Swift refers to Openstack Object Storage. Commercial implementations of that being:

Paths are specified as remote:container (or remote: for the lsd command.) You may put subdirectories in too, eg remote:container/path/to/dir.

Here is an example of making a swift configuration. 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.
Choose a number from below, or type in your own value
 1 / Amazon Drive
   \ "amazon cloud drive"
 2 / Amazon S3 (also Dreamhost, Ceph, Minio)
   \ "s3"
 3 / Backblaze B2
   \ "b2"
 4 / Box
   \ "box"
 5 / Cache a remote
   \ "cache"
 6 / Dropbox
   \ "dropbox"
 7 / Encrypt/Decrypt a remote
   \ "crypt"
 8 / FTP Connection
   \ "ftp"
 9 / Google Cloud Storage (this is not Google Drive)
   \ "google cloud storage"
10 / Google Drive
   \ "drive"
11 / Hubic
   \ "hubic"
12 / Local Disk
   \ "local"
13 / Microsoft Azure Blob Storage
   \ "azureblob"
14 / Microsoft OneDrive
   \ "onedrive"
15 / Openstack Swift (Rackspace Cloud Files, Memset Memstore, OVH)
   \ "swift"
16 / Pcloud
   \ "pcloud"
17 / QingCloud Object Storage
   \ "qingstor"
18 / SSH/SFTP Connection
   \ "sftp"
19 / Webdav
   \ "webdav"
20 / Yandex Disk
   \ "yandex"
21 / http Connection
   \ "http"
Storage> swift
Get swift credentials from environment variables in standard OpenStack form.
Choose a number from below, or type in your own value
 1 / Enter swift credentials in the next step
   \ "false"
 2 / Get swift credentials from environment vars. Leave other fields blank if using this.
   \ "true"
env_auth> true
User name to log in (OS_USERNAME).
API key or password (OS_PASSWORD).
Authentication URL for server (OS_AUTH_URL).
Choose a number from below, or type in your own value
 1 / Rackspace US
   \ "https://auth.api.rackspacecloud.com/v1.0"
 2 / Rackspace UK
   \ "https://lon.auth.api.rackspacecloud.com/v1.0"
 3 / Rackspace v2
   \ "https://identity.api.rackspacecloud.com/v2.0"
 4 / Memset Memstore UK
   \ "https://auth.storage.memset.com/v1.0"
 5 / Memset Memstore UK v2
   \ "https://auth.storage.memset.com/v2.0"
 6 / OVH
   \ "https://auth.cloud.ovh.net/v2.0"
User ID to log in - optional - most swift systems use user and leave this blank (v3 auth) (OS_USER_ID).
User domain - optional (v3 auth) (OS_USER_DOMAIN_NAME)
Tenant name - optional for v1 auth, this or tenant_id required otherwise (OS_TENANT_NAME or OS_PROJECT_NAME)
Tenant ID - optional for v1 auth, this or tenant required otherwise (OS_TENANT_ID)
Tenant domain - optional (v3 auth) (OS_PROJECT_DOMAIN_NAME)
Region name - optional (OS_REGION_NAME)
Storage URL - optional (OS_STORAGE_URL)
Auth Token from alternate authentication - optional (OS_AUTH_TOKEN)
AuthVersion - optional - set to (1,2,3) if your auth URL has no version (ST_AUTH_VERSION)
Endpoint type to choose from the service catalogue (OS_ENDPOINT_TYPE)
Choose a number from below, or type in your own value
 1 / Public (default, choose this if not sure)
   \ "public"
 2 / Internal (use internal service net)
   \ "internal"
 3 / Admin
   \ "admin"
Remote config
env_auth = true
user = 
key = 
auth = 
user_id = 
domain = 
tenant = 
tenant_id = 
tenant_domain = 
region = 
storage_url = 
auth_token = 
auth_version = 
endpoint_type = 
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 containers

rclone lsd remote:

Make a new container

rclone mkdir remote:container

List the contents of a container

rclone ls remote:container

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

rclone sync /home/local/directory remote:container

Configuration from an Openstack credentials file

An Opentstack credentials file typically looks something something like this (without the comments)

export OS_AUTH_URL=https://a.provider.net/v2.0
export OS_TENANT_ID=ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff
export OS_TENANT_NAME="1234567890123456"
export OS_USERNAME="123abc567xy"
echo "Please enter your OpenStack Password: "
if [ -z "$OS_REGION_NAME" ]; then unset OS_REGION_NAME; fi

The config file needs to look something like this where $OS_USERNAME represents the value of the OS_USERNAME variable - 123abc567xy in the example above.

type = swift
auth = $OS_AUTH_URL
tenant = $OS_TENANT_NAME

Note that you may (or may not) need to set region too - try without first.

Configuration from the environment

If you prefer you can configure rclone to use swift using a standard set of OpenStack environment variables.

When you run through the config, make sure you choose true for env_auth and leave everything else blank.

rclone will then set any empty config parameters from the environment using standard OpenStack environment variables. There is a list of the variables in the docs for the swift library.

Using an alternate authentication method

If your OpenStack installation uses a non-standard authentication method that might not be yet supported by rclone or the underlying swift library, you can authenticate externally (e.g. calling manually the openstack commands to get a token). Then, you just need to pass the two configuration variables auth_token and storage_url. If they are both provided, the other variables are ignored. rclone will not try to authenticate but instead assume it is already authenticated and use these two variables to access the OpenStack installation.

Using rclone without a config file

You can use rclone with swift without a config file, if desired, like this:

source openstack-credentials-file
rclone lsd myremote:


This remote supports --fast-list which allows you to use fewer transactions in exchange for more memory. See the rclone docs for more details.

--update and --use-server-modtime

As noted below, the modified time is stored on metadata on the object. It is used by default for all operations that require checking the time a file was last updated. It allows rclone to treat the remote more like a true filesystem, but it is inefficient because it requires an extra API call to retrieve the metadata.

For many operations, the time the object was last uploaded to the remote is sufficient to determine if it is “dirty”. By using --update along with --use-server-modtime, you can avoid the extra API call and simply upload files whose local modtime is newer than the time it was last uploaded.

Specific options

Here are the command line options specific to this cloud storage system.


Above this size files will be chunked into a _segments container. The default for this is 5GB which is its maximum value.

Modified time

The modified time is stored as metadata on the object as X-Object-Meta-Mtime as floating point since the epoch accurate to 1 ns.

This is a defacto standard (used in the official python-swiftclient amongst others) for storing the modification time for an object.


The Swift API doesn’t return a correct MD5SUM for segmented files (Dynamic or Static Large Objects) so rclone won’t check or use the MD5SUM for these.


Rclone gives Failed to create file system for “remote:”: Bad Request

Due to an oddity of the underlying swift library, it gives a “Bad Request” error rather than a more sensible error when the authentication fails for Swift.

So this most likely means your username / password is wrong. You can investigate further with the --dump-bodies flag.

This may also be caused by specifying the region when you shouldn’t have (eg OVH).

Rclone gives Failed to create file system: Response didn’t have storage storage url and auth token

This is most likely caused by forgetting to specify your tenant when setting up a swift remote.

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