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I have a server configured to run rsync as demon /etc/rsyncd.conf file:

log file = /var/log/rsyncd.log
pid file = /var/run/
lock file = /var/run/rsync.lock

   path = /home/user/work
   comment = User's Documents folder
   uid = user
   gid = user
   read only = no
   auth users = user
   secrets file = /etc/rsyncd.secrets

/etc/rsyncd.secrets file:


on the client side I run:

rsync my_file user@ip_address::documents

and I receive the following error:

@ERROR: auth failed on module documents
rsync error: error starting client-server protocol (code 5) at main.c(1524) [sender=3.0.7]

On the server I have a root user named user with different password. On the client side I tried both passwords with the same results.

What I'm doing wrong?

share|improve this question
In order to use rsync as a deamon I use [documents] path = /home/user/work comment = User's Documents folder read only = no . Without a user and authentication. – telebog Mar 1 '11 at 9:55
Is there a specific reason you are wanting to use rsyncd? It is far easier and more secure using rsync via ssh like this: rsync -avP /source user@host:/destination – UtahJarhead Oct 16 '12 at 18:59
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I get the same error and when Im looking in the log file I get this message:

secrets file must not be other-accessible

So probably you have to change the permission of the file.

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Look in /var/log/rsyncd.log. Maybe the perms in your "/etc/rsyncd.secrets " file are too wide.

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2011/03/01 11:49:07 [13367] connect from user2.local ( 2011/03/01 11:49:10 [13367] auth failed on module work from user2.local ( unauthorized user in /etc/rsyncd.secrets file I added: user2:passwd user2.local:passwd But same result. – telebog Mar 1 '11 at 9:52

The problem could be a space in front of the password:

  • Wrong: user: password

  • Right: user:password

As the others said, you also have to make sure the permissions are set correctly (chmod o-rwx) but this is a different issue.

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The answer by schemanen is correct, however you have the option to disable strict modes in rsyncd.conf without removing read permissions from the secrets file from other users.

in your /etc/rsyncd.conf add:

strict modes = false

and finally restart the rsync daemon.

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I removed the entry from rsync.conf for "auth user = user", and restarted rsyncd. Use of "auth" forces the challenge password to be entered despite use of a secrets file. And, though I had the same password in user/password pair in the secrets file, it still failed with the error you indicated. Removing "auth user" was my solution. The permissions on my secrets file: "500". Cronjob on client executed as root.

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One more thing to look for, and this is what was killing my setup.

DO NOT use :rw after the user name in the auth users line unless your version of rsync supports it. The man page for 3.1.2 I found at has the :rw option for users in the 'auth users' line, however the 3.0.9 version that I had on an older Mint doesn't yet have :rw. I wasted a lot of time trying to get rsyncd to work - took off the ':rw' and bang! It worked perfectly. (Of course, a better solution would be to update that computer - which is planned..)

Also, in my case, if I didn't have the auth users line, no password would be asked for - which was not acceptable for my setup. I'm curious as to how it worked for @mthebie99 to get the password prompt. Unless, of course, @mthebie99 was using a version where it works right (or at least as I would have expected).

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