First, you’ll need to configure rclone. As the object storage systems have quite complicated authentication these are kept in a config file. (See the --config entry for how to find the config file and choose its location.)

The easiest way to make the config is to run rclone with the config option:

rclone config

See the following for detailed instructions for


Rclone syncs a directory tree from one storage system to another.

Its syntax is like this

Syntax: [options] subcommand <parameters> <parameters...>

Source and destination paths are specified by the name you gave the storage system in the config file then the sub path, eg “drive:myfolder” to look at “myfolder” in Google drive.

You can define as many storage paths as you like in the config file.


rclone uses a system of subcommands. For example

rclone ls remote:path # lists a remote
rclone copy /local/path remote:path # copies /local/path to the remote
rclone sync /local/path remote:path # syncs /local/path to the remote

The main rclone commands with most used first

See the commands index for the full list.

Copying single files

rclone normally syncs or copies directories. However, if the source remote points to a file, rclone will just copy that file. The destination remote must point to a directory - rclone will give the error Failed to create file system for "remote:file": is a file not a directory if it isn’t.

For example, suppose you have a remote with a file in called test.jpg, then you could copy just that file like this

rclone copy remote:test.jpg /tmp/download

The file test.jpg will be placed inside /tmp/download.

This is equivalent to specifying

rclone copy --files-from /tmp/files remote: /tmp/download

Where /tmp/files contains the single line


It is recommended to use copy when copying individual files, not sync. They have pretty much the same effect but copy will use a lot less memory.

Syntax of remote paths

The syntax of the paths passed to the rclone command are as follows.


This refers to the local file system.

On Windows only \ may be used instead of / in local paths only, non local paths must use /.

These paths needn’t start with a leading / - if they don’t then they will be relative to the current directory.


This refers to a directory path/to/dir on remote: as defined in the config file (configured with rclone config).


On most backends this is refers to the same directory as remote:path/to/dir and that format should be preferred. On a very small number of remotes (FTP, SFTP, Dropbox for business) this will refer to a different directory. On these, paths without a leading / will refer to your “home” directory and paths with a leading / will refer to the root.


This is an advanced form for creating remotes on the fly. backend should be the name or prefix of a backend (the type in the config file) and all the configuration for the backend should be provided on the command line (or in environment variables).

Here are some examples:

rclone lsd --http-url :http:

To list all the directories in the root of

rclone lsf --http-url :http:path/to/dir

To list files and directories in

rclone copy --http-url :http:path/to/dir /tmp/dir

To copy files and directories in to /tmp/dir.

rclone copy --sftp-host :sftp:path/to/dir /tmp/dir

To copy files and directories from in the relative directory path/to/dir to /tmp/dir using sftp.

Quoting and the shell

When you are typing commands to your computer you are using something called the command line shell. This interprets various characters in an OS specific way.

Here are some gotchas which may help users unfamiliar with the shell rules

Linux / OSX

If your names have spaces or shell metacharacters (eg *, ?, $, ', " etc) then you must quote them. Use single quotes ' by default.

rclone copy 'Important files?' remote:backup

If you want to send a ' you will need to use ", eg

rclone copy "O'Reilly Reviews" remote:backup

The rules for quoting metacharacters are complicated and if you want the full details you’ll have to consult the manual page for your shell.


If your names have spaces in you need to put them in ", eg

rclone copy "E:\folder name\folder name\folder name" remote:backup

If you are using the root directory on its own then don’t quote it (see #464 for why), eg

rclone copy E:\ remote:backup

Copying files or directories with : in the names

rclone uses : to mark a remote name. This is, however, a valid filename component in non-Windows OSes. The remote name parser will only search for a : up to the first / so if you need to act on a file or directory like this then use the full path starting with a /, or use ./ as a current directory prefix.

So to sync a directory called sync:me to a remote called remote: use

rclone sync ./sync:me remote:path


rclone sync /full/path/to/sync:me remote:path

Server Side Copy

Most remotes (but not all - see the overview) support server side copy.

This means if you want to copy one folder to another then rclone won’t download all the files and re-upload them; it will instruct the server to copy them in place.


rclone copy s3:oldbucket s3:newbucket

Will copy the contents of oldbucket to newbucket without downloading and re-uploading.

Remotes which don’t support server side copy will download and re-upload in this case.

Server side copies are used with sync and copy and will be identified in the log when using the -v flag. The move command may also use them if remote doesn’t support server side move directly. This is done by issuing a server side copy then a delete which is much quicker than a download and re-upload.

Server side copies will only be attempted if the remote names are the same.

This can be used when scripting to make aged backups efficiently, eg

rclone sync remote:current-backup remote:previous-backup
rclone sync /path/to/files remote:current-backup


Rclone has a number of options to control its behaviour.

Options that take parameters can have the values passed in two ways, --option=value or --option value. However boolean (true/false) options behave slightly differently to the other options in that --boolean sets the option to true and the absence of the flag sets it to false. It is also possible to specify --boolean=false or --boolean=true. Note that --boolean false is not valid - this is parsed as --boolean and the false is parsed as an extra command line argument for rclone.

Options which use TIME use the go time parser. A duration string is a possibly signed sequence of decimal numbers, each with optional fraction and a unit suffix, such as “300ms”, “-1.5h” or “2h45m”. Valid time units are “ns”, “us” (or “µs”), “ms”, “s”, “m”, “h”.

Options which use SIZE use kByte by default. However, a suffix of b for bytes, k for kBytes, M for MBytes, G for GBytes, T for TBytes and P for PBytes may be used. These are the binary units, eg 1, 2**10, 2**20, 2**30 respectively.


When using sync, copy or move any files which would have been overwritten or deleted are moved in their original hierarchy into this directory.

If --suffix is set, then the moved files will have the suffix added to them. If there is a file with the same path (after the suffix has been added) in DIR, then it will be overwritten.

The remote in use must support server side move or copy and you must use the same remote as the destination of the sync. The backup directory must not overlap the destination directory.

For example

rclone sync /path/to/local remote:current --backup-dir remote:old

will sync /path/to/local to remote:current, but for any files which would have been updated or deleted will be stored in remote:old.

If running rclone from a script you might want to use today’s date as the directory name passed to --backup-dir to store the old files, or you might want to pass --suffix with today’s date.

See --compare-dest and --copy-dest.

--bind string

Local address to bind to for outgoing connections. This can be an IPv4 address (, an IPv6 address (1234::789A) or host name. If the host name doesn’t resolve or resolves to more than one IP address it will give an error.


This option controls the bandwidth limit. Limits can be specified in two ways: As a single limit, or as a timetable.

Single limits last for the duration of the session. To use a single limit, specify the desired bandwidth in kBytes/s, or use a suffix b|k|M|G. The default is 0 which means to not limit bandwidth.

For example, to limit bandwidth usage to 10 MBytes/s use --bwlimit 10M

It is also possible to specify a “timetable” of limits, which will cause certain limits to be applied at certain times. To specify a timetable, format your entries as “WEEKDAY-HH:MM,BANDWIDTH WEEKDAY-HH:MM,BANDWIDTH…” where: WEEKDAY is optional element. It could be written as whole world or only using 3 first characters. HH:MM is an hour from 00:00 to 23:59.

An example of a typical timetable to avoid link saturation during daytime working hours could be:

--bwlimit "08:00,512 12:00,10M 13:00,512 18:00,30M 23:00,off"

In this example, the transfer bandwidth will be every day set to 512kBytes/sec at 8am. At noon, it will raise to 10Mbytes/s, and drop back to 512kBytes/sec at 1pm. At 6pm, the bandwidth limit will be set to 30MBytes/s, and at 11pm it will be completely disabled (full speed). Anything between 11pm and 8am will remain unlimited.

An example of timetable with WEEKDAY could be:

--bwlimit "Mon-00:00,512 Fri-23:59,10M Sat-10:00,1M Sun-20:00,off"

It mean that, the transfer bandwidth will be set to 512kBytes/sec on Monday. It will raise to 10Mbytes/s before the end of Friday. At 10:00 on Sunday it will be set to 1Mbyte/s. From 20:00 at Sunday will be unlimited.

Timeslots without weekday are extended to whole week. So this one example:

--bwlimit "Mon-00:00,512 12:00,1M Sun-20:00,off"

Is equal to this:

--bwlimit "Mon-00:00,512Mon-12:00,1M Tue-12:00,1M Wed-12:00,1M Thu-12:00,1M Fri-12:00,1M Sat-12:00,1M Sun-12:00,1M Sun-20:00,off"

Bandwidth limits only apply to the data transfer. They don’t apply to the bandwidth of the directory listings etc.

Note that the units are Bytes/s, not Bits/s. Typically connections are measured in Bits/s - to convert divide by 8. For example, let’s say you have a 10 Mbit/s connection and you wish rclone to use half of it - 5 Mbit/s. This is 58 = 0.625MByte/s so you would use a --bwlimit 0.625M parameter for rclone.

On Unix systems (Linux, MacOS, …) the bandwidth limiter can be toggled by sending a SIGUSR2 signal to rclone. This allows to remove the limitations of a long running rclone transfer and to restore it back to the value specified with --bwlimit quickly when needed. Assuming there is only one rclone instance running, you can toggle the limiter like this:

kill -SIGUSR2 $(pidof rclone)

If you configure rclone with a remote control then you can use change the bwlimit dynamically:

rclone rc core/bwlimit rate=1M


Use this sized buffer to speed up file transfers. Each --transfer will use this much memory for buffering.

When using mount or cmount each open file descriptor will use this much memory for buffering. See the mount documentation for more details.

Set to 0 to disable the buffering for the minimum memory usage.

Note that the memory allocation of the buffers is influenced by the --use-mmap flag.


The number of checkers to run in parallel. Checkers do the equality checking of files during a sync. For some storage systems (eg S3, Swift, Dropbox) this can take a significant amount of time so they are run in parallel.

The default is to run 8 checkers in parallel.

-c, --checksum

Normally rclone will look at modification time and size of files to see if they are equal. If you set this flag then rclone will check the file hash and size to determine if files are equal.

This is useful when the remote doesn’t support setting modified time and a more accurate sync is desired than just checking the file size.

This is very useful when transferring between remotes which store the same hash type on the object, eg Drive and Swift. For details of which remotes support which hash type see the table in the overview section.

Eg rclone --checksum sync s3:/bucket swift:/bucket would run much quicker than without the --checksum flag.

When using this flag, rclone won’t update mtimes of remote files if they are incorrect as it would normally.


When using sync, copy or move DIR is checked in addition to the destination for files. If a file identical to the source is found that file is NOT copied from source. This is useful to copy just files that have changed since the last backup.

You must use the same remote as the destination of the sync. The compare directory must not overlap the destination directory.

See --copy-dest and --backup-dir.


Specify the location of the rclone config file.

Normally the config file is in your home directory as a file called .config/rclone/rclone.conf (or .rclone.conf if created with an older version). If $XDG_CONFIG_HOME is set it will be at $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/rclone/rclone.conf.

If there is a file rclone.conf in the same directory as the rclone executable it will be preferred. This file must be created manually for Rclone to use it, it will never be created automatically.

If you run rclone config file you will see where the default location is for you.

Use this flag to override the config location, eg rclone --config=".myconfig" .config.


Set the connection timeout. This should be in go time format which looks like 5s for 5 seconds, 10m for 10 minutes, or 3h30m.

The connection timeout is the amount of time rclone will wait for a connection to go through to a remote object storage system. It is 1m by default.


When using sync, copy or move DIR is checked in addition to the destination for files. If a file identical to the source is found that file is server side copied from DIR to the destination. This is useful for incremental backup.

The remote in use must support server side copy and you must use the same remote as the destination of the sync. The compare directory must not overlap the destination directory.

See --compare-dest and --backup-dir.

--dedupe-mode MODE

Mode to run dedupe command in. One of interactive, skip, first, newest, oldest, rename. The default is interactive. See the dedupe command for more information as to what these options mean.


This disables a comma separated list of optional features. For example to disable server side move and server side copy use:

--disable move,copy

The features can be put in in any case.

To see a list of which features can be disabled use:

--disable help

See the overview features and optional features to get an idea of which feature does what.

This flag can be useful for debugging and in exceptional circumstances (eg Google Drive limiting the total volume of Server Side Copies to 100GB/day).

-n, --dry-run

Do a trial run with no permanent changes. Use this to see what rclone would do without actually doing it. Useful when setting up the sync command which deletes files in the destination.


Using this option will cause rclone to ignore the case of the files when synchronizing so files will not be copied/synced when the existing filenames are the same, even if the casing is different.


Normally rclone will check that the checksums of transferred files match, and give an error “corrupted on transfer” if they don’t.

You can use this option to skip that check. You should only use it if you have had the “corrupted on transfer” error message and you are sure you might want to transfer potentially corrupted data.


Using this option will make rclone unconditionally skip all files that exist on the destination, no matter the content of these files.

While this isn’t a generally recommended option, it can be useful in cases where your files change due to encryption. However, it cannot correct partial transfers in case a transfer was interrupted.


Normally rclone will look at modification time and size of files to see if they are equal. If you set this flag then rclone will check only the modification time. If --checksum is set then it only checks the checksum.

It will also cause rclone to skip verifying the sizes are the same after transfer.

This can be useful for transferring files to and from OneDrive which occasionally misreports the size of image files (see #399 for more info).

-I, --ignore-times

Using this option will cause rclone to unconditionally upload all files regardless of the state of files on the destination.

Normally rclone would skip any files that have the same modification time and are the same size (or have the same checksum if using --checksum).


Treat source and destination files as immutable and disallow modification.

With this option set, files will be created and deleted as requested, but existing files will never be updated. If an existing file does not match between the source and destination, rclone will give the error Source and destination exist but do not match: immutable file modified.

Note that only commands which transfer files (e.g. sync, copy, move) are affected by this behavior, and only modification is disallowed. Files may still be deleted explicitly (e.g. delete, purge) or implicitly (e.g. sync, move). Use copy --immutable if it is desired to avoid deletion as well as modification.

This can be useful as an additional layer of protection for immutable or append-only data sets (notably backup archives), where modification implies corruption and should not be propagated.


During rmdirs it will not remove root directory, even if it’s empty.


Log all of rclone’s output to FILE. This is not active by default. This can be useful for tracking down problems with syncs in combination with the -v flag. See the Logging section for more info.

Note that if you are using the logrotate program to manage rclone’s logs, then you should use the copytruncate option as rclone doesn’t have a signal to rotate logs.

--log-format LIST

Comma separated list of log format options. date, time, microseconds, longfile, shortfile, UTC. The default is “date,time”.

--log-level LEVEL

This sets the log level for rclone. The default log level is NOTICE.

DEBUG is equivalent to -vv. It outputs lots of debug info - useful for bug reports and really finding out what rclone is doing.

INFO is equivalent to -v. It outputs information about each transfer and prints stats once a minute by default.

NOTICE is the default log level if no logging flags are supplied. It outputs very little when things are working normally. It outputs warnings and significant events.

ERROR is equivalent to -q. It only outputs error messages.


This switches the log format to JSON for rclone. The fields of json log are level, msg, source, time.

--low-level-retries NUMBER

This controls the number of low level retries rclone does.

A low level retry is used to retry a failing operation - typically one HTTP request. This might be uploading a chunk of a big file for example. You will see low level retries in the log with the -v flag.

This shouldn’t need to be changed from the default in normal operations. However, if you get a lot of low level retries you may wish to reduce the value so rclone moves on to a high level retry (see the --retries flag) quicker.

Disable low level retries with --low-level-retries 1.


This is the maximum allowable backlog of files in a sync/copy/move queued for being checked or transferred.

This can be set arbitrarily large. It will only use memory when the queue is in use. Note that it will use in the order of N kB of memory when the backlog is in use.

Setting this large allows rclone to calculate how many files are pending more accurately and give a more accurate estimated finish time.

Setting this small will make rclone more synchronous to the listings of the remote which may be desirable.


This tells rclone not to delete more than N files. If that limit is exceeded then a fatal error will be generated and rclone will stop the operation in progress.


This modifies the recursion depth for all the commands except purge.

So if you do rclone --max-depth 1 ls remote:path you will see only the files in the top level directory. Using --max-depth 2 means you will see all the files in first two directory levels and so on.

For historical reasons the lsd command defaults to using a --max-depth of 1 - you can override this with the command line flag.

You can use this command to disable recursion (with --max-depth 1).

Note that if you use this with sync and --delete-excluded the files not recursed through are considered excluded and will be deleted on the destination. Test first with --dry-run if you are not sure what will happen.


Rclone will stop transferring when it has reached the size specified. Defaults to off.

When the limit is reached all transfers will stop immediately.

Rclone will exit with exit code 8 if the transfer limit is reached.


When checking whether a file has been modified, this is the maximum allowed time difference that a file can have and still be considered equivalent.

The default is 1ns unless this is overridden by a remote. For example OS X only stores modification times to the nearest second so if you are reading and writing to an OS X filing system this will be 1s by default.

This command line flag allows you to override that computed default.


When downloading files to the local backend above this size, rclone will use multiple threads to download the file. (default 250M)

Rclone preallocates the file (using fallocate(FALLOC_FL_KEEP_SIZE) on unix or NTSetInformationFile on Windows both of which takes no time) then each thread writes directly into the file at the correct place. This means that rclone won’t create fragmented or sparse files and there won’t be any assembly time at the end of the transfer.

The number of threads used to dowload is controlled by --multi-thread-streams.

Use -vv if you wish to see info about the threads.

This will work with the sync/copy/move commands and friends copyto/moveto. Multi thread downloads will be used with rclone mount and rclone serve if --vfs-cache-mode is set to writes or above.

NB that this only works for a local destination but will work with any source.

NB that multi thread copies are disabled for local to local copies as they are faster without unless --multi-thread-streams is set explicitly.


When using multi thread downloads (see above --multi-thread-cutoff) this sets the maximum number of streams to use. Set to 0 to disable multi thread downloads. (Default 4)

Exactly how many streams rclone uses for the download depends on the size of the file. To calculate the number of download streams Rclone divides the size of the file by the --multi-thread-cutoff and rounds up, up to the maximum set with --multi-thread-streams.

So if --multi-thread-cutoff 250MB and --multi-thread-streams 4 are in effect (the defaults):

  • 0MB.250MB files will be downloaded with 1 stream
  • 250MB..500MB files will be downloaded with 2 streams
  • 500MB..750MB files will be downloaded with 3 streams
  • 750MB+ files will be downloaded with 4 streams


Don’t set Accept-Encoding: gzip. This means that rclone won’t ask the server for compressed files automatically. Useful if you’ve set the server to return files with Content-Encoding: gzip but you uploaded compressed files.

There is no need to set this in normal operation, and doing so will decrease the network transfer efficiency of rclone.


The --no-traverse flag controls whether the destination file system is traversed when using the copy or move commands. --no-traverse is not compatible with sync and will be ignored if you supply it with sync.

If you are only copying a small number of files (or are filtering most of the files) and/or have a large number of files on the destination then --no-traverse will stop rclone listing the destination and save time.

However, if you are copying a large number of files, especially if you are doing a copy where lots of the files under consideration haven’t changed and won’t need copying then you shouldn’t use --no-traverse.

See rclone copy for an example of how to use it.


When using this flag, rclone won’t update modification times of remote files if they are incorrect as it would normally.

This can be used if the remote is being synced with another tool also (eg the Google Drive client).

-P, --progress

This flag makes rclone update the stats in a static block in the terminal providing a realtime overview of the transfer.

Any log messages will scroll above the static block. Log messages will push the static block down to the bottom of the terminal where it will stay.

Normally this is updated every 500mS but this period can be overridden with the --stats flag.

This can be used with the --stats-one-line flag for a simpler display.

Note: On Windows untilthis bug is fixed all non-ASCII characters will be replaced with . when --progress is in use.

-q, --quiet

Normally rclone outputs stats and a completion message. If you set this flag it will make as little output as possible.

--retries int

Retry the entire sync if it fails this many times it fails (default 3).

Some remotes can be unreliable and a few retries help pick up the files which didn’t get transferred because of errors.

Disable retries with --retries 1.


This sets the interval between each retry specified by --retries

The default is 0. Use 0 to disable.


Normally rclone will look at modification time and size of files to see if they are equal. If you set this flag then rclone will check only the size.

This can be useful transferring files from Dropbox which have been modified by the desktop sync client which doesn’t set checksums of modification times in the same way as rclone.


Commands which transfer data (sync, copy, copyto, move, moveto) will print data transfer stats at regular intervals to show their progress.

This sets the interval.

The default is 1m. Use 0 to disable.

If you set the stats interval then all commands can show stats. This can be useful when running other commands, check or mount for example.

Stats are logged at INFO level by default which means they won’t show at default log level NOTICE. Use --stats-log-level NOTICE or -v to make them show. See the Logging section for more info on log levels.

Note that on macOS you can send a SIGINFO (which is normally ctrl-T in the terminal) to make the stats print immediately.

--stats-file-name-length integer

By default, the --stats output will truncate file names and paths longer than 40 characters. This is equivalent to providing --stats-file-name-length 40. Use --stats-file-name-length 0 to disable any truncation of file names printed by stats.

--stats-log-level string

Log level to show --stats output at. This can be DEBUG, INFO, NOTICE, or ERROR. The default is INFO. This means at the default level of logging which is NOTICE the stats won’t show - if you want them to then use --stats-log-level NOTICE. See the Logging section for more info on log levels.


When this is specified, rclone condenses the stats into a single line showing the most important stats only.


When this is specified, rclone enables the single-line stats and prepends the display with a date string. The default is 2006/01/02 15:04:05 -


When this is specified, rclone enables the single-line stats and prepends the display with a user-supplied date string. The date string MUST be enclosed in quotes. Follow golang specs for date formatting syntax.


By default, data transfer rates will be printed in bytes/second.

This option allows the data rate to be printed in bits/second.

Data transfer volume will still be reported in bytes.

The rate is reported as a binary unit, not SI unit. So 1 Mbit/s equals 1,048,576 bits/s and not 1,000,000 bits/s.

The default is bytes.


When using sync, copy or move any files which would have been overwritten or deleted will have the suffix added to them. If there is a file with the same path (after the suffix has been added), then it will be overwritten.

The remote in use must support server side move or copy and you must use the same remote as the destination of the sync.

This is for use with files to add the suffix in the current directory or with --backup-dir. See --backup-dir for more info.

For example

rclone sync /path/to/local/file remote:current --suffix .bak

will sync /path/to/local to remote:current, but for any files which would have been updated or deleted have .bak added.


When using --suffix, setting this causes rclone put the SUFFIX before the extension of the files that it backs up rather than after.

So let’s say we had --suffix -2019-01-01, without the flag file.txt would be backed up to file.txt-2019-01-01 and with the flag it would be backed up to file-2019-01-01.txt. This can be helpful to make sure the suffixed files can still be opened.


On capable OSes (not Windows or Plan9) send all log output to syslog.

This can be useful for running rclone in a script or rclone mount.

--syslog-facility string

If using --syslog this sets the syslog facility (eg KERN, USER). See man syslog for a list of possible facilities. The default facility is DAEMON.

--tpslimit float

Limit HTTP transactions per second to this. Default is 0 which is used to mean unlimited transactions per second.

For example to limit rclone to 10 HTTP transactions per second use --tpslimit 10, or to 1 transaction every 2 seconds use --tpslimit 0.5.

Use this when the number of transactions per second from rclone is causing a problem with the cloud storage provider (eg getting you banned or rate limited).

This can be very useful for rclone mount to control the behaviour of applications using it.

See also --tpslimit-burst.

--tpslimit-burst int

Max burst of transactions for --tpslimit. (default 1)

Normally --tpslimit will do exactly the number of transaction per second specified. However if you supply --tps-burst then rclone can save up some transactions from when it was idle giving a burst of up to the parameter supplied.

For example if you provide --tpslimit-burst 10 then if rclone has been idle for more than 10*--tpslimit then it can do 10 transactions very quickly before they are limited again.

This may be used to increase performance of --tpslimit without changing the long term average number of transactions per second.


By default, rclone doesn’t keep track of renamed files, so if you rename a file locally then sync it to a remote, rclone will delete the old file on the remote and upload a new copy.

If you use this flag, and the remote supports server side copy or server side move, and the source and destination have a compatible hash, then this will track renames during sync operations and perform renaming server-side.

Files will be matched by size and hash - if both match then a rename will be considered.

If the destination does not support server-side copy or move, rclone will fall back to the default behaviour and log an error level message to the console. Note: Encrypted destinations are not supported by --track-renames.

Note that --track-renames is incompatible with --no-traverse and that it uses extra memory to keep track of all the rename candidates.

Note also that --track-renames is incompatible with --delete-before and will select --delete-after instead of --delete-during.


This option allows you to specify when files on your destination are deleted when you sync folders.

Specifying the value --delete-before will delete all files present on the destination, but not on the source before starting the transfer of any new or updated files. This uses two passes through the file systems, one for the deletions and one for the copies.

Specifying --delete-during will delete files while checking and uploading files. This is the fastest option and uses the least memory.

Specifying --delete-after (the default value) will delay deletion of files until all new/updated files have been successfully transferred. The files to be deleted are collected in the copy pass then deleted after the copy pass has completed successfully. The files to be deleted are held in memory so this mode may use more memory. This is the safest mode as it will only delete files if there have been no errors subsequent to that. If there have been errors before the deletions start then you will get the message not deleting files as there were IO errors.


When doing anything which involves a directory listing (eg sync, copy, ls - in fact nearly every command), rclone normally lists a directory and processes it before using more directory lists to process any subdirectories. This can be parallelised and works very quickly using the least amount of memory.

However, some remotes have a way of listing all files beneath a directory in one (or a small number) of transactions. These tend to be the bucket based remotes (eg S3, B2, GCS, Swift, Hubic).

If you use the --fast-list flag then rclone will use this method for listing directories. This will have the following consequences for the listing:

  • It will use fewer transactions (important if you pay for them)
  • It will use more memory. Rclone has to load the whole listing into memory.
  • It may be faster because it uses fewer transactions
  • It may be slower because it can’t be parallelized

rclone should always give identical results with and without --fast-list.

If you pay for transactions and can fit your entire sync listing into memory then --fast-list is recommended. If you have a very big sync to do then don’t use --fast-list otherwise you will run out of memory.

If you use --fast-list on a remote which doesn’t support it, then rclone will just ignore it.


This sets the IO idle timeout. If a transfer has started but then becomes idle for this long it is considered broken and disconnected.

The default is 5m. Set to 0 to disable.


The number of file transfers to run in parallel. It can sometimes be useful to set this to a smaller number if the remote is giving a lot of timeouts or bigger if you have lots of bandwidth and a fast remote.

The default is to run 4 file transfers in parallel.

-u, --update

This forces rclone to skip any files which exist on the destination and have a modified time that is newer than the source file.

This can be useful when transferring to a remote which doesn’t support mod times directly (or when using --use-server-modtime to avoid extra API calls) as it is more accurate than a --size-only check and faster than using --checksum.

If an existing destination file has a modification time equal (within the computed modify window precision) to the source file’s, it will be updated if the sizes are different. If --checksum is set then rclone will update the destination if the checksums differ too.

If an existing destination file is older than the source file then it will be updated if the size or checksum differs from the source file.

On remotes which don’t support mod time directly (or when using --use-server-modtime) the time checked will be the uploaded time. This means that if uploading to one of these remotes, rclone will skip any files which exist on the destination and have an uploaded time that is newer than the modification time of the source file.


If this flag is set then rclone will use anonymous memory allocated by mmap on Unix based platforms and VirtualAlloc on Windows for its transfer buffers (size controlled by --buffer-size). Memory allocated like this does not go on the Go heap and can be returned to the OS immediately when it is finished with.

If this flag is not set then rclone will allocate and free the buffers using the Go memory allocator which may use more memory as memory pages are returned less aggressively to the OS.

It is possible this does not work well on all platforms so it is disabled by default; in the future it may be enabled by default.


Some object-store backends (e.g, Swift, S3) do not preserve file modification times (modtime). On these backends, rclone stores the original modtime as additional metadata on the object. By default it will make an API call to retrieve the metadata when the modtime is needed by an operation.

Use this flag to disable the extra API call and rely instead on the server’s modified time. In cases such as a local to remote sync using --update, knowing the local file is newer than the time it was last uploaded to the remote is sufficient. In those cases, this flag can speed up the process and reduce the number of API calls necessary.

Using this flag on a sync operation without also using --update would cause all files modified at any time other than the last upload time to be uploaded again, which is probably not what you want.

-v, -vv, --verbose

With -v rclone will tell you about each file that is transferred and a small number of significant events.

With -vv rclone will become very verbose telling you about every file it considers and transfers. Please send bug reports with a log with this setting.

-V, --version

Prints the version number

SSL/TLS options

The outoing SSL/TLS connections rclone makes can be controlled with these options. For example this can be very useful with the HTTP or WebDAV backends. Rclone HTTP servers have their own set of configuration for SSL/TLS which you can find in their documentation.

--ca-cert string

This loads the PEM encoded certificate authority certificate and uses it to verify the certificates of the servers rclone connects to.

If you have generated certificates signed with a local CA then you will need this flag to connect to servers using those certificates.

--client-cert string

This loads the PEM encoded client side certificate.

This is used for mutual TLS authentication.

The --client-key flag is required too when using this.

--client-key string

This loads the PEM encoded client side private key used for mutual TLS authentication. Used in conjunction with --client-cert.


--no-check-certificate controls whether a client verifies the server’s certificate chain and host name. If --no-check-certificate is true, TLS accepts any certificate presented by the server and any host name in that certificate. In this mode, TLS is susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks.

This option defaults to false.

This should be used only for testing.

Configuration Encryption

Your configuration file contains information for logging in to your cloud services. This means that you should keep your .rclone.conf file in a secure location.

If you are in an environment where that isn’t possible, you can add a password to your configuration. This means that you will have to enter the password every time you start rclone.

To add a password to your rclone configuration, execute rclone config.

>rclone config
Current remotes:

e) Edit existing remote
n) New remote
d) Delete remote
s) Set configuration password
q) Quit config

Go into s, Set configuration password:

e/n/d/s/q> s
Your configuration is not encrypted.
If you add a password, you will protect your login information to cloud services.
a) Add Password
q) Quit to main menu
a/q> a
Enter NEW configuration password:
Confirm NEW password:
Password set
Your configuration is encrypted.
c) Change Password
u) Unencrypt configuration
q) Quit to main menu

Your configuration is now encrypted, and every time you start rclone you will now be asked for the password. In the same menu, you can change the password or completely remove encryption from your configuration.

There is no way to recover the configuration if you lose your password.

rclone uses nacl secretbox which in turn uses XSalsa20 and Poly1305 to encrypt and authenticate your configuration with secret-key cryptography. The password is SHA-256 hashed, which produces the key for secretbox. The hashed password is not stored.

While this provides very good security, we do not recommend storing your encrypted rclone configuration in public if it contains sensitive information, maybe except if you use a very strong password.

If it is safe in your environment, you can set the RCLONE_CONFIG_PASS environment variable to contain your password, in which case it will be used for decrypting the configuration.

You can set this for a session from a script. For unix like systems save this to a file called set-rclone-password:

#!/bin/echo Source this file don't run it


Then source the file when you want to use it. From the shell you would do source set-rclone-password. It will then ask you for the password and set it in the environment variable.

If you are running rclone inside a script, you might want to disable password prompts. To do that, pass the parameter --ask-password=false to rclone. This will make rclone fail instead of asking for a password if RCLONE_CONFIG_PASS doesn’t contain a valid password.

Developer options

These options are useful when developing or debugging rclone. There are also some more remote specific options which aren’t documented here which are used for testing. These start with remote name eg --drive-test-option - see the docs for the remote in question.


Write CPU profile to file. This can be analysed with go tool pprof.

--dump flag,flag,flag

The --dump flag takes a comma separated list of flags to dump info about. These are:

--dump headers

Dump HTTP headers with Authorization: lines removed. May still contain sensitive info. Can be very verbose. Useful for debugging only.

Use --dump auth if you do want the Authorization: headers.

--dump bodies

Dump HTTP headers and bodies - may contain sensitive info. Can be very verbose. Useful for debugging only.

Note that the bodies are buffered in memory so don’t use this for enormous files.

--dump requests

Like --dump bodies but dumps the request bodies and the response headers. Useful for debugging download problems.

--dump responses

Like --dump bodies but dumps the response bodies and the request headers. Useful for debugging upload problems.

--dump auth

Dump HTTP headers - will contain sensitive info such as Authorization: headers - use --dump headers to dump without Authorization: headers. Can be very verbose. Useful for debugging only.

--dump filters

Dump the filters to the output. Useful to see exactly what include and exclude options are filtering on.

--dump goroutines

This dumps a list of the running go-routines at the end of the command to standard output.

--dump openfiles

This dumps a list of the open files at the end of the command. It uses the lsof command to do that so you’ll need that installed to use it.


Write memory profile to file. This can be analysed with go tool pprof.


For the filtering options

  • --delete-excluded
  • --filter
  • --filter-from
  • --exclude
  • --exclude-from
  • --include
  • --include-from
  • --files-from
  • --min-size
  • --max-size
  • --min-age
  • --max-age
  • --dump filters

See the filtering section.

Remote control

For the remote control options and for instructions on how to remote control rclone

  • --rc
  • and anything starting with --rc-

See the remote control section.


rclone has 4 levels of logging, ERROR, NOTICE, INFO and DEBUG.

By default, rclone logs to standard error. This means you can redirect standard error and still see the normal output of rclone commands (eg rclone ls).

By default, rclone will produce Error and Notice level messages.

If you use the -q flag, rclone will only produce Error messages.

If you use the -v flag, rclone will produce Error, Notice and Info messages.

If you use the -vv flag, rclone will produce Error, Notice, Info and Debug messages.

You can also control the log levels with the --log-level flag.

If you use the --log-file=FILE option, rclone will redirect Error, Info and Debug messages along with standard error to FILE.

If you use the --syslog flag then rclone will log to syslog and the --syslog-facility control which facility it uses.

Rclone prefixes all log messages with their level in capitals, eg INFO which makes it easy to grep the log file for different kinds of information.

Exit Code

If any errors occur during the command execution, rclone will exit with a non-zero exit code. This allows scripts to detect when rclone operations have failed.

During the startup phase, rclone will exit immediately if an error is detected in the configuration. There will always be a log message immediately before exiting.

When rclone is running it will accumulate errors as it goes along, and only exit with a non-zero exit code if (after retries) there were still failed transfers. For every error counted there will be a high priority log message (visible with -q) showing the message and which file caused the problem. A high priority message is also shown when starting a retry so the user can see that any previous error messages may not be valid after the retry. If rclone has done a retry it will log a high priority message if the retry was successful.

List of exit codes

  • 0 - success
  • 1 - Syntax or usage error
  • 2 - Error not otherwise categorised
  • 3 - Directory not found
  • 4 - File not found
  • 5 - Temporary error (one that more retries might fix) (Retry errors)
  • 6 - Less serious errors (like 461 errors from dropbox) (NoRetry errors)
  • 7 - Fatal error (one that more retries won’t fix, like account suspended) (Fatal errors)
  • 8 - Transfer exceeded - limit set by --max-transfer reached

Environment Variables

Rclone can be configured entirely using environment variables. These can be used to set defaults for options or config file entries.


Every option in rclone can have its default set by environment variable.

To find the name of the environment variable, first, take the long option name, strip the leading --, change - to _, make upper case and prepend RCLONE_.

For example, to always set --stats 5s, set the environment variable RCLONE_STATS=5s. If you set stats on the command line this will override the environment variable setting.

Or to always use the trash in drive --drive-use-trash, set RCLONE_DRIVE_USE_TRASH=true.

The same parser is used for the options and the environment variables so they take exactly the same form.

Config file

You can set defaults for values in the config file on an individual remote basis. If you want to use this feature, you will need to discover the name of the config items that you want. The easiest way is to run through rclone config by hand, then look in the config file to see what the values are (the config file can be found by looking at the help for --config in rclone help).

To find the name of the environment variable, you need to set, take RCLONE_CONFIG_ + name of remote + _ + name of config file option and make it all uppercase.

For example, to configure an S3 remote named mys3: without a config file (using unix ways of setting environment variables):

$ rclone lsd MYS3:
          -1 2016-09-21 12:54:21        -1 my-bucket
$ rclone listremotes | grep mys3

Note that if you want to create a remote using environment variables you must create the ..._TYPE variable as above.

Other environment variables

  • RCLONE_CONFIG_PASS` set to contain your config file password (see Configuration Encryption section)
  • HTTP_PROXY, HTTPS_PROXY and NO_PROXY (or the lowercase versions thereof).
    • HTTPS_PROXY takes precedence over HTTP_PROXY for https requests.
    • The environment values may be either a complete URL or a “host[:port]” for, in which case the “http” scheme is assumed.