Monthly Archives: November 2012

Rsync on Debian

I’ve acquired a few more Linux servers recently with Debian Squeeze installed (version 6.0.6 according to #cat /etc/debian_version).

Installing Rsync is easy:

apt-get install rsync

The tricks are in getting the config files done, actually running the service, connecting, etc.

The default config file is in /etc/default/rsync  which sets up how rsync will run.

The default settings file is expected as /etc/rsync.conf  which I change to set to /etc/rsyncd/rsyncd.conf   just so I am clear which config is ‘mine’ to work on.  The actual change in the /etc/default/rsync file is shown here with the RSYNC_CONFIG_FILE line enabled (removed the # at the start) and with the path setting as described.

# which file should be used as the configuration file for rsync.
# This file is used instead of the default /etc/rsyncd.conf
# Warning: This option has no effect if the daemon is accessed
#          using a remote shell. When using a different file for
#          rsync you might want to symlink /etc/rsyncd.conf to
#          that file.


The other important bit is the Rsync is not enabled by default and is therefore not going to run or be running!  In the same /etc/default/rsync file edit the RSYNC_ENABLE option to change false to true

# start rsync in daemon mode from init.d script?
#  only allowed values are "true", "false", and "inetd"
#  Use "inetd" if you want to start the rsyncd from inetd,
#  all this does is prevent the init.d script from printing a message
#  about not starting rsyncd (you still need to modify inetd’s config yourself).
#service rsync restart

I used the restart command even though I knew that it was not running (yet) as I can reuse the command via Ctrl-R when I do more edits to the config settings

/etc/default# service rsync restart
Restarting rsync daemon: rsyncrsync daemon not running, attempting to start. … (warning).
missing or empty config file /etc/rsyncd/rsyncd.conf … failed!

And as expected there is a warning that it was not running to be able to stop it, and then the start action fails as there is no config file, as yet.

So that is all good.

Next create the appropriate config file. Easiest to start with the example conf file from the default install

/etc/rsyncd/# cp /usr/share/doc/rsync/examples/rsyncd.conf .

Then edit it…

# sample rsyncd.conf configuration file
#motd file=/etc/motd
log file=/var/log/rsyncd
# for pid file, do not use /var/run/ if
# you are going to run rsync out of the init.d script.
# pid file=/var/run/
#syslog facility=daemon
#socket options=

The sections in the config file are based on the sample config file and in the top Global Options I only check that the log file path is correct and enabled

For each backup set that is going to be inbound to this server I add a new section to the config file:


comment = public archive <– a clever comment
path = /var/www/pub <– set the path
      use chroot = yes
#      max connections=10 <– do not set it to 1
lock file = /var/lock/rsyncd
# the default for read only is yes…
read only = yes <– change this to no so source files can be written
list = yes
       uid = nobody <– the username for the newly uploaded files
       gid = nogroup <– the group for the files
#       exclude =
#       exclude from =
#       include =
#       include from =
#       auth users = <– comma space delimited list of names that appear in the secrets file
#       secrets file =/etc/rsyncd.secrets <– a text file with a username:password
        strict modes = yes
#       hosts allow = <– ip address for the source system
#       hosts deny =
       ignore errors = no
       ignore nonreadable = yes
       transfer logging = no
#       log format = %t: host %h (%a) %o %f (%l bytes). Total %b bytes.
       timeout = 600
refuse options = checksum dry-run
       dont compress = *.gz *.tgz *.zip *.z *.rpm *.deb *.iso *.bz2 *.tbz

and after each update to the config file restart the service to load the new config and confirm that Rsync will run with it.

/etc/default# service rsync restart

I’ve not looked at SSH / SSL type connections for Rsync in this. The main thing was to get Rsync setup as a server and control the inbound traffic based on accounts, servers, and ip restrictions.

Another post will update SSH configuration.

Rsync Backups Windows Servers

Backups are problematic. It is a love / hate thing for me. I love having them when I need them but I hate the prep work that goes into getting them done. Of course, that is offset by the hate for the work I have to do when there isn’t one…..  … in any case backups are necessary.

Ok. So setting up yet another server for Rsync backups. This time Windows to a Linux based server. Of course I’ve never documented the process in the past so this time I will spend the extra minutes and make a complete note of what I am doing so I have a consistent process for the next time. I also decided to look at what options are available to provide minimum fuss.

I looked at the various options of cwRsync (which I have used before), Grsync, Cygwin with Rsync as a self-build, a few tools that appear to only support their specific hosted solution like  After doing some reading and some basic testing I scrapped all of them and was about to give up when I tried QtdSync and finally found something that worked as intended, but…  I cannot get it to schedule the backups.

For the record:

cwRsync: skip this. The Windows GUI version is paid only without a trial to see what it is like. The free GPL version is command line and the instructions are vague. I know I have used this in the past but the developer seems to have changed focus.

Grsync: Appears to be a useful GUI but it is unclear as to how to set it to connect to a remote Rsync server and as a result I uninstalled within a few minutes.

QtdSync. SourceForge, GPL Free Software. Simple installation. On the test server it worked fine. I then noted all the steps as I installed to a production server. But I cannot get it to run as a service or schedule to work without being logged into the system. I think it looks like a great utility for desktop to server / NAS type devices for home or small business but it just does not cut it for this. I think it will be up for it at some stage, given a bit of new breath in the development.

DeltaCopy: Is held apparently in high regard and I spent several hours on this and gave up.  It connected and everything appeared to be ok, except I kept getting an error that it was wanting a directory to exist on the remote backup server before it would transfer files. If I manually added the directory it worked fine. I tried many things but could not figure it out.

That was a few days ago and I have come back to it today and it worked first time. The chair to keyboard interface playing up again!

I’ll document how I’ve used it as another post. Suffice to say I like DeltaCopy for Windows server Rsync backups.

Kayako Helpdesk and SSL https connections

Using https with Kayako is not as clean as it could be. It has been an ongoing discussion for a few years now.

The process that I have used is to set the admin panel options as described in this Kayako forum thread and then add a redirect in the .htacess file.

In the Kayako admin page go to the General Settings and change the URL from http:// to be and save the new setting.

Then go to the Diagnostics page (almost at the bottom of the admin list) and select Rebuild Cache.

Assuming that you are on a Linux platform then editing the .htaccess file will sort the last piece.

What this is doing is redirecting http to https. In the root of the Kayako installation edit the .htaccess file

RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on
RewriteRule .* https://%{SERVER_NAME}%{REQUEST_URI} [R,L]

RewriteEngine On
if the .htaccess file already has content this might need to be moved within the file to get it to work correctly just in the event that there is a clash of settings. But, for a blank .htaccess file just add these lines and save it.

Again with assumptions, that the Apache configuration is actually looking at the .htaccess for settings but that is another conversation.

So from the Kayako perspective everything internally is https and if someone does call for http the .htaccess redirects them.

Windows 2008 Server virtual server clock resets

There appears to be a lot of conflicting information about configuring Windows time on a virtualised Windows 2008 server. Some of this will stem from the variety of hypervisors in use.

In this case the Windows 2008 server is running under Hyper-V and it appears to be hitting the hardware clock of the host system on every restart.

So depending on what you read you will find advise to manage via the Hyper-V management in the host (which sometimes is not accessible in hosted environments) or to just turn off the Hyper-V sync (depending on which of the posts you believe on that page) and work on the NTP settings.

For this VPS I don’t have access to the Hyper-V and don’t know what the settings are.

In summary I have modified the w32time setting to use an external ntp server at the command prompt rather than relying on the graphical interface that reported the correct settings but running a w32tm query suggested different settings existed.

From a command prompt:


w32tm /query /status # this just confirmed that the server was not using the ntp server that was set in the graphical interface

w32tm /config /syncfromflags:manual /

w32tm /query /status # confirm changes


and with Regedit (this is possibly redundant but I’d prefer to see more frequent checks for NTP than 24 hours and 15 minutes seems ok. Could easily be an hour using 3600 as the setting.)


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesW32TimeTimeProvidersNtpClient (SpecialPollInterval)    and modified Decimal value to 900 (15 minutes)


And after 2 restarts this morning it all appears to have resolved correctly and the correct time zone hours are still being displayed.

References for results:

Managing the NTP settings under Windows 2008 provided the basic commands and I also read this but the syntax for 3 sources did not work (I did not try to work out why as I am ok with one NTP server selected).

This page provided the regedit info that I needed to get the NTP working every 15 minutes rather than 7 days apart.

This blog post over at Apeture was a funny read and includes some more registry info which helped to clarify the NTP settings.