4. Where to mirror from

This is an important issue. So this section will spend some effort to explain the backgrounds. We will say this several times: under no circumstances should you mirror from ftp.FreeBSD.org.

4.1. A few words about the organization

Mirrors are organized by country. All official mirrors have a DNS entry of the form ftpN.CC.FreeBSD.org. CC (i.e. country code) is the top level domain (TLD) of the country where this mirror is located. N is a number, telling that the host would be the Nth mirror in that country. (Same applies to wwwN.CC.FreeBSD.org, etc.) There are mirrors with no CC part. These are the mirror sites that are very well connected and allow a large number of concurrent users. ftp.FreeBSD.org is actually two machines, one currently located in Denmark and the other in the United States. It is NOT a master site and should never be used to mirror from. Lots of online documentation leads interactiveusers to ftp.FreeBSD.org so automated mirroring systems should find a different machine to mirror from.

Additionally there exists a hierarchy of mirrors, which is described in terms of tiers. The master sites are not referred to but can be described as Tier-0. Mirrors that mirror from these sites can be considered Tier-1, mirrors of Tier-1-mirrors, are Tier-2, etc. Official sites are encouraged to be of a low tier, but the lower the tier the higher the requirements in terms as described in Section 2, “Requirements for FreeBSD mirrors”. Also access to low-tier-mirrors may be restricted, and access to master sites is definitely restricted. The tier-hierarchy is not reflected by DNS and generally not documented anywhere except for the master sites. However, official mirrors with low numbers like 1-4, are usually Tier-1 (this is just a rough hint, and there is no rule).

4.2. Ok, but where should I get the stuff now?

Under no circumstances should you mirror from ftp.FreeBSD.org. The short answer is: from the site that is closest to you in Internet terms, or gives you the fastest access.

4.2.1. I just want to mirror from somewhere!

If you have no special intentions or requirements, the statement in Section 4.2, “Ok, but where should I get the stuff now?” applies. This means:

  1. Check for those which provide fastest access (number of hops, round-trip-times) and offer the services you intend to use (like rsync).

  2. Contact the administrators of your chosen site stating your request, and asking about their terms and policies.

  3. Set up your mirror as described above.

4.2.2. I am an official mirror, what is the right site for me?

In general the description in Section 4.2.1, “I just want to mirror from somewhere!” still applies. Of course you may want to put some weight on the fact that your upstream should be of a low tier. There are some other considerations about official mirrors that are described in Section 5, “Official Mirrors”.

4.2.3. I want to access the master sites!

If you have good reasons and good prerequisites, you may want and get access to one of the master sites. Access to these sites is generally restricted, and there are special policies for access. If you are already an official mirror, this certainly helps you getting access. In any other case make sure your country really needs another mirror. If it already has three or more, ask the zone administrator () or FreeBSD mirror sites mailing lists first.

Whoever helped you become, an official should have helped you gain access to an appropriate upstream host, either one of the master sites or a suitable Tier-1 site. If not, you can send email to to request help with that.

There is one master site for the FTP fileset.

4.2.3.1. ftp-master.FreeBSD.org

This is the master site for the FTP fileset.

ftp-master.FreeBSD.org provides rsync access, in addition to FTP. Refer to Section 3.1, “Mirroring the FTP site”.

Mirrors are also encouraged to allow rsync access for the FTP contents, since they are Tier-1-mirrors.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at http://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/

Questions that are not answered by the documentation may be sent to <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.org>.
Send questions about this document to <freebsd-doc@FreeBSD.org>.