Sometimes I want to create a backup of my data on another server. Or, maybe, copy some data from one place to another efficiently. The easiest thing to do in those cases is often to use a standard command rsync.

This is a short note on how to create a backup using only rsync command.


  • Data you want to sync
  • A server you want to sync to
  • Free space on that server

The basic command I use

rsync -av --partial --progress --delete --exclude "Library"  ~/ username@address:/path/to/directory/


rsync is the tool we are using

-av makes it recursive (not only) and adds verbosity (more information) to the output

--partial keeps the partial file in the case of interruption during the transfer

--delete deletes extraneous files from the receiving side. This is a very important option for doing a backup. It means that if the file is not present locally (e.g., on your laptop) but is present on the server (maybe from previous backup), that file will be deleted

--exclude excludes files from the transfer. In macOS “Library” contains things like preferences and some cashes, so I don’t want to keep it in the backup

~/ is the path to home directory I want to make a backup of

username@address:/path/to/directory/ is the path on your server where you want to sync your data to

See more

For more information on rsync, type in your terminal

man rsync