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trickle is a portable lightweight userspace bandwidth shaper, that either runs in collaborative mode (together with trickled) or in stand alone mode.

It works by preloading its own socket library wrappers, that limit traffic by delaying data.

Trickle runs entirely in userspace. [1] [dead link 2015-08-28]


Install the trickle package.


  • Programs that generate heavy traffic, but get controlled via a web interfaces (with very light traffic), will also have the web interface traffic shaped. This means that they will barely be accessible.
  • Trickle can only limit traffic of programs that do not fork, so shaping a FTP server's traffic will not work that way.

If you are running the daemon (see below), just start any program with "trickle" in front of it:

# trickle pacman -Syu

Otherwise also specify upload and download limit as well as other configuration options (see trickle(1) for more information):

# trickle -d200 -u50 pacman -Syu

Modifying other systemd services

Modify ExecStart for a desired systemd service, appending /usr/bin/trickle. For example:


changes to

ExecStart=/usr/bin/trickle /usr/bin/daemon

When using the standalone mode, also add the config options as described in #Usage. Restart the daemon, which should now have shaped bandwith.

Use with rsync

Instead of putting trickle in front of the rsync command (which won't work, since rsync presumably forks the ssh process), you call rsync like this:

rsync --rsh="trickle -d 10 -u 10 ssh" SRC DEST

Daemon configuration

If you want to have application specific settings with trickled, create the optional /etc/trickled.conf file as described in the trickled.conf(5) man page. For example:

Priority = 1
Time-Smoothing = 0.1
Length-Smoothing = 2
Priority = 8
Time-Smoothing = 5
Length-Smoothing = 20

Systemd integration

Tango-edit-cut.pngThis section is being considered for removal.Tango-edit-cut.png

Reason: Please document systemd services upstream for inclusion, or at least in the Bug tracker. (Discuss in Talk:Trickle#)

Create the following two files and customize them to your needs.

Description=trickle bandwith shaper

ExecStart=/usr/bin/trickled -u${TRICKLE_UP} -d${TRICKLE_DOWN} -w${TRICKLE_WSIZE} -t${TRICKLE_STIME} -l${TRICKLE_SLENGTH} -f

# Upload bandwidth limit in KBit/s

# Download bandwidth limit in KBit/s

# Set peak detection window size to size KB. This determines
# how aggressive trickled is at eliminating bandwidth consump-
# tion peaks.  Lower values will be more aggressive, but may
# also result in over shaping.

# Set smoothing time to seconds s.  The smoothing time deter-
# mines with what intervals trickled will try to let the ap-
# plication transcieve data.  Smaller values will result in a
# more continuous (smooth) session, while larger values may
# produce bursts in the sending and receiving data.  Smaller
# values (0.1 - 1 s) are ideal for interactive applications
# while slightly larger values (1 - 10 s) are better for ap-
# plications that need bulk transfer.  This parameter is cus-
# tomizable on a per-application basis via trickled.conf(5).

# Set smoothing length to length KB.  The smoothing length is
# a fallback of the smoothing time.  If trickled cannot meet
# the requested smoothing time, it will instead fall back on
# sending length KB of data.  The default value is 10 KB.