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What is the best way to duplicate files on server via ssh?

In my case: I'm talking about duplicating magento shop. (15000 files ~ 50MB)

cp -a source destination

Is taking hours... (in my case server is 2.4 Xeon, 2GB RAM)

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migrated from Jan 17 '12 at 9:02

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One word: rsync.

Note that if you're on a slow link, or the server is under heavy load, the tool used for copying won't be the bottleneck, and any way of copying will be slow anyway.

This should give you the basic usage for copying between your local computer and the remote server:

To copy from local computer to a remote server (you need to replace the paths, user name and host address, of course):

rsync -avz -e ssh /path/on/local/computer
  • -a archive
  • -v verbose
  • -z compress
  • -e ssh "use a SSH tunnel"

To copy in the other direction, switch the paths (first is from, second is to):

rsync -avz -e ssh /path/on/local/computer

But rsync is useful even for copying things around on the same server:

rsync -av /path-to/copy/from /path_to/copy/to
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Make note that @Piskvor left the -z option out for local copying since it adds unnecessary overhead. IMHO, you should only use -z when using rsync across a slow network link. If copying large amounts of data over 100Base-T, you may be just fine without -z. With a fast network connection, using compression can peg your CPU and starve other processes. – tomlogic Jan 16 '12 at 17:34
@tomlogic: Good point - in other words, don't use -zfor LAN copy or copying within one machine; test with and without -z for copy across the Internet (one or the other may be faster, depending on many things). – Piskvor Jan 16 '12 at 17:38

Another word: scp

scp /path/on/local/computer

For one-shot deals, scp is handy. If it's a lot of files, then rsync is a good idea. If a connection is dropped, rsync can pick up where it left off.

I knew that rsync had compression (-z), and have just learned that scp does as well (-C).

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Well, IIRC they are both using the compression algorithms of SSH, at least for network ops. – Piskvor Jan 16 '12 at 17:37

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