Linux or UNIX securely copy files across a network computer

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I know FTP is insecure, how do I securely copy files across a network computer? My network has Windows and Linux systems and how to copy files from one machine to another using ssh?

You need to use OpenSSH client and server technology to copy between two more networked computers. You can also find free ssh client tools. The scp command 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

The syntax is:
scp {source} {destination}
scp file1 file2
scp file1 user@host:/path/to/destination/

To copy file called data.txt to Linux system using vivek 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/
To copy a file from server2 to server1 while logged into server1:
scp vivek@server2:/my/file/location/ /path/to/destination

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 to copy files.


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

17 comment

  1. 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. Todd,

    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. 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.

  4. 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 !

  5. hi
    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

  6. 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.

  7. 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,

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

  9. source:root
    Dest:user account

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

  10. Dears;

    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;

  11. How Can I make two windows machine communicate through command line (si I can yuse this concept in script) like scp can make communication between two linux system.

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