Archive for January, 2010

FTP from Linux/UNIX Server

January 27, 2010

Downloading files from UNIX/Linux server using ftp

FTP – File Transfer Protocol is a protocol that helps download files quickly and accurately. Using ftp is quite easy. All you need is to have is a login ID and PassWord to authenticate your access to the ftp server.

FTP Server: FTP Server can be found on almost all distributions of UNIX/Linux as it is installed when the OS is installed. It is widely used to download softwares from server archives over the internet. To access the files/softwares from a server using ftp a ftp client is a must. The amount and type of access to a ftp server depends on the choice and willingness of the server administrator. He/she can provide open access for one and all as ‘anonymous’ user or can restrict the access to the choosen few. If the access is resticed then a login ID and PassWord is required to access the server. (Important: The amount of access and activities of the user can also be controlled by the administrator.) It is all a matter of how the server has been configured by the administrator

FTP Client: Your favourite web browser can also act as a ftp client but to a limited extent. The client can be GUI based or command line. There are many GUI based clients that are freely available. One such client is shown bellow:

Screen Shot: FTP Client

FTP Client

Here all you need to do is provide the hostname (can be IP of the server or domoin name), the user ID and password. In case anonymous login is allowed then you can simply omit or provide you email ID etc. as login ID and password. The graphic based ftp client though convenient to use are considered to less reliable as compared to the command line downloading (especially by those who are more comfortable with the command line and have becode habitual). But the new ftp clients are coming with many added state-of-the-art features like. Many of them can resume the download/upload process if were disconnected somehow from the server on reconnection.

The command line clients are there for quite a while and are the most reliable. They offer many options and added features (but only to those who are comfortable with the command line).

Connecting: Before connecting to the ftp server it is important to decide the type of client to use. It can be done using some SSH client like putty from a window machine or a linux machine can be used to connect directly form command prompt. The SSH Client looks like

SSH Secure Shell

SSH Connection to the ftp server

It is quite easy to connect to connect to a ftp server and perform some basic operations. Here is how:

Important: It is important to note that you should Ist navigate to the directory where you want to store the downloaded files or the directory that contains the files to be uploaded on the local machine. The current directory acts as a default directory for uploading/downloading.


To login into a ftp server type the following command at the command prompt:

ftp –host name–

Host name can be either the IP of the server or the domain if its having one.

Then it will ask for Login ID and then the PassWord. Enter the same and you will get access to the ftp> prompt. It will look as under:


Once logged into the ftp server as above you can start using commands to uploading/downloading files from/to the server. You need to use different commands to for the purpsose. Some basic commands are discribed below.

To navigate to a particular directory on the remote machine use,

ftp> cd –path/file name–

To change to binary mode from ASCII,

ftp> binary

The binary mode is considered to be more fast and efficient mode of file transffer.

To download a file from the remote machine type,

ftp> get –File Name–

To download more than one file at the same time type,

ftp> mget –Remote Files–

Wild characters like * can be used to download multiple from from the current directory on the remote machine to the local machine.

To uplaod files to a remote machine type,

ftp> put –File Name–

To uplaod multiple files type,

ftp> mput –Remote Files–

To know you current location on the remote machine type,

fpt> pwd

To know your current loation on the local machine type,

ftp> !pwd

To view the contents of a folder on remote server type,

ftp> ls

To view the contents of a current folder on local machine type,

ftp> !ls

To logout of the ftp server type,

ftp> quit

Comments and Suggestions are Welcome.


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January 27, 2010

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