Rsync Cheat Sheet

This is a cheat-sheet for the rsync syntax with examples for different use-cases I needed in the past. It is not meant as a full tutorial about rsync.

Copy Directory

To copy the content from dir-a to dir-b you can use rsync like that.

[tux@server]$ rsync -av source destination


Exclude single file or directory

If you only want to exclude a single file or directory, you can use the parameter exclude.

[tux@server]$ rsync -a --exclude="path/to/exclude" source destination

Exclude List

You can use an exclude list with rsync. Just create a file and add one entry per line.



When running the rsync command, you need to include the list with the exclude-from Parameter.

[tux@server]$ rsync -a --exclude-from="path/to/exclude-list.txt" source destination

Delete additional files

If you set the --delete flag rsync will delete files in the destination, that are not present in the source.

[tux@server]$ rsync -av --delete source destination


Set the --progress flag to get an progress-indication. This is more useful for larger files, since the progress is on a per-file-basis. If you have lots of small files, you will only clutter up your output.

[tux@server]$ rsync -av --progress source destination

Synchronize two Directories

If you combine the copy and delete function, you can sync two directories.

[tux@server]$ rsync -av --delete --progress source destination

Other Parameters

Preserve Permissions


Preserve Owner


Preserve Group

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Jannik Rehkemper

I'm an professional Linux Administrator and Hobby Programmer. My training as an IT-Professional started in 2019 and ended in 2022. Since 2023 I'm working as an Linux Administrator.