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.

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