Sign up ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm trying to syncronize files from a remote server that is not reliable, meaning the connection tends to fail "randomly" with

rsync: connection unexpectedly closed

Rsync is called with --partial, so I'd like to be able to call rsync in a loop until files are fully transfered. There doesn't seem to be a flag to tell rsync to retry.

What would be the best way to script it? A bash for loop?

share|improve this question
While the answers below are helpful, it might be a better idea to find out why it's failing and make it stop. I assume you control the server, the client and the network in between, so you can run tcpdump at various places to see how it was closed. Perhaps one of your firewall or VPN devices is closing the connection? –  MarkR Jan 2 '10 at 17:30
The server it's connecting to is a shared host, so I don't have root access to it. I might look into why it is closing, but for now I'm more than happy to just have it retry. Thanks anyway for the heads up –  Bruno Lopes Jan 3 '10 at 2:45
I was shocked to discover rsync didn't actually have the ability to retry! –  Michael Apr 13 at 16:36

2 Answers 2

up vote 13 down vote accepted

If you are syncing everything in one sync, call rsync in a loop until rsync gives you a successful return code.

Something like:

while [[ RC -ne 0 ]]
   rsync -a .....   

This will loop, calling rsync, until it gives a return code of 0. You may want to add a sleep in there to keep from DOSing your server.

share|improve this answer
you can just write while ! rsync -a .... ;do sleep 5;done –  Justin Jan 1 '10 at 23:35
just be careful how you use this, for example, if tried to run it via cron then you could run into concurrency issues. –  Keiran Holloway Jan 2 '10 at 3:20
This'll turn into an infinite loop if there's a non-transitent error (e.g. a permissions error reading or writing files). I'd recommend checking rsync's exit status for specific network errors, something like RC=12; while [[ $RC -eq 12 || $RC -eq 30 ]] (or whatever exit statuses you're seeing from network drops). –  Gordon Davisson Jan 2 '10 at 23:09
As I'm not running this (completely) unattended, infinite loops and concurrency are not much of an issue, thank you. –  Bruno Lopes Jan 3 '10 at 2:46
It's a shame rsync doesn't have this feature built in, because any kind of shell based loop will prompt for a password in cases where automatic authentication isn't available or appropriate. –  Michael Apr 13 at 21:15

I ran into this same problem a while back. In the end I wrote something similar to David's answer, but gussied it up a little with max retries, responding to Ctrl-C, and such:

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.