Cloud Platform

rsyncing files on Cloud Platform

To copy a large number of files from one place to another, one of the better options is to use rsync, which provides either an interactive or non-interactive way to copy files from one location to another on a single infrastructure, or from one infrastructure to another.


  • Acquia recommends testing your rsync commands by adding the -n option with each rsync command, which gives you an output of the changes without committing them. You must add the -n option to the commands in the following steps.

  • You must download your Drush aliases.

  • If you are using a Windows-based system for development, see rsync and Drush with Windows.

  • To use rsync in Cloud Next environments, you must leverage SSH agent forwarding.

To rsync files on Cloud Platform:

  1. Ensure that the user, group, and mode of the files and folders you intend to rsync are set to allow the infrastructure to have read-only access, and to explicitly block any other user from reading your content. This prevents file locks or changes while you copy data.

  2. Use an existing SSH key or see Enabling SSH Access for connecting through ssh.

  3. Place your private SSH key somewhere on the production infrastructure. For this example, suppose that you placed the key in the /mnt/files/[site]/files-private/private_key directory, where [site] is the website’s name on Cloud Platform. For more information about placement, see Storing private information in the file system.

  4. To allow access to the key, give it the proper permissions by using a command similar to the following:

    chmod 600 /mnt/files/[site]/files-private/private_key
  5. Execute the rsync command from either of the production infrastructure:

    rsync -rltDvPh -e "ssh -i [path to private key]" [source] [destination]

    If you are using Drush and aliases to download files, you can use a command like this:

    drush rsync sites/default
  6. Transfer the files folder from staging to production:

    rsync -rltDvPh -e "ssh -i /mnt/files/[site]/files-private/private_key" [user].[env]@[stage_infrastructure]:/mnt/files/[stage_name]/sites/default/files/ /mnt/files/[site]/sites/default/files

    In this example, [stage_name] is the name of the staging website’s name on Cloud Platform, and the [stage_infrastructure] is the name of the staging infrastructure on Cloud Platform.

The rsync flags ensure all the files copy recursively, and preserve both modification times and symlinks. For more information on the rsync options used here, see the rsync man page.

Additional examples

The following examples give information on how you can extend or update rsync commands to meet your needs.

Transferring files between environments

To transfer the files folder from your production environment to your staging environment, execute a command similar to the following:

rsync -rltDvPh -e "ssh -i /mnt/files/[site]/files-private/private_key" /mnt/files/[site]/sites/default/files/ [user].[env]@[stage_infrastructure]:/mnt/files/[stage_name]/sites/default/files/

Removing and replacing files

To remove and replace files with a new copy, execute a command similar to the following:

rsync -rltDvPh /mnt/files/[site]/sites/default/files/ /mnt/files/[site]/sites/default/files --delete

Transferring files across two infrastructures

You can also use SCP over rsync from a local machine to transfer files between two remote . You may need to set up SSH keys between the two infrastructures:

scp -r -P22 [user].[env]@[svr][site]/sites/default/files/ [user].[env]@[svr][site]/sites/default/files

In this example, [user] is your username, and [svr] is the name of the particular infrastructure you’re moving data to or from.