What Is the Alternative to Rsync in Command-Line?


In the world of command-line file synchronization, rsync has long been the go-to tool for many users. However, if you’re seeking alternatives to rsync, you’re in the right place. This article will delve into a variety of robust alternatives that can help you achieve efficient and secure file synchronization on the command line. Whether you’re a seasoned Linux user or just exploring the command line, we’ve got you covered.

What is rsync?

Before we dive into alternatives, let’s briefly discuss what rsync is and why people use it.

Rsync Overview Rsync is a powerful command-line utility that enables users to synchronize files and directories between different locations. It’s known for its ability to efficiently transfer data, handling updates and deletions with ease. While rsync is incredibly useful, it’s always a good idea to have alternatives at your disposal, depending on your specific needs.

The Alternatives

Here are some noteworthy alternatives to rsync, each with its unique features and use cases:

1. scp (Secure Copy) Secure Copy, often abbreviated as scp, is a built-in command-line tool for securely copying files between a local and remote host. It offers simplicity and security, making it an excellent choice for quick transfers.

2. Rclone Rclone is a versatile and feature-rich tool that can synchronize data with a wide range of cloud storage providers, including Google Drive, Dropbox, and more. It’s perfect for cloud-based file synchronization.

3. Syncthing Syncthing is an open-source, peer-to-peer file synchronization tool that ensures your data stays in sync across multiple devices. It’s known for its simplicity and privacy-focused approach.

4. Duplicity Duplicity is a robust backup tool that uses the rsync algorithm under the hood. It offers encryption and incremental backups, making it an excellent choice for data protection.

5. Unison Unison is a file synchronization tool that excels in synchronizing files between two different machines. It’s known for its cross-platform compatibility and conflict resolution capabilities.

6. lftp lftp is a sophisticated command-line FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client that can handle file synchronization tasks. It’s suitable for advanced users who need FTP capabilities.

7. rsync.net If you’re looking for a managed solution, rsync.net provides secure, cloud-based storage with rsync compatibility. It’s a hassle-free option for users who want reliability and convenience.

8. Robocopy (Windows) For Windows users, Robocopy is a powerful built-in command-line tool that offers robust file synchronization and mirroring capabilities.

Pros and Cons

Let’s weigh the pros and cons of these alternatives to rsync to help you make an informed decision:

scpSimple, secureLimited to local and remote copying
RcloneCloud storage support, feature-richRequires configuration for each service
SyncthingPrivacy-focused, peer-to-peer syncingMay require more setup for beginners
DuplicityEncryption, incremental backupsCommand-line interface may be complex
UnisonCross-platform, conflict resolutionRequires installation on both machines
lftpAdvanced FTP capabilitiesMay not be user-friendly for novices
rsync.netManaged service, rsync compatibilityPaid service with pricing considerations
RobocopyBuilt-in, powerful (Windows only)Windows-specific, limited to Windows

What is the alternative to rsync in command-line?

Are you wondering what the best alternative to rsync is for your specific needs? Let’s explore some frequently asked questions to guide you further.


Which alternative is the most secure for transferring sensitive data?

When it comes to security, scp and Duplicity stand out. Scp offers secure copying, while Duplicity provides encryption for your backups.

I use cloud storage extensively. Which alternative should I consider?

Rclone is your best bet for seamless synchronization with various cloud storage providers.

Can I sync files between my Linux and Windows machines?

Yes, Unison and Robocopy (for Windows users) can help you synchronize files between different operating systems.

Are there any user-friendly alternatives for beginners?

If you’re new to command-line tools, consider Syncthing or rsync.net for their user-friendly interfaces.

Is there a free alternative that offers rsync-like functionality?

While rsync itself is free, some of the alternatives listed here may have limitations or require payment for certain features.

What if I want both simplicity and security in an alternative?

scp is an excellent choice for simplicity and security, making it a great option for many users.

What is the alternative to rsync in command-line?

One alternative to rsync in the command-line is “cp” (copy).

Is there anything better than rsync?

There are several alternatives that may be considered better than rsync for specific use cases, such as “rclone” for cloud storage synchronization or “robocopy” on Windows for advanced features.


In the realm of command-line file synchronization, rsync is not the only player in the game. There are various alternatives to rsync, each catering to different needs and preferences. Whether you prioritize security, cloud compatibility, or simplicity, there’s a tool on this list for you.

So, the next time you need to sync files via the command line, consider exploring these alternatives. Remember that the best choice depends on your specific requirements and the platforms you use. Happy syncing!

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