Sync Files Between Servers using rsync

This is a follow up post to Copy/Transfer Files Between Two Servers Using Linux SCP. Transferring via scp copies all the files which is what you want sometimes, but I find rsync to be a much better solution in most instances.

I'll provide a handful of ways I tend to use rsync but check out the full Linux man page for the a complete description of rsync and all the available options.

Synchronize from Local Server to Remote

rsync -avuz /var/www/ root@

// only one file
rsync -avuz /var/www/ root@

  • a = archive mode
  • v = increase verbose
  • u = skip files that are newer on the receiver
  • z = compress file data during the transfer

    Archive mode is the same as options -rlptgoD
  • r = recurse into directories
  • l = copy symlinks as symlinks
  • p = preserve permissions
  • t = preserve modification times
  • g = preserve group
  • o = preserve owner (super-user only)
  • D = preserve device & special files

Synchronize from Local Directory to Another Local Directory

rsync -avuz /var/www/ /user/websites/

View the progress of the Sync

A percentage of each file's status will be displayed which is useful if you're transferring large files. Not so useful for tons of small files.

rsync -avuz --progress /var/www/ root@

Run Sync in the Background

If you're running a large sync with either lots of files or large files, you probably want to run it in the background. Nothings more frustrating than starting a large sync and then find out later your connection with the server dropped. Below will keep the job running even if you're connection gets dropped - actually you can exit the SSH session if you want. The job will continue to run.

  • Start rsync command
  • Press Ctrl+Z
  • Enter bg command to place job to the background
  • You can then view the job (or any other jobs) running in the background, by entering jobs command.

These are just a few ways to use rsync, but there are tons of other ways. If you're interested in leaning about some more checkout How to Backup Linux? 15 rsync Command Examples.

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