SSH or Secure Shell is a protocol that allows secure access to remote computers. SSH also comes with scp utility for transferring file between remote computers. It uses the SSH protocol and has the syntax almost similar to the cp command.
Other file transfer applications such as sftp and rsync can also utilize SSH to secure their file transfers. These applications allow us to copy our files from local to remote servers and to copy files from remote servers to our local machine.
Examples for the following file transfer methods are based on the above setup.
Make sure you have SSH access to the remote server with adequate permission to the remote files and folders.
Methods for remote file transfer using SSH:
The easiest of these is scp or secure copy. While cp is for copying local files, scp is for remote file transfer. The main difference between cp and scp is that, you'll have to specify the remote host's DNS name or IP address and provide a login credential for the command to work when using scp. You can scp files from local to remote and from remote to local.
$ scp myfile.txt remoteuser@remoteserver:/remote/folder/
If the target folder (/remote/folder/) is not specified, it will copy the file to the remote user's home directory.
$ scp remoteuser@remoteserver:/remote/folder/remotefile.txt localfile.txt
Using . as the copy target (replacing localfile.txt will copy the remote file to the current working directory using the same filename (remotefile.txt)
$ scp myfile.txt myfile2.txt remoteuser@remoteserver:/remote/folder/
$ scp * remoteuser@remoteserver:/remote/folder/
$ scp -r * remoteuser@remoteserver:/remote/folder/
remoteuser need to exist and have write permission to /remote/folder/ in the remote system.
GUI programs such WinSCP can also be used to transfer files between local and remote host using scp methods.
sftp or Secure FTP, on the other hand works almost exactly like ftp but with a secure connection. Most of the commands are similar and can be used interchangeably. The following sftp example will work exactly as ftp would.
$ sftp firstname.lastname@example.org Connected to 192.168.1.10. sftp> dir file1 file2 file3 sftp> pwd Remote working directory: /home/user sftp> get file2 Fetching /home/user/file2 to file2 /home/user/file2 100% 3740KB 747.9KB/s 00:05 sftp> bye $
You can also use ssh to secure your rsync session. To do this, use --rsh=ssh or -e “ssh” with your normal rsync commands. The following 2 commands will work exactly the same;
$ rsync -av --delete --rsh=ssh /path/to/source email@example.com:/remote/folder/ $ rsync -av --delete -e "ssh" /path/to/source firstname.lastname@example.org:/remote/folder/
If these options are not specified, rsync will first try to connect to rsyncd but will automatically fall back to SSH if rsyncd is not running in the remote system.
Remote filesystems could be mounted to the local host and accessed as a local filesystem. Mounting remote filesystem requires SSH access to the remote host and using sshfs.
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