to trying to enable a
chroot but allows the daemon to continue (after logging a
warning) if it fails. The one exception to this is when a
module's path has a "/./" chroot divider in it -- this causes an
unset value to be treated as true for that module.
Prior to rsync 3.2.7, the default value was "true". The new
"unset" default makes it easier to setup an rsync daemon as a
non-root user or to run a daemon on a system where chroot fails.
Explicitly setting the value to "true" in rsyncd.conf will
always require the chroot to succeed.
It is also possible to specify a dot-dir in the module's "path"
to indicate that you want to chdir to the earlier part of the
path and then serve files from inside the latter part of the
path (with sanitizing and default symlink munging). This can be
useful if you need some library dirs inside the chroot
(typically for uid & gid lookups) but don't want to put the lib
dir into the top of the served path (even though they can be
hidden with an exclude directive). However, a better choice for
a modern rsync setup is to use a name converter" and try to
avoid inner lib dirs altogether. See also the daemon chroot
parameter, which causes rsync to chroot into its own chroot area
before doing any path-related chrooting.
If the daemon is serving the "/" dir (either directly or due to
being chrooted to the module's path), rsync does not do any path
sanitizing or (default) munging.
When it has to limit access to a particular subdir (either due
to chroot being disabled or having an inside-chroot path set),
rsync will munge symlinks (by default) and sanitize paths.
Those that dislike munged symlinks (and really, really trust
their users to not break out of the subdir) can disable the
symlink munging via the "munge symlinks" parameter.
When rsync is sanitizing paths, it trims ".." path elements from
args that it believes would escape the module hierarchy. It also
substitutes leading slashes in absolute paths with the module's
path (so that options such as --backup-dir & --compare-dest
interpret an absolute path as rooted in the module's "path"
When a chroot is in effect and the "name converter" parameter is
not set, the "numeric ids" parameter will default to being
enabled (disabling name lookups). This means that if you
manually setup name-lookup libraries in your chroot (instead of
using a name converter) that you need to explicitly set
numeric ids = false for rsync to do name lookups.
If you copy library 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 parameter).
However, it's easier and safer to setup a name converter.
This parameter specifies a path to which the daemon will chroot
before beginning communication with clients. Module paths (and
any "use chroot" settings) will then be related to this one.
This lets you choose if you want the whole daemon to be chrooted
(with this setting), just the transfers to be chrooted (with
"use chroot"), or both. Keep in mind that the "daemon chroot"
area may need various OS/lib/etc files installed to allow the
daemon to function. By default the daemon runs without any
When this parameter is enabled, all incoming connections must
start with a V1 or V2 proxy protocol header. If the header is
not found, the connection is closed.
Setting this to true requires a proxy server to forward source
IP information to rsync, allowing you to log proper IP/host info
and make use of client-oriented IP restrictions. The default of
false means that the IP information comes directly from the
socket's metadata. If rsync is not behind a proxy, this should
CAUTION: using this option can be dangerous if you do not ensure
that only the proxy is allowed to connect to the rsync port. If
any non-proxied connections are allowed through, the client will
be able to use a modified rsync to spoof any remote IP address
that they desire. You can lock this down using something like
iptables -uid-owner root rules (for strict localhost access),
various firewall rules, or you can require password
authorization so that any spoofing by users will not grant extra
This setting is global. If you need some modules to require
this and not others, then you will need to setup multiple rsync
daemon processes on different ports.
This parameter lets you specify a program that will be run by
the rsync daemon to do user & group conversions between names &
ids. This script is started prior to any chroot being setup,
and runs as the daemon user (not the transfer user). You can
specify a fully qualified pathname or a program name that is on
The program can be used to do normal user & group lookups
without having to put any extra files into the chroot area of
the module or you can do customized conversions.
The nameconvert program has access to all of the environment
variables that are described in the section on pre-xfer exec.
This is useful if you want to customize the conversion using
information about the module and/or the copy request.
There is a sample python script in the support dir named
"nameconvert" that implements the normal user & group lookups.
Feel free to customize it or just use it as documentation to
implement your own.
Enabling this parameter 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.
This enabling 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. Also keep in mind that uid/gid preservation
requires the module to be running as root (see "uid") or for
"fake super" to be configured.
A chroot-enabled module should not have this parameter set to
false unless you're using a "name converter" program or 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 resources.
This parameter tells rsync to modify all symlinks in the same
way as the (non-daemon-affecting) --munge-links command-line
option (using a method described 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 with
an inside-chroot path of "/", OR if "daemon chroot" is on,
otherwise it is enabled.
If you disable this parameter 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-
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
parameter is enabled, rsync will refuse to run if that path is a
directory or a symlink to a directory. When using the "munge
symlinks" parameter in a chroot area that has an inside-chroot
path of "/", you should add "/rsyncd-munged/" to the exclude
setting for the module so that a user can't try to create it.
Note: rsync makes no attempt to verify that any pre-existing
symlinks in the module's hierarchy are as safe as you want them
to be (unless, of course, it just copied in the whole
hierarchy). 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 parameter is disabled on a writable module and "use
chroot" is off (or the inside-chroot path is not "/"), 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 parameters.
This specifies the name of the character set in which the
module's filenames are stored. If the client uses an --iconv
option, the daemon will use the value of the "charset" parameter
regardless of the character set the client actually passed.
This allows the daemon to support charset conversion in a chroot
module without extra files in the chroot area, and also ensures
that name-translation is done in a consistent manner. If the
"charset" parameter is not set, the --iconv option is refused,
just as if "iconv" had been specified via "refuse options".
If you wish to force users to always use --iconv for a
particular module, add "no-iconv" to the "refuse options"
parameter. Keep in mind that this will restrict access to your
module to very new rsync clients.
This parameter 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. A
negative value disables the module. See also the "lock file"
When the "log file" parameter 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
If the daemon fails to open the 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.)
This setting can be overridden by using the --log-file=FILE or
--dparam=logfile=FILE command-line options. The former
overrides all the log-file parameters of the daemon and all
module settings. The latter sets the daemon's log file and the
default for all the modules, which still allows modules to
override the default setting.
This parameter 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 settings).
This parameter allows you to specify the syslog tag to use when
logging messages from the rsync daemon. The default is "rsyncd".
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).
For example, if you wanted each authenticated user's name to be
included in the syslog tag, you could do something like this:
syslog tag = rsyncd.%RSYNC_USER_NAME%
This parameter 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.
This also affects the user's ability to request higher levels of
--info and --debug logging. If the max value is 2, then no info
and/or debug value that is higher than what would be set by -vv
will be honored by the daemon in its logging. To see how high
of a verbosity level you need to accept for a particular
info/debug level, refer to rsync --info=help and
rsync --debug=help. For instance, it takes max-verbosity 4 to
be able to output debug TIME2 and FLIST3.
This parameter specifies the file to use to support the "max
connections" parameter. 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
This parameter 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.
Note that "auth users" can override this setting on a per-user
This parameter 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 parameter to be
Helpful hint: you probably want to specify "refuse options =
delete" for a write-only module.
When set to True, this parameter tells the rsync daemon to open
files with the O_NOATIME flag (on systems that support it) to
avoid changing the access time of the files that are being
transferred. If your OS does not support the O_NOATIME flag
then rsync will silently ignore this option. Note also that
some filesystems are mounted to avoid updating the atime on read
access even without the O_NOATIME flag being set.
When set to False, this parameters ensures that files on the
server are not opened with O_NOATIME.
When set to Unset (the default) the user controls the setting
list This parameter determines whether this module is listed when the
client asks for a listing of available modules. In addition, if
this is false, the daemon will pretend the module does not exist
when a client denied by "hosts allow" or "hosts deny" attempts
to access it. Realize that if "reverse lookup" is disabled
globally but enabled for the module, the resulting reverse
lookup to a potentially client-controlled DNS server may still
reveal to the client that it hit an existing module. The
default is for modules to be listable.
uid This parameter 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" parameter
this determines what file permissions are available. The default
when run by a super-user is to switch to the system's "nobody"
user. The default for a non-super-user is to not try to change
the user. See also the "gid" parameter.
The RSYNC_USER_NAME environment variable may be used to request
that rsync run as the authorizing user. For example, if you
want a rsync to run as the same user that was received for the
rsync authentication, this setup is useful:
uid = %RSYNC_USER_NAME%
gid = *
gid This parameter specifies one or more group names/IDs that will
be used when accessing the module. The first one will be the
default group, and any extra ones be set as supplemental groups.
You may also specify a "*" as the first gid in the list, which
will be replaced by all the normal groups for the transfer's
user (see "uid"). The default when run by a super-user is to
switch to your OS's "nobody" (or perhaps "nogroup") group with
no other supplementary groups. The default for a non-super-user
is to not change any group attributes (and indeed, your OS may
not allow a non-super-user to try to change their group
The specified list is normally split into tokens based on spaces
and commas. However, if the list starts with a comma, then the
list is only split on commas, which allows a group name to
contain a space. In either case any leading and/or trailing
whitespace is removed from the tokens and empty tokens are
This parameter specifies a uid under which the daemon will run.
The daemon usually runs as user root, and when this is left
unset the user is left unchanged. See also the "uid" parameter.
This parameter specifies a gid under which the daemon will run.
The daemon usually runs as group root, and when this is left
unset, the group is left unchanged. See also the "gid"
Setting "fake super = yes" for a module causes the daemon side
to behave as if the --fake-super command-line option had been
specified. This allows the full attributes of a file to be
stored without having to have the daemon actually running as
filter The daemon has its own filter chain that determines what files
it will let the client access. This chain is not sent to the
client and is independent of any filters the client may have
specified. Files excluded by the daemon filter chain (daemon-
excluded files) are treated as non-existent if the client tries
to pull them, are skipped with an error message if the client
tries to push them (triggering exit code 23), and are never
deleted from the module. You can use daemon filters to prevent
clients from downloading or tampering with private
administrative files, such as files you may add to support
uid/gid name translations.
The daemon filter chain is built from the "filter", "include
from", "include", "exclude from", and "exclude" parameters, in
that order of priority. Anchored patterns are anchored at the
root of the module. To prevent access to an entire subtree, for
example, "/secret", you must exclude everything in the subtree;
the easiest way to do this is with a triple-star pattern like
The "filter" parameter takes a space-separated list of daemon
filter rules, though it is smart enough to know not to split a
token at an internal space in a rule (e.g. "- /foo - /bar" is
parsed as two rules). You may specify one or more merge-file
rules using the normal syntax. Only one "filter" parameter can
apply to a given module in the config file, so put all the rules
you want in a single parameter. 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 during a
client download operation if the per-dir merge files are
included in the transfer and the client requests that they be
This parameter takes a space-separated list of daemon exclude
patterns. As with the client --exclude option, patterns can be
qualified with "- " or "* " to explicitly indicate
exclude/include. Only one "exclude" parameter can apply to a
given module. See the "filter" parameter for a description of
how excluded files affect the daemon.
Use an "include" to override the effects of the "exclude"
parameter. Only one "include" parameter can apply to a given
module. See the "filter" parameter for a description of how
excluded files affect the daemon.
This parameter specifies the name of a file on the daemon that
contains daemon exclude patterns, one per line. Only one
"exclude from" parameter can apply to a given module; if you
have multiple exclude-from files, you can specify them as a
merge file in the "filter" parameter. See the "filter"
parameter for a description of how excluded files affect the
Analogue of "exclude from" for a file of daemon include
patterns. Only one "include from" parameter can apply to a
given module. See the "filter" parameter for a description of
how excluded files affect the daemon.
This parameter 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 parameter 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.
This parameter specifies a comma and/or space-separated list of
authorization rules. In its simplest form, you list the
usernames that will be allowed to connect to this module. The
usernames do not need to exist on the local system. The rules
may contain shell wildcard characters that will be matched
against the username provided by the client for authentication.
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" parameter. The default
is for all users to be able to connect without a password (this
is called "anonymous rsync").
In addition to username matching, you can specify groupname
matching via a '@' prefix. When using groupname matching, the
authenticating username must be a real user on the system, or it
will be assumed to be a member of no groups. For example,
specifying "@rsync" will match the authenticating user if the
named user is a member of the rsync group.
Finally, options may be specified after a colon (:). The
options allow you to "deny" a user or a group, set the access to
"ro" (read-only), or set the access to "rw" (read/write).
Setting an auth-rule-specific ro/rw setting overrides the
module's "read only" setting.
Be sure to put the rules in the order you want them to be
matched, because the checking stops at the first matching user
or group, and that is the only auth that is checked. For
auth users = joe:deny @guest:deny admin:rw @rsync:ro susan joe sam
In the above rule, user joe will be denied access no matter
what. Any user that is in the group "guest" is also denied
access. The user "admin" gets access in read/write mode, but
only if the admin user is not in group "guest" (because the
admin user-matching rule would never be reached if the user is
in group "guest"). Any other user who is in group "rsync" will
get read-only access. Finally, users susan, joe, and sam get
the ro/rw setting of the module, but only if the user didn't
match an earlier group-matching rule.
If you need to specify a user or group name with a space in it,
start your list with a comma to indicate that the list should
only be split on commas (though leading and trailing whitespace
will also be removed, and empty entries are just ignored). For
auth users = , joe:deny, @Some Group:deny, admin:rw, @RO Group:ro
See the description of the secrets file for how you can have
per-user passwords as well as per-group passwords. It also
explains how a user can authenticate using their user password
or (when applicable) a group password, depending on what rule is
See also the section entitled "USING RSYNC-DAEMON FEATURES VIA A
REMOTE SHELL CONNECTION" 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.
This parameter specifies the name of a file that contains the
username:password and/or @groupname:password pairs used for
authenticating this module. This file is only consulted if the
"auth users" parameter is specified. The file is line-based and
contains one name:password pair per line. Any line has a hash
(#) as the very first character on the line 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.
The use of group-specific lines are only relevant when the
module is being authorized using a matching "@groupname" rule.
When that happens, the user can be authorized via either their
"username:password" line or the "@groupname:password" line for
the group that triggered the authentication.
It is up to you what kind of password entries you want to
include, either users, groups, or both. The use of group rules
in "auth users" does not require that you specify a group
password if you do not want to use shared passwords.
There is no default for the "secrets file" parameter, you must
choose a name (such as /etc/rsyncd.secrets). The file must
normally not be readable by "other"; see "strict modes". If the
file is not found or is rejected, no logins for an "auth users"
module will be possible.
This parameter 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 parameter was added to accommodate rsync running on
the Windows operating system.
This parameter allows you to specify a list of comma- and/or
whitespace-separated patterns that are matched against a
connecting client's hostname and IP address. If none of the
patterns match, then the connection is rejected.
Each pattern can be in one of six 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 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
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 pattern using wildcards. If the hostname of
the connecting IP (as determined by a reverse lookup)
matches the wildcarded name (using the same rules as
normal Unix filename matching), the client is allowed in.
This only works if "reverse lookup" is enabled (the
o a hostname. A plain hostname is matched against the
reverse DNS of the connecting IP (if "reverse lookup" is
enabled), and/or the IP of the given hostname is matched
against the connecting IP (if "forward lookup" is
enabled, as it is by default). Any match will be allowed
o an '@' followed by a netgroup name, which will match if
the reverse DNS of the connecting IP is in the specified
Note IPv6 link-local addresses can have a scope in the address
You can also combine "hosts allow" with "hosts deny" as a way to
add exceptions to your deny list. When both parameters are
specified, the "hosts allow" parameter is checked first and a
match results in the client being able to connect. A non-
allowed host is then matched against the "hosts deny" list to
see if it should be rejected. A host that does not match either
list is allowed to connect.
The default is no "hosts allow" parameter, which means all hosts
This parameter allows you to specify a list of comma- and/or
whitespace-separated 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"
parameter for more information.
The default is no "hosts deny" parameter, which means all hosts
Controls whether the daemon performs a reverse lookup on the
client's IP address to determine its hostname, which is used for
"hosts allow" & "hosts deny" checks and the "%h" log escape.
This is enabled by default, but you may wish to disable it to
save time if you know the lookup will not return a useful
result, in which case the daemon will use the name
If this parameter is enabled globally (even by default), rsync
performs the lookup as soon as a client connects, so disabling
it for a module will not avoid the lookup. Thus, you probably
want to disable it globally and then enable it for modules that
need the information.
Controls whether the daemon performs a forward lookup on any
hostname specified in an hosts allow/deny setting. By default
this is enabled, allowing the use of an explicit hostname that
would not be returned by reverse DNS of the connecting IP.
This parameter 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 parameter 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.
This parameter 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"
This parameter 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"). In addition,
one or more apostrophes may be specified prior to a numerical
escape to indicate that the numerical value should be made more
human-readable. The 3 supported levels are the same as for the
--human-readable command-line option, though the default is for
human-readability to be off. Each added apostrophe increases
the level (e.g. "%''l %'b %f").
The default log format is "%o %h [%a] %m (%u) %f %l", and a
"%t [%p] " is always prefixed when using the "log file"
parameter. (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:
o %a the remote IP address (only available for a daemon)
o %b the number of bytes actually transferred
o %B the permission bits of the file (e.g. rwxrwxrwt)
o %c the total size of the block checksums received for the
basis file (only when sending)
o %C the full-file checksum if it is known for the file.
For older rsync protocols/versions, the checksum was
salted, and is thus not a useful value (and is not
displayed when that is the case). For the checksum to
output for a file, either the --checksum option must be
in-effect or the file must have been transferred without
a salted checksum being used. See the --checksum-choice
option for a way to choose the algorithm.
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 (only available for a daemon)
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.
This parameter allows you to override the clients choice for I/O
timeout for this module. Using this parameter 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 timeout).
This parameter 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. Beginning in 3.2.0, you can also negate a match term by
starting it with a "!".
When an option is refused, the daemon prints an error message
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.
The use of a negated match allows you to fine-tune your refusals
after a wild-card, such as this:
refuse options = delete-* !delete-during
Negated matching can also turn your list of refused options into
a list of accepted options. To do this, begin the list with a
"*" (to refuse all options) and then specify one or more negated
matches to accept. For example:
refuse options = * !a !v !compress*
Don't worry that the "*" will refuse certain vital options such
as --dry-run, --server, --no-iconv, --seclude-args, etc. These
important options are not matched by wild-card, so they must be
overridden by their exact name. For instance, if you're forcing
iconv transfers you could use something like this:
refuse options = * no-iconv !a !v
As an additional aid (beginning in 3.2.0), refusing (or
"!refusing") the "a" or "archive" option also affects all the
options that the --archive option implies (-rdlptgoD), but only
if the option is matched explicitly (not using a wildcard). If
you want to do something tricky, you can use "archive*" to avoid
this side-effect, but keep in mind that no normal rsync client
ever sends the actual archive option to the server.
As an additional safety feature, the refusal of "delete" also
refuses remove-source-files when the daemon is the sender; if
you want the latter without the former, instead refuse
"delete-*" as that refuses all the delete modes without
affecting --remove-source-files. (Keep in mind that the client's
--delete option typically results in --delete-during.)
When un-refusing delete options, you should either specify
"!delete*" (to accept all delete options) or specify a limited
set that includes "delete", such as:
refuse options = * !a !delete !delete-during
... whereas this accepts any delete option except --delete-
refuse options = * !a !delete* delete-after
A note on refusing "compress": it may be better to set the "dont
compress" daemon parameter to "*" and ensure that
RSYNC_COMPRESS_LIST=zlib is set in the environment of the daemon
in order to disable compression silently instead of returning an
error that forces the client to remove the -z option.
If you are un-refusing the compress option, you may want to
match "!compress*" if you also want to allow the --compress-
Note that the "copy-devices" & "write-devices" options are
refused by default, but they can be explicitly accepted with
"!copy-devices" and/or "!write-devices". The options "log-file"
and "log-file-format" are forcibly refused and cannot be
Here are all the options that are not matched by wild-cards:
o --server: Required for rsync to even work.
o --rsh, -e: Required to convey compatibility flags to the
o --out-format: This is required to convey output behavior
to a remote receiver. While rsync passes the older alias
--log-format for compatibility reasons, this options
should not be confused with --log-file-format.
o --sender: Use "write only" parameter instead of refusing
o --dry-run, -n: Who would want to disable this?
o --seclude-args, -s: Is the oldest arg-protection method.
o --from0, -0: Makes it easier to accept/refuse --files-
from without affecting this helpful modifier.
o --iconv: This is auto-disabled based on "charset"
o --no-iconv: Most transfers use this option.
o --checksum-seed: Is a fairly rare, safe option.
o --write-devices: Is non-wild but also auto-disabled.
NOTE: This parameter currently has no effect except in one
instance: if it is set to "*" then it minimizes or disables
compression for all files (for those that don't want to refuse
the --compress option completely).
This parameter allows you to select filenames based on wildcard
patterns that should not be compressed when pulling files from
the daemon (no analogous parameter exists to govern the pushing
of files to a daemon). Compression can be 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" parameter takes a space-separated list of
case-insensitive wildcard patterns. Any source filename matching
one of the patterns will be compressed as little as possible
during the transfer. If the compression algorithm has an "off"
level, then no compression occurs for those files. If an
algorithms has the ability to change the level in mid-stream, it
will be minimized to reduce the CPU usage as much as possible.
See the --skip-compress parameter in the rsync(1) manpage for
the list of file suffixes that are skipped by default if this
parameter is not set.
early exec, pre-xfer exec, post-xfer exec
You may specify a command to be run in the early stages of the
connection, or right before and/or after the transfer. If the
early exec or pre-xfer exec command returns an error code, the
transfer is aborted before it begins. Any output from the pre-
xfer exec command on stdout (up to several KB) will be displayed
to the user when aborting, but is not displayed if the script
returns success. The other programs cannot send any text to the
user. All output except for the pre-xfer exec stdout goes to
the corresponding daemon's stdout/stderr, which is typically
discarded. See the --no-detatch option for a way to see the
daemon's output, which can assist with debugging.
Note that the early exec command runs before any part of the
transfer request is known except for the module name. This
helper script can be used to setup a disk mount or decrypt some
data into a module dir, but you may need to use lock file and
max connections to avoid concurrency issues. If the client
rsync specified the --early-input=FILE option, it can send up to
about 5K of data to the stdin of the early script. The stdin
will otherwise be empty.
Note that the post-xfer exec command is still run even if one of
the other scripts returns an error code. The pre-xfer exec
command will not be run, however, if the early exec command
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
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 numbered values. RSYNC_ARG0 is always
"rsyncd", followed by the options that were used in
RSYNC_ARG1, and so on. There will be a value of "."
indicating that the options are done and the path args
are beginning -- these contain similar information to
RSYNC_REQUEST, but with values separated and the module
name stripped off.
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
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.
These settings honor 2 environment variables: use RSYNC_SHELL to
set a shell to use when running the command (which otherwise
uses your system() call's default shell), and use
RSYNC_NO_XFER_EXEC to disable both options completely.
There are currently two config directives available that allow a config
file to incorporate the contents of other files: &include and &merge.
Both allow a reference to either a file or a directory. They differ in
how segregated the file's contents are considered to be.
The &include directive treats each file as more distinct, with each one
inheriting the defaults of the parent file, starting the parameter
parsing as globals/defaults, and leaving the defaults unchanged for the
parsing of the rest of the parent file.
The &merge directive, on the other hand, treats the file's contents as
if it were simply inserted in place of the directive, and thus it can
set parameters in a module started in another file, can affect the
defaults for other files, etc.
When an &include or &merge directive refers to a directory, it will
read in all the *.conf or *.inc files (respectively) that are contained
inside that directory (without any recursive scanning), with the files
sorted into alpha order. So, if you have a directory named "rsyncd.d"
with the files "foo.conf", "bar.conf", and "baz.conf" inside it, this
would be the same as this set of directives:
except that it adjusts as files are added and removed from the
The advantage of the &include directive is that you can define one or
more modules in a separate file without worrying about unintended side-
effects between the self-contained module files.
The advantage of the &merge directive is that you can load config
snippets that can be included into multiple module definitions, and you
can also set global values that will affect connections (such as
motd file), or globals that will affect other include files.
For example, this is a useful /etc/rsyncd.conf file:
port = 873
log file = /var/log/rsync.log
pid file = /var/lock/rsync.lock
This would merge any /etc/rsyncd.d/*.inc files (for global values that
should stay in effect), and then include any /etc/rsyncd.d/*.conf files
(defining modules without any global-value cross-talk).
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 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
You can also make use of SSL/TLS encryption if you put rsync behind an
SSL/TLS Daemon Setup
When setting up an rsync daemon for access via SSL/TLS, you will need
to configure a TCP proxy (such as haproxy or nginx) as the front-end
that handles the encryption.
o You should limit the access to the backend-rsyncd port to only
allow the proxy to connect. If it is on the same host as the
proxy, then configuring it to only listen on localhost is a good
o You should consider turning on the proxy protocol rsync-daemon
parameter if your proxy supports sending that information. The
examples below assume that this is enabled.
An example haproxy setup is as follows:
bind :::874 ssl crt /usr/local/etc/letsencrypt/example.com/combined.pem
server local-rsync 127.0.0.1:873 check send-proxy
An example nginx proxy setup is as follows:
listen 874 ssl;
listen [::]:874 ssl;
proxy_protocol on; # Requires rsyncd.conf "proxy protocol = true"
DAEMON CONFIG EXAMPLES
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 = yes
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 manpage is current for version 3.2.7 of rsync.
Rsync is distributed under the GNU General Public License. See the
file COPYING for details.
An rsync web site is available at https://rsync.samba.org/ and its
github project is https://github.com/WayneD/rsync.
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 originally written by Andrew Tridgell and Paul Mackerras.
Many people have later contributed to it. It is currently maintained by
Mailing lists for support and development are available at
rsyncd.conf from rsync 3.2.7 20 Oct 2022 rsyncd.conf(5)