scp: Do not Overwrite Existing File On Linux or Unix System

I am a new Linux user. I use scp to upload files to net-storage provided CDN company. I do not want to overwrite the existing files. How can I prevent overwriting of files when using scp command under Linux, Mac OS X or Unix like operating systems?

Short answer – Not possible.

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Tutorial details
DifficultyEasy (rss)
Root privilegesNo
Requirementsrsync
TimeN/A

Long answer

The scp command will always overwrite the already present files if owner has write permissions. I suggest that you use the rsync command. The syntax is

rsync --ignore-existing file1 user@server1:/dest/
rsync --ignore-existing file.to.upload user@server1.cyberciti.biz:/path/to/dest/
### add ssh, just in case ;) ###
rsync -e ssh --ignore-existing file.to.upload user@server1.cyberciti.biz:/path/to/dest/
rsync -avP --ignore-existing *.png user@server1.cyberciti.biz:/stoage/static/c/cyberciti.biz/images/
rsync --ignore-existing file1 /path/to/dest/

The --ignore-existing option skip updating files that exist on receiver such as server1.cyberciti.biz.

Shell script example

The following script will upload files from your computer to the remote server using the rsync command. First, make sure you setup the public key authentication:

#!/bin/bash
# Purpose: Batch file uploader from my desktop to the remote server
# Author: nixCraft <www.cyberciti.biz> under GPL v2.x+
# -----------------------------------------------------------------
_server="server1.cyberciti.biz"
_user="nixcraft"
 
## static url mapping ##
_cdnbase="http://static.cyberciti.org/images"
 
_dest="/var/www/images/"
_cdnurls=""
_isuploaded=0
_files="$@"
## rsync args ##
_args="-aPv --ignore-existing"
## fail safe ##
[[ "$_files" == "" ]] && { echo "Usage: $0 file1.png file2.png"; exit 0; }
 
## Let us start uploading files. Bash for loop allows us to do a few more additional things, 
## but I am keeping it simple here for demo purpose
for i in $_files
do
        # make sure $i file exist #
        if [ -f "$i" ]
        then
                rsync "$_args" "$i" ${_user}@${_server}:${_dest}
                _cdnurls="${_cdnurls}\n${_cdnbase}/${i##*/}"
                _isuploaded=1
        else
                echo "Error $i file not found."
        fi
done
 
if [ $_isuploaded -eq 1 ]
then
        echo "CDN urls:"
        echo -e "$_cdnurls"
        echo 
fi

You can use the script as follows:

./script foo.png
./script foo.png bar.png
./script *.mov
./script test.gif

Sample outputs:

sending incremental file list
test-image.gif
         950 100%    0.00kB/s    0:00:00 (xfer#1, to-check=0/1)
 
sent 1053 bytes  received 31 bytes  197.09 bytes/sec
total size is 950  speedup is 0.88
CDN urls:
 
http://static.cyberciti.org/images/test-image.gif

Run it again:

./script test.gif

Sample outputs:

sending incremental file list
 
sent 60 bytes  received 12 bytes  13.09 bytes/sec
total size is 950  speedup is 13.19
CDN urls:
 
http://static.cyberciti.org/images/test-image.gif
See also

If anyone knows a better solution to this FAQ please share in the comments below.

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2 comments… add one
  • giel May 16, 2013 @ 18:03

    use rsync

  • jet May 20, 2013 @ 19:45

    mount the resource using sshfs and use regular file manager (if you do stuff manually)

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