SFTP is the Secure (or SSH) File Transfer Protocol.
The SFTP backend can be used with a number of different providers:
SFTP runs over SSH v2 and is installed as standard with most modern SSH installations.
Paths are specified as
remote:path. If the path does not begin with
/ it is relative to the home directory of the user. An empty path
remote: refers to the user’s home directory.
“Note that some SFTP servers will need the leading / - Synology is a good example of this. rsync.net, on the other hand, requires users to OMIT the leading /.
Here is an example of making an SFTP configuration. First run
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. Choose a number from below, or type in your own value [snip] XX / SSH/SFTP Connection \ "sftp" [snip] Storage> sftp SSH host to connect to Choose a number from below, or type in your own value 1 / Connect to example.com \ "example.com" host> example.com SSH username, leave blank for current username, ncw user> sftpuser SSH port, leave blank to use default (22) port> SSH password, leave blank to use ssh-agent. y) Yes type in my own password g) Generate random password n) No leave this optional password blank y/g/n> n Path to unencrypted PEM-encoded private key file, leave blank to use ssh-agent. key_file> Remote config -------------------- [remote] host = example.com user = sftpuser port = pass = key_file = -------------------- y) Yes this is OK e) Edit this remote d) Delete this remote y/e/d> y
This remote is called
remote and can now be used like this:
See all directories in the home directory
rclone lsd remote:
Make a new directory
rclone mkdir remote:path/to/directory
List the contents of a directory
rclone ls remote:path/to/directory
/home/local/directory to the remote directory, deleting any
excess files in the directory.
rclone sync /home/local/directory remote:directory
The SFTP remote supports three authentication methods:
Key files should be PEM-encoded private key files. For instance
Only unencrypted OpenSSH or PEM encrypted files are supported.
If you don’t specify
key_file then rclone will attempt to contact an ssh-agent.
You can also specify
key_use_agent to force the usage of an ssh-agent. In this case
key_file can also be specified to force the usage of a specific key in the ssh-agent.
Using an ssh-agent is the only way to load encrypted OpenSSH keys at the moment.
If you set the
--sftp-ask-password option, rclone will prompt for a
password when needed and no password has been configured.
Note that there seem to be various problems with using an ssh-agent on macOS due to recent changes in the OS. The most effective work-around seems to be to start an ssh-agent in each session, eg
eval `ssh-agent -s` && ssh-add -A
And then at the end of the session
eval `ssh-agent -k`
These commands can be used in scripts of course.
Modified times are stored on the server to 1 second precision.
Modified times are used in syncing and are fully supported.
Some SFTP servers disable setting/modifying the file modification time after
upload (for example, certain configurations of ProFTPd with mod_sftp). If you
are using one of these servers, you can set the option
set_modtime = false in
your RClone backend configuration to disable this behaviour.
Here are the standard options specific to sftp (SSH/SFTP Connection).
SSH host to connect to
SSH username, leave blank for current username, ncw
SSH port, leave blank to use default (22)
SSH password, leave blank to use ssh-agent.
Path to PEM-encoded private key file, leave blank or set key-use-agent to use ssh-agent.
The passphrase to decrypt the PEM-encoded private key file.
Only PEM encrypted key files (old OpenSSH format) are supported. Encrypted keys in the new OpenSSH format can’t be used.
When set forces the usage of the ssh-agent.
When key-file is also set, the “.pub” file of the specified key-file is read and only the associated key is
requested from the ssh-agent. This allows to avoid
Too many authentication failures for *username* errors
when the ssh-agent contains many keys.
Enable the use of the aes128-cbc cipher and diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha256, diffie-hellman-group-exchange-sha1 key exchange. Those algorithms are insecure and may allow plaintext data to be recovered by an attacker.
Disable the execution of SSH commands to determine if remote file hashing is available. Leave blank or set to false to enable hashing (recommended), set to true to disable hashing.
Here are the advanced options specific to sftp (SSH/SFTP Connection).
Allow asking for SFTP password when needed.
Override path used by SSH connection.
This allows checksum calculation when SFTP and SSH paths are different. This issue affects among others Synology NAS boxes.
Shared folders can be found in directories representing volumes
rclone sync /home/local/directory remote:/directory --ssh-path-override /volume2/directory
Home directory can be found in a shared folder called “home”
rclone sync /home/local/directory remote:/home/directory --ssh-path-override /volume1/homes/USER/directory
Set the modified time on the remote if set.
The command used to read md5 hashes. Leave blank for autodetect.
The command used to read sha1 hashes. Leave blank for autodetect.
SFTP supports checksums if the same login has shell access and
sha1sum as well as
echo are in the remote’s PATH.
This remote checksumming (file hashing) is recommended and enabled by default.
Disabling the checksumming may be required if you are connecting to SFTP servers
which are not under your control, and to which the execution of remote commands
is prohibited. Set the configuration option
SFTP also supports
about if the same login has shell
df are in the remote’s PATH.
return the total space, free space, and used space on the remote
for the disk of the specified path on the remote or, if not set,
the disk of the root on the remote.
about will fail if it does not have shell
access or if
df is not in the remote’s PATH.
Note that some SFTP servers (eg Synology) the paths are different for
SSH and SFTP so the hashes can’t be calculated properly. For them
disable_hashcheck is a good idea.
The only ssh agent supported under Windows is Putty’s pageant.
The Go SSH library disables the use of the aes128-cbc cipher by
default, due to security concerns. This can be re-enabled on a
per-connection basis by setting the
use_insecure_cipher setting in
the configuration file to
true. Further details on the insecurity of
this cipher can be found in this paper.
SFTP isn’t supported under plan9 until this issue is fixed.
Note that since SFTP isn’t HTTP based the following flags don’t work
--timeout isn’t supported (but
C14 is supported through the SFTP backend.
rsync.net is supported through the SFTP backend.