Build cache

Cargo stores the output of a build into the "target" directory. By default, this is the directory named target in the root of your workspace. To change the location, you can set the CARGO_TARGET_DIR environment variable, the config value, or the --target-dir command-line flag.

The directory layout depends on whether or not you are using the --target flag to build for a specific platform. If --target is not specified, Cargo runs in a mode where it builds for the host architecture. The output goes into the root of the target directory, separated based on whether or not it is a release build:

target/debug/ Contains debug build output.
target/release/ Contains release build output (with --release flag).

When building for another target with --target, the output is placed in a directory with the name of the target:

target/<triple>/debug/ target/thumbv7em-none-eabihf/debug/
target/<triple>/release/ target/thumbv7em-none-eabihf/release/

Note: When not using --target, this has a consequence that Cargo will share your dependencies with build scripts and proc macros. RUSTFLAGS will be shared with every rustc invocation. With the --target flag, build scripts and proc macros are built separately (for the host architecture), and do not share RUSTFLAGS.

Within the profile directory (debug or release), artifacts are placed into the following directories:

target/debug/Contains the output of the package being built (the [[bin]] executables and [lib] library targets).
target/debug/examples/ Contains examples ([[example]] targets).

Some commands place their output in dedicated directories in the top level of the target directory:

target/doc/Contains rustdoc documentation (cargo doc).
target/package/Contains the output of the cargo package and cargo publish commands.

Cargo also creates several other directories and files needed for the build process. Their layout is considered internal to Cargo, and is subject to change. Some of these directories are:

target/debug/deps/ Dependencies and other artifacts.
target/debug/incremental/ rustc incremental output, a cache used to speed up subsequent builds.
target/debug/build/ Output from build scripts.

Dep-info files

Next to each compiled artifact is a file called a "dep info" file with a .d suffix. This file is a Makefile-like syntax that indicates all of the file dependencies required to rebuild the artifact. These are intended to be used with external build systems so that they can detect if Cargo needs to be re-executed. The paths in the file are absolute by default. See the build.dep-info-basedir config option to use relative paths.

# Example dep-info file found in target/debug/foo.d
/path/to/myproj/target/debug/foo: /path/to/myproj/src/ /path/to/myproj/src/

Shared cache

A third party tool, sccache, can be used to share built dependencies across different workspaces.

To setup sccache, install it with cargo install sccache and set RUSTC_WRAPPER environmental variable to sccache before invoking Cargo. If you use bash, it makes sense to add export RUSTC_WRAPPER=sccache to .bashrc. Alternatively, you can set [build.rustc-wrapper] in the Cargo configuration. Refer to sccache documentation for more details.