Neurotic and Probably Misinformed


    2.0.0 • Public • Published


    A node script to run or generate rsync scripts for backups.



    $ npm i -g rsync-generator


    $ yarn global add rsync-generator


    rsync-generator requires a ~/.backup/config.json file to know what to do.

    Once that's in place, run rsync-generator from a command line to either run rsync in realtime or to generate an executable bash script.

    If you make changes to the config, you will need to run rsync-generator again.


    The ~/.backup/config.json file can have the following options.


        "destination": "",
        "exclude": [
        "output": "/",
        "sources": [


    array (required)

    Specifies the resources files and directories to process.


    string (required)

    Specifies the destination of where to rsync resources to.


    array (optional)

    A list of files and / or folders to ignore while syncing, ie. .DS_Store, node_modules, etc., if specified.


    string (optional)

    Generates an executable bash script at the specified path.

    Example: /Users/USERNAME/.backup/

    If this isn't specified, rsync-generator will run in realtime with command line output.

    Using with macOS for Automated Backups

    I thought it might be helpful out outline how I use this package to create automated backups using macOS.

    Choose Backup Destination

    You'll need select a destination to sync to. The most common ways are an external hard drive or a host / service.

    External Hard Drive

    This is a fairly common choice for cheap and local backups. The destination in this case would be the file path of the mounted volume once it's plugged into your computer.

    Host or Service

    If you're looking for a bit more more protection and resiliency in your backups (ie. house fire, etc.), you can choose a host or a service. This could be as simple as an S/FTP server with rsync installed or a dedicated service.

    I happen to use a service called If you too wind up going with, you'll want to use their Generate SSH Keys guide to get everything setup and authenticated.

    You can use the guide above as a loose guide for many services that utilize SSH as it is a fairly common way to auth.

    Update Rsync

    Unfortunately, macOS ships with an old version of rsync. You'll want to update this for way better performance and newer features.

    1. Install Homebrew, if you don't have that already install.
    2. Then install an updated version of rysnc by running brew install rsync from a command line.
    3. When installation is complete, you'll want to navigate to /private/etc/paths, open the file, and ensure /usr/local/bin is listed above above /usr/bin. This will ensure you're running the Homebrew installed version of rsync instead of the version that comes with macOs.

    Setup Configuration

    1. Create a configuration as specified above.
    2. You want to specify an output location. I typically use the same directory as the config, /Users/USERNAME/.backup/

    Setup Automation

    In short, we're going to create a launchd script. That likely sounds intimidating if you've never done it before, so let's break it down.

    Create a LaunchAgent

    A LaunchAgent is just a fancy Apple word for a scheduled job. We need to create a file that will tell our backup script to run on a given interval.

    1. Start by showing hidden files on your Mac by pressing command + shift + fn + . in any Finder window (you can press that same sequence again to hide them again).
    2. Navigate to ~/Library/LaunchAgents.
    3. Create a new file named backup.plist in the folder.
    4. Copy and paste the following into the backup.plist file contents.
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
    <plist version="1.0">

    There are two things you'll need to change in the content above.

    1. USERNAME: This will be the username you use on your Mac.
    2. INTERVAL: How often you want the backup script to run. This value should be in seconds. So if you want it to backup every 15 minutes, then you would use 900 (ie. 15 minutes * 60 seconds per minute).

    Load LaunchAgent

    Now that the LaunchAgent is created, we need to queue it up to run. This can be done by either restarting your computer or running the following command, again, replacing USERNAME with your own username.

    launchctl load /Users/USERNAME/Library/LaunchAgents/backup.plist

    Note: It's not necessary for this guide, but in the event you ever want to unschedule the job, you can delete the backup.plist file and either restart your computer or run the following command.

    launchctl unload /Users/USERNAME/Library/LaunchAgents/backup.plist

    Working with macOS Catalina's Increased Security

    You can skip this section if you're running a macOS version prior to Catalina.

    Catalina really turned the screws on security compared to previous versions of macOS. All around good changes to keep users safe, but it means we need to grant some permissions for our backup script to run.

    1. Navigate to System Preferences > Security > Privacy > Full Disk Access.
    2. Click the padlock in the lower left to make changes, if it's not already unlocked.
    3. Click the + and add bash, which is located at /bin/bash.
    4. Click the + and add rsync, which is located at /usr/local/Cellar/rsync/3.1.2/bin/rsync.


    After either of those, backups should start running immediately and then ongoing at your specified interval. You can see how things are going by viewing the ~/.backup/status.log file, which we specified above.

    Additional Resources

    It's not necessary to read these to create and schedule backups, but I found them immensely helpful getting everything setup, so I thought they were worth mentioning in case anyone wanted to dive deeper. 🤓


    MIT © Michael Novotny


    npm i rsync-generator

    DownloadsWeekly Downloads






    Unpacked Size

    17.4 kB

    Total Files


    Last publish


    • manovotny