Is there a way to limit the speed of scp (or rsync)? I couldn't find any information in the man page, nor on the internet.

3 Answers 3


From the man page: -l limit Limits the used bandwidth, specified in Kbit/s.

  • 1
    Plus is you want to do it with rsync, you need to specify/add the -e "ssh -l xxx" on the command
    – Leo
    Oct 21, 2010 at 13:46
  • 2
    ssh -l xxx means login as user xxx. Oct 21, 2010 at 14:06
  • I'm very sorry. I did not check my work (I hate when people do that here!!) rsync uses this according to the man page: --bwlimit=KBPS limit I/O bandwidth; KBytes per second. I've not tested it, but it does say that this is for daemon mode.
    – Leo
    Oct 21, 2010 at 14:16
  • everybody says they have great success with the -l option in scp, but I'm trying it on my raspberry pi and it seems to be ignored. No matter what I set it to, it maxes out my bandwidth.
    – Stu
    Dec 25, 2012 at 1:21
  • @Stu I tested it on a Raspberry Pi with the default software installed. And the -l option works as advertised in the man page. The transfer speed fluctuates a bit, but it appears to keep the right speed on average.
    – kasperd
    Nov 24, 2016 at 22:25

I'm not convinced the -l setting works properly with big values: On my RHEL6 system if see:

-l not specified

  • Expected: Whatever the wan can handle
  • Actual: 20 Megabytes per second

-l 8000

  • Expected: 1 Megabyte per second
  • Actual: 1 Megabyte per second

-l 80000

  • Expected: 10 Megabytes per second
  • Actual: 150 Kilobytes per second

Using the "-l" switch on scp works very well. Its wise to set this switch with lower values than your maximum upload speed.

About higher values, if scp not attending the defined speed this question is related at your ISP that delimitated your upload speed after some seconds.

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