As you might know, rsync, also known as Remote Sync, is a fast, versatile, and powerful tool that can be used to copy and sync files/directories from local to local, or local to remote hosts. For more details about rsync, check man pages:

# man rsync


Change SSH Port to Non-standard Port


As we all know, By default rsync uses default SSH port 22 to sync files over local to remote hosts and vice versa. We should change our remote server’s SSH port to tighten the security.


To do this, open and edit the SSH configuration /etc/ssh/sshd_config file:

# vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config


Find the following line. Uncomment and change the port number of your choice. I recommend you to choose any number which is very hard to guess.


Make sure you are using a unique number which is not used by existing services. Check this netstat article to know which services are running on which TCP/UDP ports.


For example, here I use port number 1431.

Port 1431


Save and close the file.


In RPM based systems such as RHEL, CentOS, and Scientific Linux 7, you need to allow the new port through your firewall or router.

# firewall-cmd --add-port 1431/tcp
# firewall-cmd --add-port 1431/tcp --permanent


On RHEL/CentOS/Scientific Linux 6 and above, you should also update selinux permissions to allow the port.

# iptables -A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -m state --state NEW -m tcp -p tcp --dport 1431 -j ACCEPT
# semanage port -a -t ssh_port_t -p tcp 1431


Finally, restart SSH service to take effect the changes.

# systemctl restart sshd        [On SystemD]
# service sshd restart          [On SysVinit]


Now let us see how to sync files using rsync with the non-standard port.


How to Rsync with non-standard SSH Port


Run the following command from the terminal to sync files/folders using Rsync with non-standard ssh port.


# rsync -arvz -e 'ssh -p <port-number>' --progress --delete user@remote-server:/path/to/remote/folder /path/to/local/folder


For the purpose of this tutorial, I will be using two systems.


Remote System Details:

IP Address:
User name: rootadminz
Sync folder: /backup1


Local System Details:

Operating System: Ubuntu 14.04 Desktop
IP Address:
Sync folder: /home/sk/backup2


Let us sync the contents of remote server’s /backup1 folder to my local system’s folder  /home/sk/backup2/.

$ sudo rsync -arvz -e 'ssh -p 1431' --progress --delete rootadminz@ /home/sk/backup2


Sample Output

rootadminz@'s password: receiving incremental file list backup1/ backup1/linux-headers-4.3.0-040300-generic_4.3.0-040300.201511020949_amd64.deb 752,876 100% 13.30MB/s 0:00:00 (xfr#1, to-chk=2/4) backup1/linux-headers-4.3.0-040300_4.3.0-040300.201511020949_all.deb 9,676,510 100% 12.50MB/s 0:00:00 (xfr#2, to-chk=1/4) backup1/linux-image-4.3.0-040300-generic_4.3.0-040300.201511020949_amd64.deb 56,563,302 100% 11.26MB/s 0:00:04 (xfr#3, to-chk=0/4) sent 85 bytes received 66,979,455 bytes 7,050,477.89 bytes/sec total size is 66,992,688 speedup is 1.00.


Let us check the contents of /backup1/ folder in the remote server.

$ sudo ls -l /backup1/


Sample Output

total 65428 -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 9676510 Dec 9 13:44 linux-headers-4.3.0-040300_4.3.0-040300.201511020949_all.deb -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 752876 Dec 9 13:44 linux-headers-4.3.0-040300-generic_4.3.0-040300.201511020949_amd64.deb -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 56563302 Dec 9 13:44 linux-image-4.3.0-040300-generic_4.3.0-040300.201511020949_amd64.deb


Now, let us check the contents of /backup2/ folder of the local system.

$ ls /home/sk/backup2/


Sample Output



As you see in the above output, the contents of /backup1/ have been successfully copied to my local system’s  /home/sk/backup2/ directory.


Verify /backup1/ folder contents:

$ ls /home/sk/backup2/backup1/


Sample Output

linux-headers-4.3.0-040300_4.3.0-040300.201511020949_all.deb linux-image-4.3.0-040300-generic_4.3.0-040300.201511020949_amd64.deb linux-headers-4.3.0-040300-generic_4.3.0-040300.201511020949_amd64.deb


See, both remote and local system’s folders have the same files.

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