How to copy files with rsync over SSH ?

In this article we will help you to sync data using rsync over ssh in Linux Operating System.

What is requirements ?

Ubuntu, Debian or CentOS should be installed on your computer or server.

SSH access if you don’t have ssh installed kindly install it.

Ubuntu :

sudo apt-get install openssh-server

CentOS :

sudo yum install -y openssh-server 

Rsync is a great and simple tool that allows you to transfer and synchronize data between servers and clients. Using SSH you can perform this tool.

Install rsync using command

If this command is not available by default in the server we can easily add it using the default package manager from repository :


sudo apt-get install rsync

CentOS :

sudo yum install rsync

Copy a file from local server to remote server:

rsync -v -e ssh /home/ubuntu/textfile.txt [email protected]:/home/remoteuser/data

In the above example means remote server IP, we will copy a file called textfile.txt from the current server to the remote server and will place it inside the folder /home/remoteuser/data

If the remote server is configured with not default SSH port (other than 22) we can specify that inside the -e option as below :

rsync -v -e "ssh -p2020" /home/ubuntu/textfile.txt [email protected]:/home/remoteuser/data

Again the textfile.txt will be copied inside the /home/remoteuser/data folder on the remote server.

We can copy a file from remote server into a local folder:

rsync -v -e ssh [email protected]:/home/remoteuser/data/textfile.txt /home/ubuntu/

In the above example we will copy a file called textfile.txt from the remote server to a local folder called /home/ubuntu//.

To synchronize local folder on remote server:

rsync -r -a -v -e ssh --delete /home/ubuntu/Lfolder  [email protected]:/home/remoteuser/Rfolder

Synchronize folder from the remote server on the local server:

rsync -r -a -v -e ssh --delete [email protected]:/home/remoteuser/Rfolder /home/ubuntu/Lfolder  

Why we should use “/” at the end of path:

If “/” is used at the end of the source folder, rsync will copy the content of the folder. but if you are not using “/” at the end of source folder, rsync will copy the folder itself and the content of the folder.

If “/” is used at the end of the destination folder, rsync will paste the data directly in the folder. But if you are not using “/” at the end of destination folder, rsync will create a folder with that name and paste the data inside that folder.

Here is a list of options available for common rsync:

  • –delete – delete files that don’t exist on sender’s server
  • -v – verbose (-vv – This will provide more detailed information while running command )
  • -e “ssh options” – This option specify the ssh as remote shell
  • -a – archive mode – it is preserving permissions
  • -r – recursively into directory
  • -z – compress data during transfer
  • –exclude ‘foldername’ – excludes the mention folder from transfer
  • -P – show progress during transferring data
for more learning on linux command you can go through my blog page.
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