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I want to automatically download files and folders from a Linux server to which I have an SSH (and FTP) account. The files shall be downloaded on a regular basis (I suppose a cron is the right tool to do so) onto an OS X machine.

I tried the following rsync command, which works fine:

rsync -avzbe ssh account@server.tld:/www/htdocs/something/somefolder /Users/me/folder/foo/

However I have to enter the account's password every time (the SSH account on the server machine). The server is a managed one and I'm afraid I can't change the password.

Here are my questions:

  • How do I bypass the entering of the password by storing it somewhere
  • How do I automate this then correctly?
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migrated from Oct 24 '11 at 13:55

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up vote 1 down vote accepted
  1. Run ssh-keygen and accept the defaults in every step
  2. cat ~/.ssh/ | ssh "mkdir -p ~/.ssh/; cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys; chmod 700 ~/.ssh/; chmod 600 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys"
  3. Edit the crontab with crontab -e and add a line like 20 4,16 * * * rsync -a ~/somedir
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You have 2 options,

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The second one looks promising, I will give it a try. Thanks. – Martin Oct 24 '11 at 10:10
You can both vote and accept the answer later – Joao Figueiredo Oct 24 '11 at 10:29
I'd strongly recommend the first option; having passwords sitting around in plaintext is always a bad idea. There's somewhat less security exposure if someone steals an SSH private key. – Gordon Davisson Oct 24 '11 at 16:28
Agreed. There are some real world weird touchy clients who don't allow other companies to edit even one file in their servers though.. I've suggested that as an alternative as I interpreted Martin has his hands tied considering any change in the remote host: "The server is a managed one and I'm afraid I can't change the password ...How do I bypass the entering of the password by storing it somewhere" – Joao Figueiredo Nov 3 '11 at 11:44

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