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Linux or UNIX securely copy files across a network computer

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 ras.nixcraft.in Linux system (vivek is username):
$ scp data.txt vivek@ras.nixcraft.in:/home/vivek

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

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.

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Todd July 11, 2007, 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.

  • nixCraft July 11, 2007, 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
  • Raj February 13, 2008, 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

  • Raj February 13, 2008, 11:55 pm

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

  • Arun March 7, 2008, 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.

  • module November 30, 2008, 11:51 am

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

  • laurent June 12, 2009, 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 !

  • D November 11, 2009, 3:45 pm

    yes! very nice site !! thank you!

  • shashwat singh February 22, 2010, 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

  • vishal February 25, 2010, 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.

  • Shameem January 19, 2011, 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,

  • Kamal June 14, 2011, 6:25 am

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

  • nimi August 23, 2011, 7:08 am

    nice post thanks alot………:)

  • realrock October 4, 2011, 9:44 am

    Dest:user account

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

  • Ratnam October 1, 2012, 6:39 am


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

    Thanks in advance

  • khaled shaaban July 23, 2013, 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 rstser.sh 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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