Useful Features of Rsync Command in Linux

Today, I would like to share about usefulness of rsync command in Linux and how to back up data with cron job. Let’s take a look.

Rsync (Remote Sync) is the most commonly used command for copying and synchronizing files and directories remotely as well as locally in Linux/Unix systems. Data can be copied, synchronized and backup both remotely and locally across directories, disks & networks.

Advantages of Rsync Command

  • It efficiently copies and sync files from source to destination remotely or locally.
  • It supports copying links, devices, owners, groups and permissions.
  • rsync allows to transfer just the differences between source and destination. The first time, it copies the whole content of a file or a directory from source to destination but from next time, it copies only the changed files/data to the destination.
  • Due to using compression and decompression method while transferring data, rsync consumes less bandwidth.

Installing Rsync

rsync is preinstalled on most Linux distributions and mac-OS. If rsync hasn’t been installed on the system, it can be installed easily using your distribution’s package manager as follows.

$ sudo apt-get install rsync [On Debian/Ubuntu & Mint]

$ pacman -S rsync [On Arch Linux]

$ emerge sys-apps/rsync [On Gentoo]

$ sudo dnf install rsync [On Fedora/CentOS/RHEL and Rocky Linux/AlmaLinux]

$ sudo zypper install rsync [On openSUSE]

Rsync Basic Command Syntax

Local to Local

rsync [OPTION] [SRC] [DEST]

Local to Remote


Remote to Local


Common options[OPTION] used with rsync commands

-v : verbose

-r : copies data recursively (but don’t preserve timestamps and permission while transferring data.

-a : archive mode, which allows copying files recursively and it also preserves symbolic links, file permissions, user & group ownerships, and timestamps.

-z : compress file data.

-h : human-readable, output numbers in a human-readable format.

For more options, the following command can be used.

$ rsync -h

For example, to backup data from local to local(external hard drive), the following command is commonly used.

rsync -azv /home/username/projects /media/username/SPHardDrive/BackupFolder

Schedule backups

To enable scheduled backups, cron can be used for the rsync commands.


This is all how to copy, synchronize and backup files & directories. And I recommend the link to learn more about rsync.

Hope you enjoy that.

By Asahi




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