HDFS is a distributed file-system, part of the Apache Hadoop framework.

Paths are specified as remote: or remote:path/to/dir.


Here is an example of how to make a remote called remote. First run:

 rclone config

This will guide you through an interactive setup process:

No remotes found, make a new one?
n) New remote
s) Set configuration password
q) Quit config
n/s/q> n
name> remote
Type of storage to configure.
Enter a string value. Press Enter for the default ("").
Choose a number from below, or type in your own value
XX / Hadoop distributed file system
   \ "hdfs"
Storage> hdfs
** See help for hdfs backend at: https://rclone.org/hdfs/ **

hadoop name node and port
Enter a string value. Press Enter for the default ("").
Choose a number from below, or type in your own value
 1 / Connect to host namenode at port 8020
   \ "namenode:8020"
namenode> namenode.hadoop:8020
hadoop user name
Enter a string value. Press Enter for the default ("").
Choose a number from below, or type in your own value
 1 / Connect to hdfs as root
   \ "root"
username> root
Edit advanced config? (y/n)
y) Yes
n) No (default)
y/n> n
Remote config
type = hdfs
namenode = namenode.hadoop:8020
username = root
y) Yes this is OK (default)
e) Edit this remote
d) Delete this remote
y/e/d> y
Current remotes:

Name                 Type
====                 ====
hadoop               hdfs

e) Edit existing remote
n) New remote
d) Delete remote
r) Rename remote
c) Copy remote
s) Set configuration password
q) Quit config
e/n/d/r/c/s/q> q

This remote is called remote and can now be used like this

See all the top level directories

rclone lsd remote:

List the contents of a directory

rclone ls remote:directory

Sync the remote directory to /home/local/directory, deleting any excess files.

rclone sync --interactive remote:directory /home/local/directory

Setting up your own HDFS instance for testing

You may start with a manual setup or use the docker image from the tests:

If you want to build the docker image

git clone https://github.com/rclone/rclone.git
cd rclone/fstest/testserver/images/test-hdfs
docker build --rm -t rclone/test-hdfs .

Or you can just use the latest one pushed

docker run --rm --name "rclone-hdfs" -p -p --hostname "rclone-hdfs" rclone/test-hdfs

NB it need few seconds to startup.

For this docker image the remote needs to be configured like this:

type = hdfs
namenode =
username = root

You can stop this image with docker kill rclone-hdfs (NB it does not use volumes, so all data uploaded will be lost.)

Modification times

Time accurate to 1 second is stored.


No checksums are implemented.

Usage information

You can use the rclone about remote: command which will display filesystem size and current usage.

Restricted filename characters

In addition to the default restricted characters set the following characters are also replaced:

Character Value Replacement
: 0x3A

Invalid UTF-8 bytes will also be replaced.

Standard options

Here are the Standard options specific to hdfs (Hadoop distributed file system).


Hadoop name nodes and ports.

E.g. "namenode-1:8020,namenode-2:8020,..." to connect to host namenodes at port 8020.


  • Config: namenode
  • Type: CommaSepList
  • Default:


Hadoop user name.


  • Config: username
  • Type: string
  • Required: false
  • Examples:
    • "root"
      • Connect to hdfs as root.

Advanced options

Here are the Advanced options specific to hdfs (Hadoop distributed file system).


Kerberos service principal name for the namenode.

Enables KERBEROS authentication. Specifies the Service Principal Name (SERVICE/FQDN) for the namenode. E.g. "hdfs/namenode.hadoop.docker" for namenode running as service 'hdfs' with FQDN 'namenode.hadoop.docker'.


  • Config: service_principal_name
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


Kerberos data transfer protection: authentication|integrity|privacy.

Specifies whether or not authentication, data signature integrity checks, and wire encryption are required when communicating with the datanodes. Possible values are 'authentication', 'integrity' and 'privacy'. Used only with KERBEROS enabled.


  • Config: data_transfer_protection
  • Type: string
  • Required: false
  • Examples:
    • "privacy"
      • Ensure authentication, integrity and encryption enabled.


The encoding for the backend.

See the encoding section in the overview for more info.


  • Config: encoding
  • Type: Encoding
  • Default: Slash,Colon,Del,Ctl,InvalidUtf8,Dot


Description of the remote


  • Config: description
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


  • No server-side Move or DirMove.
  • Checksums not implemented.