I'm trying to set up an rsync that excludes all .* files except for .htaccess but unfortunately, this doesn't work:

rsync -avP --exclude=".*" --include="./.htaccess" ./. user@server:/dir

Is it possible to somehow exclude general exclude rules?

1 Answer 1


The first matching rule applies, so include .htaccess before excluding .*.

rsync -avP --include=".htaccess" --exclude=".*" . user@server:/dir

This copies .htaccess at every level. I don't know what you intended with ./.htaccess; if you want to match a file at the root of the copy only, start the pattern with a /. If you only want the root .htaccess, you can't just use --include='/.htaccess' --exclude='.*', because the non-rooted rule actually takes precedence here, you need to do something more complicated:

rsync -avP --exclude='/*/**/.htaccess' --include='.htaccess' --exclude=".*" . user@server:/dir

Further reading: basic principles for rsync filters.

  • @fred.bear: That one was a genuine typo, and a nasty one. Thanks for spotting it! Apr 11, 2011 at 12:22
  • Thanks, I had tried putting the --include first, but the "./" in front of the "./.htaccess" was what was killing it.
    – Rich
    Apr 11, 2011 at 18:26
  • 1
    @Rich note that if there are hidden directories that contain a .htaccess file, you'll have to --include='.*/' (I think) before the final --exclude, see also here Nov 19, 2012 at 14:47
  • Any idea why rsync -avP --exclude=/.htaccess src/dir/ dst/dir/ works as expected (excludes .htaccess only at the root directory), but rsync -avP --exclude=/.htaccess src/dir dst doesn't (it fails to exclude even at the root)?
    – haridsv
    Mar 2, 2021 at 13:53
  • 1
    @haridsv In the first case, the root is src/dir and you're copying the root, so src/dir/.htaccess is excluded. In the second case, the root is src and you're copying dir, so src/.htaccess is excluded. Mar 2, 2021 at 14:22

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