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SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) is a reliable way of transferring files between two machines. SFTP is available as a protocol choice in some graphical file transfer programs and also as a command-line program on most Linux, Unix, and Mac OS X systems. SFTP has more features than SCP and allows for other operations on remote files, remote directory listing, and resuming interrupted transfers. Command-line SFTP cannot recursively copy directory contents; to do so, try using SCP or graphical SFTP client.

Command-line usage:

$ sftp -B buffersize

      (to a remote system from local)
sftp> put sourcefile somedir/destinationfile
sftp> put -P sourcefile somedir/

      (from a remote system to local)
sftp> get sourcefile somedir/destinationfile
sftp> get -P sourcefile somedir/

sftp> exit
  • -B: optional, specify buffer size for transfer; larger may increase speed, but costs memory
  • -P: optional, preserve file attributes and permissions

Linux / Solaris / AIX / HP-UX / Unix:

  • The "sftp" command-line program should already be installed.

Microsoft Windows:

  • MobaXterm
    Free, full-featured, graphical Windows SSH, SCP, and SFTP client.

Mac OS X:

  • The "sftp" command-line program should already be installed. You may start a local terminal window from "Applications->Utilities".
  • Cyberduck is a full-featured and free graphical SFTP and SCP client.

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