Command Section
PORTSNAP(8)             FreeBSD System Manager's Manual            PORTSNAP(8)

     portsnap - fetch and extract compressed snapshots of the ports tree

     portsnap [-I] [-d workdir] [-f conffile] [-k KEY] [-l descfile]
              [-p portsdir] [-s server] command ... [path]

     The portsnap tool is used to fetch and update compressed snapshots of the
     FreeBSD ports tree, and extract and update an uncompressed ports tree.

     In a normal update operation, portsnap will routinely restore modified
     files to their unmodified state and delete unrecognized local files.

     The following options are supported:

     -d workdir   Store working files (e.g. downloaded updates) in workdir.
                  (default: /var/db/portsnap, or as given in the configuration

     -f conffile  Read the configuration from conffile.  (default:

     -I           For the update command, update INDEX files, but not the rest
                  of the ports tree.

     -k KEY       Expect a public key with given SHA256 hash.  (default: read
                  value from configuration file.)

     -l descfile  Merge the specified local describes file into the INDEX
                  files being built.  The descfile should be generated by
                  running make describe in each of the local port directories.

     -p portsdir  When extracting or updating an uncompressed snapshot,
                  operate on the directory portsdir.  (default: /usr/ports/,
                  or as given in the configuration file.)

     -s server    Fetch files from the specified server or server pool.
                  (default:, or as given in the
                  configuration file.)

     path         For extract command only, operate only on parts of the ports
                  tree starting with path.  (e.g. portsnap extract
                  sysutils/port would extract sysutils/portsman,
                  sysutils/portsnap, sysutils/portupgrade, etc.)

                  override auto-detection of calling process.  Only use this
                  when calling portsnap from an interactive, non-terminal
                  application. (Cron jobs are particularly bad since they
                  cause load spikes on the Portsnap mirrors.)

     The command can be any one of the following:

     fetch        Fetch a compressed snapshot of the ports tree, or update the
                  existing snapshot.  This command should only be used
                  interactively; for non-interactive use, you should use the
                  cron command.

     cron         Sleep a random amount of time between 1 and 3600 seconds,
                  then operate as if the fetch command was specified.  As the
                  name suggests, this command is designed for running from
                  cron(8); the random delay serves to minimize the probability
                  that a large number of machines will simultaneously attempt
                  to fetch updates.

     extract      Extract a ports tree, replacing existing files and
                  directories.  NOTE: This will remove anything occupying the
                  location where files or directories are being extracted; in
                  particular, any changes made locally to the ports tree (for
                  example, adding new patches) will be silently obliterated.

                  Only run this command to initialize your portsnap-maintained
                  ports tree for the first time, if you wish to start over
                  with a clean, completely unmodified tree, or if you wish to
                  extract a specific part of the tree (using the path option).

     update       Update a ports tree extracted using the extract command.
                  You must run this command to apply changes to your ports
                  tree after downloading updates via the fetch or cron
                  commands.  Again, note that in the parts of the ports tree
                  which are being updated, any local changes or additions will
                  be removed.

     auto         Run fetch or cron depending on whether stdin is a terminal;
                  then run update or extract depending on whether portsdir

        If your clock is set to local time, adding the line

               0 3 * * * root /usr/sbin/portsnap cron

         to /etc/crontab is a good way to make sure you always have an up-to-
         date snapshot of the ports tree available which can quickly be
         extracted into /usr/ports.  If your clock is set to UTC, please pick
         a random time other than 3AM, to avoid overly imposing an uneven load
         on the server(s) hosting the snapshots.

         Note that running portsnap cron or portsnap fetch does not apply the
         changes that were received: they only download them.  To apply the
         changes, you must follow these commands with portsnap update.  The
         portsnap update command is normally run by hand at a time when you
         are sure that no one is manually working in the ports tree.

        Running portsnap update from cron(8) is a bad idea -- if you are ever
         installing or updating a port at the time the cron job runs, you will
         probably end up in a mess when portsnap updates or removes files
         which are being used by the port build.  However, running portsnap -I
         update is probably safe, and can be used together with pkg-version(8)
         to identify installed software which is out of date.

        If you wish to use portsnap to keep a large number of machines up to
         date, you may wish to set up a caching HTTP proxy.  Since portsnap
         uses fetch(1) to download updates, setting the HTTP_PROXY environment
         variable will direct it to fetch updates from the given proxy.  This
         is much more efficient than mirroring the files on the portsnap
         server, since the vast majority of files are not needed by any
         particular client.

     As an unavoidable part of its operation, a machine running portsnap will
     make its public IP address and the list of files it fetches available to
     the server from which it fetches updates.  Using these it may be possible
     to recognize a machine over an extended period of time, determine when it
     is updated, and identify which portions of the FreeBSD ports tree, if
     any, are being ignored using "REFUSE" directives in portsnap.conf.  In
     addition, the FreeBSD release level is transmitted to the server.

     Statistical data generated from information collected in this manner may
     be published, but only in aggregate and after anonymizing the individual

     /etc/portsnap.conf  Default location of the portsnap configuration file.

     /var/db/portsnap    Default location where compressed snapshots are

     /usr/ports          Default location where the ports tree is extracted.

     fetch(1), sha256(1), fetch(3), portsnap.conf(5), pkg(7), pkg-version(8)

     Colin Percival <[email protected]>

FreeBSD                          March 1, 2016                         FreeBSD
Command Section