Linux or UNIX securely copy files across a network computer

by on July 30, 2006 · 17 comments· LAST UPDATED August 24, 2007

in , ,

Q. FTP is insecure, how do I securely copy files across a network computer? My network has Windows and Linux systems.

A. You need to use Openssh client and server technology to copy between two more network computers. You can also find free ssh client tools. scp copies files between hosts on a network. It uses ssh for data transfer, and uses the same authentication and provides the same security as ssh.

Copy from Linux to Linux/UNIX system

Copy file called data.txt to Linux system (vivek is username):
$ scp data.txt

Copy more than two files:
$ scp data.txt pic.jpg
Copy /data directory and all files inside /data i.e. recursively copy entire directories:
$ scp -r /data

Copy from Windows to Linux/UNIX system

You can download any one of the following free Windows SCP client

Just install above client and follow on screen instructions.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Todd July 11, 2007 at 4:15 pm

Is there a way to copy multiple files to multiple servers? I’ve tried putting in a space and the location of the other server but no luck.


2 nixCraft July 11, 2007 at 7:01 pm


You can copy multiple files to multiple servers using shell for loop:

SERVERS="user1@box1 user2@box2 user3@box3"
for s in $SERVERS
  scp file1 file2 ${s}:/path


3 Raj February 13, 2008 at 11:53 pm

you could also use it without a script.

for i in 1 2 3; do scp file1 file2 user@box$i; done


4 Raj February 13, 2008 at 11:55 pm

Actually it would be better if you could generate the ssh. keys and add it to your client machines.


5 Arun March 7, 2008 at 5:45 am

Is it possible to send password in the same line?
As in ftp we use, user/password@host . We cant disturb the remote machine for moving public key files. Thats why.


6 module November 30, 2008 at 11:51 am

I found this
to be very helpful when you need to scp files to multiple hosts.


7 laurent June 12, 2009 at 9:53 am

Hi vivek,

thank you for sharing all that in all the really goods post, article and tip/tricks. I’m not a sysadmin and your site has help me a lot those past moths for managing my server. Thanks !


8 D November 11, 2009 at 3:45 pm

yes! very nice site !! thank you!


9 shashwat singh February 22, 2010 at 9:31 am

I am a new user to linux and just wanna noe how to share files in a network btw linux to linux machines or linux to windows
hoping for some quick response


10 vishal February 25, 2010 at 5:25 pm

When i try to copy a file from one server to another server using rcp command, i get error permission denied & if i use command scp, then it gives error connection lost whereas the server is pingable.


11 Shameem January 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Hi All,

This is all clear. But, if i want to copy single file to multiple destination using scp How can we do that ?

If possible, Can anybody send me syntax for that.

Thanks in advance.
Best Regards,


12 Kamal June 14, 2011 at 6:25 am

I connect to a network in three steps. Then how can I copy files to my machine home directory ?


13 nimi August 23, 2011 at 7:08 am

nice post thanks alot………:)


14 realrock October 4, 2011 at 9:44 am

Dest:user account

how copy a file from root mechine to user account in diff computer……..


15 Ratnam October 1, 2012 at 6:39 am


i wanna copy a file from Linux to windows by using rdesktop please help me

Thanks in advance


16 khaled shaaban July 23, 2013 at 10:22 am


We have a file xyz.cap in the below path in the LIGLIG01 of a Linux Server.
I need to make a copy of this file into my flash memory or into my personal computer. Can you help please?

LIGLIG01 tools# cd /tmp
LIGLIG01 tmp# ls
xyz.pcap tmpcmd.2638.out
cfgsrv.lst savsl.tmp tmpcmd.2639.err
hsperfdata_wali sec_audit.ptn1 tmpcmd.2639.out
_iecs_soft1_prg.md5chk.old sec_audit.ptn2 tmpcmd.2643.err
IRI-PTC_Y_TR00.pcap sec_audit_suroot.tmp tmpcmd.2643.out
lig_cd_S21D_5.iso stunnel_conf_8329.conf W12C_5.iso
netdos.out stunnel_conf_8401.conf _WALI_lig_soft.md5chk.old
pid_stunnel_8329 stunnel_conf_8402.conf _WALI_wali_soft.md5chk.old
pid_stunnel_8401 system.ini
pid_stunnel_8402 tmpcmd.2638.err

Thanks in advance.
Best Regards;


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