What's the command for logging in with FTP all with one line?

ftp username:password@my.domain.com


Password required for username:password

  • 2
    Use man ftp to find out, or maybe ftp --help. Don't forget that ftp may mean different utilities.... – Basile Starynkevitch Mar 3 '12 at 16:29
  • 2
    ftp ftp://username:password@my.domain.com – Zheileman Mar 3 '12 at 16:35
  • 1
    You should also remember that the commandline of a given process is visible to all the other users on the system. Therefore, giving your password as a part of the commandline may be a serious security issue. – Daniel Kozar Mar 3 '12 at 19:59
  • Related - superuser.com/questions/937124/…. – slm Sep 1 '18 at 13:09
ftp -nv yourftpserver.com

then user your_username or user anonymous

I posted this answer since ftp ftp://username:password@my.domain.com did not work for me.

Usage: { ftp | pftp } [-46pinegvtd] [hostname]
   -4: use IPv4 addresses only
   -6: use IPv6, nothing else
   -p: enable passive mode (default for pftp)
   -i: turn off prompting during mget
   -n: inhibit auto-login
   -e: disable readline support, if present
   -g: disable filename globbing
   -v: verbose mode
   -t: enable packet tracing [nonfunctional]
   -d: enable debugging
  • 3
    This isn't that useful because it requires interactive usage. I might as well just type 'ftp user@yourserver'. – smaudet Aug 5 '16 at 8:41
  • 4
    this does not answer the question – phil294 Feb 18 '19 at 16:07

The best option is to use a .netrc along with something like gpg for security purposes.

I've written a general purpose script for this, which I may upload later, but it boils down to:

gpg -c .netrc

or optionally with a passphrase on the commandline and an output destination:

gpg --passphrase <secretphrase> -o .netrc.gpg -c .netrc

Not shown here, but you could additionally use asymmetric keys (if you have them setup) with gpg to make this even more secure.

Then when you are ready to login

gpg .netrc.gpg
# or
gpg --passphrase <secretphrase> -o .netrc .netrc.gpg
ftp yourservername
rm .netrc

An example .netrc:

machine google.com
login <username>
password <secretpassword>

I actually keep a local hash and the original copy of these files on a different computer than the one I that I use the .netrc files on, and verify the hash of the .netrc and the script that I run, but that is above and beyond the OP's original question.

  • This is the best answer, although it can be improved: (1) user credentials within a single command line will be stored in shell history => security issues. (2) .netrc works also without gpg => security issues. Also check that the .netrc file has correct permissions: chmod 600 .netrc (3) a shell function as wrapper around the decrypt, ftp call, and removal of decrypted .netrc would be helpful. Thank you for your great answer! – math May 29 '19 at 6:57
  • So instead of the FTP password the user has to type the GPG passphrase? Also, if an attacker has write access to your personal files there are tons of ways of revealing your credentials as soon as you're using them. In that scenario GPG only really helps against an attacker with read-only access. Which is really rare, I guess? – Konrad Nov 8 '19 at 16:17
  • @Konrad So I'm less sure about the local files attach, but, no, and no, I think? passphrase is only for people who want that, it is a bit silly to trade a password for a password, however you can map many separate passwords to one password. Asymmetric you don't have to worry about any passphrase. Then you just use the first command, not the second (well you do, but just once). Your concerns about local are not warranted, gpg takes care of its own local file permissions. And if you are rooted it doesn't matter... – smaudet Feb 29 '20 at 14:55

You can try

my_ftp() {
  ftp -i -n <<EOF
    open $HOST
    user "$USER" "$PASS"

which you then can call with my_ftp $'ls subfolder\nanothercommand'

This solution is not interactive but the best I could figure out

edit: You are probably best off to just use curl instead.


Use netrc. It is better than giving the password away on the command line.

  • This answer does not deserve a negative score (though it is lacking an example of how to do it). – Peter Mortensen May 28 '16 at 11:28
  • I agree - however nobody ever changed this (and I didn't downvote it). – smaudet Aug 5 '16 at 8:40

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