SCP Tutorial

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  • 10/10/2007 8:08 PM


If you are in a UNIX environment and need a quick and secure way to copy files I suggest using scp from the command-line. SSH and OpenSSH provide the scp application, which allows you to connect and transfer files on servers running an encrypted FTP service. (ssh daemon)

If you are looking for an X windows GUI application, you may want to try out http://gftp.seul.org/.


Here is how scp works:
(Note the use of periods; they are essential!!)


1) To copy a file from hostB to hostA, while logged in to hostB:

[user@server ~]$ scp -P port filename username@hostA.com:.
(copies file to user's home dir on hostA machine, because of the period after the colon)


2) To copy a folder from hostB to hostA, while logged in to hostB first cd to the directory on HostB which contains the folder you want to copy:

[user@server ~]$ scp -r -P port folder username@hostA.com:.(creates new folder if the folder does not exist, again in user's home directory)


3) To copy a file from hostA to hostB, while logged in to hostB:

[user@server ~]$ scp -P port username@hostA.com:filename .
(copies into current directory on hostB)

[user@server ~]$ scp -r -P port username@hostA.com:folder .
(copies whole folder into current directory on hostB)


4) To copy a file or folder within a folder from hostA to hostB, while logged in to hostB:

[user@server ~]$ scp -P port username@hostA.com:/folder/dir/filename .
(copies into current directory on hostB)

[user@server ~]$ scp -r -P port username@hostA.com:/folder/dir .
(copies whole folder into current directory on hostB)


5) Instead of using the '.' to designate files to be copied to a home directory or the current working directory you can give scp an actual path (assuming you have write permissions):

[user@server ~]$ scp -r -P port folder username@hostA:/home/httpd/

[user@server ~]$ scp -P port username@hostA.com:/folder/dir/filename /home/tmp/


Does your host impose a resource control over ssh?
Just nice any/all of the above statements with a prefix like

[user@server ~]$ nice -n +19

You can change the number 19 to any value below your hosts resource limit.

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