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Mirror Site Instructions

Content Updates

MIT OpenCourseWare uses the Rsync service as an efficient way for OCW Partner Sites to download, over the Internet, all or part of the MIT course collection directly to their own servers using the Rsync file transfer protocol.

To find configuration documentation, please visit:

What is Rsync?

Rsync is an open source utility that provides fast incremental file transfers, even over low-bandwidth low-latency data links.

The utility is freely available under the GNU General Public License version 2 and is currently maintained here:

Implementations of Rsync exist for many operating systems, most of which can be found at the official download page:

For Windows users OCW recommends the use of cwRsync 6&MMN_position=23:23

How can I gain access to the MIT Rsync service?

There are two requirements for connecting the MIT Rsync server.

  1. You will need to request an SSH private key from
  2. You will need to run the Rsync commands on your computer to download course materials from ours.

Please note! If you have ever received a hard drive from MIT as part of the MIT Mirror Site program (formerly known as the OCW-in-a-Box program), then you probably already have the SSH key mentioned above. Please take a look in the "Tools" directory on your drive, in a sub-folder called "Key".

How do I use Rsync to obtain course materials from MIT OCW?

Once you have the Rsync software installed on your computer you can access the MIT content by following these steps:

  1. Receive a SSH private key (also known as an identity file) from OCW. This file will be sent to you in a password protected .ZIP file.
  2. Install the private key file in a convenient directory (For Linux/Unix this is usually ~/.ssh). Make sure that the un-zipped private key file is readable by setting appropriate Unix or Windows permissions.
  3. The SSH private key itself (once unzipped) is password protected, and this password must be entered each time when you connect to You should have received this password from the External Outreach Manager along with your private key.
  4. List the content that is available on the rsync server

    rsync -avz -e "ssh -i ~/.ssh/identityfile"

  5. Start the transfer of content using any of these commands:

    rsync -avz -e "ssh -i ~/.ssh/identityfile" OcwWeb

    rsync -avz -e "ssh -i ~/.ssh/identityfile" NR

    rsync -avz -e "ssh -i ~/.ssh/identityfile" MediaFiles

How can I get help with the MIT OCW Rsync Service?

The MIT OCW Rsync service is a program managed by the External Outreach Manager at MIT OpenCourseWare.

If you need to obtain SSH private keys to access to the OCW Mirror server, or if you have technical questions about downloading OCW content via Rsync, please don't hesitate to email us with your request at