The file transfer protocol is older than most of our readers, but it's still going strong. FTP does not provide the security of a modern protocol, but you may still need to use it. That's how it's done.
Warning: Do not use FTP over the Internet
Let's make that clear right from the beginning: File Transfer Protocol (FTP) dates back to the early 1
When transferring files within your network, you should be on the safe side as long as no one on the network snoops for sensitive documents and makes eavesdropping during transmission. If your files are in no way confidential or confidential, you should use FTP to move them within your internal network. Linux has the standard command line utility
ftp to account for this scenario.
But definitely does not use the
ftp command to access external resources on the Internet. Use the command-line utility
sftp that uses the secure SSH file transfer protocol. We will introduce both programs in this tutorial.
To clarify why you never want to use FTP over the Internet, look at the screenshot below. It shows the FTP password in plain text. Anyone who is on your network or between you and the FTP server on the Internet can easily see that the password is MySecretPassword.
Without encryption, a malicious actor can also modify files that you download or upload during the transfer. 
The ftp command
If you have a valid account on an FTP site, you can connect using the following command. In this article, replace the IP address of the commands with the IP address of the FTP server to which you are connecting.
Warning : You should only use the
ftp command to connect to servers in a trusted local area network. Use the
sftp command below to transfer files over the Internet.
The FTP server responds with a welcome message. The wording of the greeting varies from server to server. You will then be asked for the username of the account you are logging in to.
Note that the IP address of the site you are connecting to appears followed by your Linux user name. If your account name on the FTP server matches your Linux user name, just press Enter. This will use your Linux username as the account name on the FTP server. If your Linux user name and FTP account name are different, enter the username of the FTP account and press Enter.
Logging In to the FTP Server
You are prompted to enter your password for the FTP site. Enter your password and press Enter. Your password is not displayed on the screen. When your FTP user account name and password are verified by the FTP server, you are logged in to the FTP server.
Finding and retrieving files
First, you probably want to get a list of files on the FTP server. That's exactly what the command
ls does. Our user sees the file
gc.c on the FTP server, and he wants to download it to his own computer. His computer is the "local computer" in the FTP language.
The command to get (or "fetch") a file is
get . Our user therefore issues the command
get gc.c . You type
get a space, and then the name of the file that you want to retrieve.
The FTP server responds by transferring the file to the local computer and confirming the transfer. The size of the file and the time required for the transfer are also displayed.
To retrieve multiple files at once Use the command
mget (multiple get). The command
mget asks if you want to download the individual files one after the other. Answer by pressing "y" for yes and "n" for no.
This would be boring with a large number of files. Because of this, collections of related files are typically stored on FTP sites as individual tar.gz or tar.bz2 files.
RELATED: How to extract files from a .tar.gz or .tar file. bz2 file under Linux
mget * .c
Uploading files to the ftp server
Dependent on the permissions, the With your FTP account, you may be able to upload ("set") files to the server. To upload a file, use the command
put . In our example, the user uploads a file named
Songs.tar.gz to the FTP server.
Places the songs.tar.gz
 As you might expect, there is a command to place multiple files on the FTP server at the same time. It is called
mput (multiple put). Just as the command
mput asks for confirmation of "y" or "n" to upload each file one at a time.
The same argument for storing file sets in tar archives applies to dropping files as you would to retrieving files. Our user uploads multiple .odt files with the following command:
mput * .odt
Creating and modifying directories
If your user account is on the If FTP server allows this, you may be able to create directories. The command to do so is
mkdir . To be clear, any directory you create with the command
mkdir will be created on the FTP server and not on your local machine.
Use the CD
to change the directories on the FTP server. command. When you use the command
cd the command prompt
ftp> does not change to display your new current directory. The command
pwd (print working directory) shows you your current directory.
Our FTP user creates a directory called music, changes to the new directory and confirms where it is by using pwd
command command then uploads a file to this directory.
To quickly enter the parent directory of the current directory To get to it, use the command
access to the local machine
To change the directory on the local machine, you can use the command
lcd at the Use Command Prompt
ftp> . However, it is easy to lose track of where you are in the local file system. A more convenient way to access the local file system is to use the
! opens a shell window for the local computer. In this shell you can do everything you can do in a standard terminal window. If you type
exit you return to the
Our user has the command
! and called a shell window on the local machine. You issued a
ls command to see what files exist in this directory, and then type the output
!! 19659026] lsExit
To rename files on the FTP server, use the rename
command. Here, our FTP user renames a file with
renamesand then uses the command
lsto list the files in the directory.rename songs.tar.gz rock_songs.tar.gz  ls
To delete files on the FTP server, use the Command
delete. To delete multiple files at the same time, use the command
mdelete. You will be prompted for a "y" or "n" to delete each file.
Here our FTP user has listed the files to display their names, and then one has been selected for deletion. They decide to erase them all.lsdelete gc.omdelete * .o
Using the sftp Command
] Readers using the IP Addressing System, have determined that the 192.168 address of the FTP server used in the above examples is an internal IP address, also known as a private IP address. As we warned at the beginning of this article, the command
ftpshould only be used on internal networks.
If you want to connect to a remote server or public FTP server, use the
sftpcommand. Our user will connect to an SFTP account named
demoon the publicly available FTP server at
When they connect, they are notified Connection has been established. You will also be notified that the authenticity of the host can not be verified. This is normal when you first connect a new host. You press "y" to accept the connection.
Because the user account name (
demo) was passed on the command line, you are not prompted for the user account name. You will only be prompted for the password. This is entered, verified, and accepted, and they are presented with the command prompt
The FTP commands described above work the same way in an SFTP session, with the following exceptions:
- To delete a file, use
delete)  To delete multiple files, use
- To switch to the parent directory, use
cd ..(FTP uses
Our user has used some commands in his SFTP session. You use
ls to list the files, and
cd to go to the pub directory. You have used the
pwd to print the working directory.
There are other options for transferring files in the Linux world, in particular
. scp (secure copy), but we focused on FTP and SFTP here. These two commands are used in the appropriate scenarios to help you and your file storage and recovery needs work well.