Backing up data with rsync

I recently discovered a tool which turned out to be useful for backing up my local folders, namely: rsync. It’s a straightforward command-line utility that makes it really easy to maintain a mirror of local data on any distant support. Basic usage for this purpose is:

$ rsync -auvz --delete ./local-folder/ /mnt/remote-folder/


The verbose mode enabled by -v is not necessary depending on your use case. These other parameters can also come in handy:

Check out man rsync for more details and options.

Trailing slashes

The only thing to be careful about with rsync is the addition, or not, of a trailing slash. If there is no trailing slash, the corresponding object is treated as a target, while if there is a trailing slash, the corresponding object is treated as a directory containing the target files. It's clearer with an example: suppose we have a directory foo containing the file README, and we want to sync it to a directory bar. If we do:

$ rsync -auvz ./foo ./bar/

Then foo will be copied to the target location bar/, and we will end up with the following file tree:


On the contrary, if we do:

$ rsync -auvz ./foo/ ./bar/

Then the content of foo is synced with the content of bar, and we get:


So, make sure that the source and destination folders are consistent trailing-slash-wise.


There are no comments yet. Feel free to leave a reply using the form below.

Post a comment

You can use Markdown with $\LaTeX$ formulas in your comment.

You agree to the publication of your comment on this page under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Your email address will not be published.