Gsutil vs rclone


I would like to know how rclone is different than gsutil with very similar commands for moving files from local drive to google cloud bucket.

Can you please explain or point to a web page which provides this details?

Appreciate it.


gsutil looks to be a google developed tool that only works with Google Cloud Storage.

rclone is a tool that works with quite a plethora of backends and allows you to move / copy / etc but you can also mount with rclone.

A great spot for rclone is here:

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Thank you for your answer. I was trying to understand only specific to Google Cloud Storage perspective. We have very specific needs to integrate with GCP and was trying to understand if rclone can be more advantageous over gsutil. We need to transfer files from local drives to GCP bucket and need to do it multiple ways… triggered via application process, automated file watch within certain folders, move files once the transfer is done to archive folder, checksum ability, secure transfer , multi-threading support to do parallel transfer for very large files, handling of files in 10s of GBs etc and we need to build an application using gsutil, I believe, to achieve lot of such things, and trying to understand if rclone is more beneficial and has more out of the box abilities than gsutil and in what all cases. Do you have any comparison or more details related to that.

I’m not aware of any direct compare between the 2 tools as I personally never heard of the one before reading this as I don’t use Google Cloud Storage but Google Drive.

It really depends on what you are trying to do:

  • rclone does moving of files and the number of the files really doesn’t matter
  • rclone does checksums
  • rclone is multi threaded
    -rclone has a ‘backup’ folder for sync

I run my rclone scripts via cron and I’m sure other folks trigger things and work things like that. Hopefully someone more familiar with gsutil can weigh in, but I’d suggest just trying and seeing if it meets your needs.

Without getting into very specific use case, it’s hard to figure out what’s better.

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Appreciate your help on this. I will try to use both of them to figure out then. Mainly client is replacing SFTP transfers (the one we use is having lot of configurability inherently) and moving to GCP, and gsutil sounds pretty useful for the purpose. If rclone has something more on top of it, that would be ideal to use then.

rclone will let you move to s3 or sftp or azure with only changing the remote name - that is probably its main advantage.

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Thanks. So it seems per your comment, nothing specific advantage over gsutil in reference to only GCP, but as a tool rclone seems better if needs to deal with multiple cloud storages.

Or if you want to mount the storage on a Windows/Linux system and access it as a mount.

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rclone does these things

Available Commands:
  about           Get quota information from the remote.
  authorize       Remote authorization.
  cachestats      Print cache stats for a remote
  cat             Concatenates any files and sends them to stdout.
  check           Checks the files in the source and destination match.
  cleanup         Clean up the remote if possible
  config          Enter an interactive configuration session.
  copy            Copy files from source to dest, skipping already copied
  copyto          Copy files from source to dest, skipping already copied
  copyurl         Copy url content to dest.
  cryptcheck      Cryptcheck checks the integrity of a crypted remote.
  cryptdecode     Cryptdecode returns unencrypted file names.
  dbhashsum       Produces a Dropbox hash file for all the objects in the path.
  dedupe          Interactively find duplicate files and delete/rename them.
  delete          Remove the contents of path.
  deletefile      Remove a single file from remote.
  genautocomplete Output completion script for a given shell.
  gendocs         Output markdown docs for rclone to the directory supplied.
  hashsum         Produces an hashsum file for all the objects in the path.
  help            Show help for rclone commands, flags and backends.
  link            Generate public link to file/folder.
  listremotes     List all the remotes in the config file.
  ls              List the objects in the path with size and path.
  lsd             List all directories/containers/buckets in the path.
  lsf             List directories and objects in remote:path formatted for parsing
  lsjson          List directories and objects in the path in JSON format.
  lsl             List the objects in path with modification time, size and path.
  md5sum          Produces an md5sum file for all the objects in the path.
  mkdir           Make the path if it doesn't already exist.
  mount           Mount the remote as file system on a mountpoint.
  move            Move files from source to dest.
  moveto          Move file or directory from source to dest.
  ncdu            Explore a remote with a text based user interface.
  obscure         Obscure password for use in the rclone.conf
  purge           Remove the path and all of its contents.
  rc              Run a command against a running rclone.
  rcat            Copies standard input to file on remote.
  rcd             Run rclone listening to remote control commands only.
  rmdir           Remove the path if empty.
  rmdirs          Remove empty directories under the path.
  serve           Serve a remote over a protocol.
  settier         Changes storage class/tier of objects in remote.
  sha1sum         Produces an sha1sum file for all the objects in the path.
  size            Prints the total size and number of objects in remote:path.
  sync            Make source and dest identical, modifying destination only.
  touch           Create new file or change file modification time.
  tree            List the contents of the remote in a tree like fashion.
  version         Show the version number.

Some of which like mount, tree, ncdu, serve etc are very useful but not in gsutil.

There are things gsutil does that rclone doesn’t (eg turn object versioning on and off in a bucket).

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