How to use custom identity file with rsync on Linux

Rsync uses ssh to sync files between two machines and usually it will use default identity file present in ~/.ssh/ directory on Linux. In case you want to use a custom rsync file you can use -e or –rsh option of rsync. Another option is to change ~/.ssh/config file to specify identity file for a specific host. For this article we will be using Ubuntu Linux.

To use specific identity file using -e, use the following command:

rsync -v -az --exclude="_norsync*" -e "ssh -l USERID -i /idfilepath/id_rsa" /srcpath DESTHOST:/destpath/

You can replace DESTHOST and USERID appropriately.

Other approach is to add the following entry in ~/.ssh/config

host DESTHOST
  IdentityFile /idfilepath/id_rsa

You can replace DESTHOST, idfilepath and USERID appropriately. This tell ssh that for DESTHOST use the specified identity file.

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