How to install lftp on FreeBSD using the CLI

I need to download a large file and get the specified file using several connections to speed up downloads on FreeBSD. How do I install lftp and download files using FreeBSD?

Tutorial details
Difficulty level Easy
Root privileges Yes
Requirements FreeBSD
Est. reading time 3 minutes
lftp is a sophisticated file transfer program. It supports HTTPS, FTP/FTPS/SFTP, HTTP, and other connections to other hosts. Besides FTP-like protocols, lftp has support for BitTorrent protocol too. Seeding is also supported. This page explains how to install lftp on the FreeBSD cloud system (server or jail) to grab large files using multiple connections.

Installing lftp on FreeBSD

  1. Open the terminal application and then run the following command to install lftp on your FreeBSD box.
  2. First, make sure the pkg database is up to date:
    sudo pkg update
  3. Apply any pending updates to the FreeBSD box:
    sudo pkg upgrade
  4. Search for lftp package:
    sudo pkg search lftp
  5. Note down the lftp version and then try to grab information about the lftp package on FreeBSD:
    sudo pkg search -f lftp-4.9.2
    How to search lftp package on FreeBSD Unix system

    Searching for lftp on FreeBSD

  6. Finally install lftp on FreeBSD using the pkg command:
    sudo pkg install lftp
    Installing lftp on FreeBSD using the pkg command
  7. Alternatively, we can install it via the port as root user:
    cd /usr/ports/ftp/lftp/ && make install clean

lftp command syntax

The syntax is:
lftp url
lftp [option] url
lftp -e 'command1; get url; exit'

For example, if you type the following command, it will not download anything:
lftp get
Here is what I see:

cd ok, cwd=/files/adduser.txt                                     

By default, lftp is interactive. We need to issue commands. So my sample session would be:
Now we will see lftp :~> prompt. To retrieve/download remote file, use the get command:
lftp :~> get
Then exit from lftp or move to background if jobs are active. Type either exit or quit. The quit commnand is a built-in alias for exit:
lftp :~> exit
However, we can automate download procdure by passing the -e to lftp client:
lftp -e 'get; exit'
Downloading files with lftp on FreeBSD box
Now it is much more straightforward and easy to use.

lftp examples

lftp has shell-like command syntax allowing you to launch several commands in parallel in the background. The syntax is:
pget url
pget -c url
pget -c -n 10 url
pget -c -n 10 -O base_dir url


  • -c : Continue or resume broken transfer.
  • -n {maxconn} : Set maximum number of connections when downloading files to accelerator download speed.
  • -O {base_dir} : Specifies base directory where files should be placed

For example, we can download FreeBSD 13 ISO for bhyve VM as follows using the lftp:

lftp -e "pget -c -n 20 ${URL}; exit;"

lftp example
We can use the shasum command to verify and checksum for downloaded FreeBSD ISO file:
shasum --ignore-missing -c CHECKSUM.SHA512-FreeBSD-13.0-RELEASE-amd64
I saw confirmation as follows:

FreeBSD-13.0-RELEASE-amd64-dvd1.iso: OK

Next, I am going to set up FreeBSD VM under bhyve. But that will be another tutorial someday.

Summing up

The lftp client is my go-to download for both Linux and FreeBSD, including macOS. Please try out lftp. lftp has many more options. Hence, make sure your read man page/documentations by typing the following man command:
man lftp

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