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I want to download files from a remote server to my local drive, and do it from the command line. I also want to be able to do this over SSH. How can I do this?

Note: the remote server is Ubuntu, the local is Mac OS X

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4 Answers

up vote 21 down vote accepted

Use scp-command, it runs on top of SSH. Example:

scp username@remote.host:/path/to/file localfile

It also works another way round

scp localfile username@host:/path/remotefile

Username, path, and filename can be omitted (but not the : !).

As Iain said, SFTP works also, but I tend to favor scp for its cp-like usage.

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Less common I'm sure, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I think scp also works remote-to-remote, if you really need to: scp username@remote1:/path/to/file username@remote2:/path/to/file –  JMD Jan 11 '10 at 22:06
can you copy directories? –  Andrew Jan 11 '10 at 22:10
figured it out... -r recursively copies directories too –  Andrew Jan 11 '10 at 22:15
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I use SFTP for this. It's command line and uses the same security as SSH.

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You can also use rsync for it. It can work over SSH.

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If you can't use scp or SFTP you can use tar over SSH:

tar cf - . | ssh otherhost "cd /mydir; tar xvf -"

This one is also good if you have sparse files which otherwise will "explode".

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