Updating Archlinux Mirrorlist with Reflector

Reflector has an archwiki page, and you should consult it in any case. It is also mentioned in the Installation guide.

By default, pacman does not update its own mirrorlist; however, there is the pacman-mirrorlist package which gets updated regularly. But it does not overwrite the actual mirrorlist on updates - that would be bad, because all its entries are commented out by default.

Some people may prefer constant manual intervention here, but I prefer automation.

Reflector can do this manually or via a systemd service. It also reads the configuration file /etc/xdg/reflector/reflector.conf.

The archwiki page lists three methods of automated execution:

  • a hook to run after a pacman-mirrorlist update
  • a weekly systemd timer
  • a daily cron task

While it makes sense to only run reflector when pacman-mirrorlist is updated, I prefer to run it weekly, because servers can drop out or slow down more often than that.

Installation, Configuration, Automation-up-

Install the reflector package.

Here's my edited /etc/xdg/reflector/reflector.conf:

$> grep -vE '^#|^$' /etc/xdg/reflector/reflector.conf
--save /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
--protocol https
--latest 200
--sort score

(that's most of Europe)

Now I just start the service, check its status, and the content of the newly created mirrorlist:

$> sudo systemctl start reflector.service
$> sudo systemctl status reflector.service
$> less /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

All is good - start the timer & check its status:

$> sudo systemctl start reflector.timer
$> systemctl status reflector.timer

Again, all good. Install it:

$> sudo systemctl enable reflector.timer
Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/timers.target.wants/reflector.timer → /usr/lib/systemd/system/reflector.timer.

Name Resolution Required-up-

In the past, reflector did not have its own systemd service and I wrote my own. I had problems with reflector starting before the WWW was available (name resolution). I hope the newly included service does not have that problem. It includes:

$> grep ^After /usr/lib/systemd/system/reflector.service 
After=network-online.target nss-lookup.target

man systemd.special says:


A target that should be used as synchronization point for all host/network name service lookups. Note that this is independent of UNIX user/group name lookups for which nss-user-lookup.target should be used. All services for which the availability of full host/network name resolution is essential should be ordered after this target, but not pull it in.

Sounds about correct, I have to remember that.