I've been struggling for a few days trying to backup a folder using rsync. The folder is huge but there should be enough space on the destination server. But everytime I did a backup it never finish because the hard disk is full. It seems like the destination folder became bigger than the source folder after using rsync. After much googling, I found out that it might be because of the way rsync handles hard links (which is it creates a new file for each link). Refer to Directory backed up with rsync is much bigger than source . So finally to do the backup properly, the command I had to use was: rsync -H -a -vv -z -e 'ssh'