How to copy data over SSH with secure copy (scp)

Linux scp command

scp  or  secure copy is a command used for sending files over SSH. You can copy files between computers, say, from your local PC to a server or vice versa. It’s a very secure method of copying files between computers.  scp uses port 22.

The command is quite similar to cp  used in copying local files, expect that you have to specify the remote user and host in your command. The basic syntax is scp mytestfile.txt [email protected]:/remote/folder/path . You can also copy files from one remote server to another remote server, without passing traffic through your PC.

For example, to move a file from Computer A (local) to Computer B ( run the command scp testfile.txt [email protected]:/

The above command specified the root destination folder. The admin login doesn’t have permission to write files here.

Linux scp file command root directory
Linux scp file command root directory


If we specify a different remote file path  scp testfile.txt [email protected]:/srv/ the file is copied correctly.

Linux scp basic command
Linux scp basic command


A few examples:

Copy a file to a remote destination
scp /path/to/source/file [email protected]:/path/to/destination/

Copy a file from a remote server to a local folder
scp [email protected]:/path/to/source/file /path/to/destination/

Copy a single file between remote servers
scp us[email protected]:/path/to/source/file [email protected]:/path/to/destination/

Copy remote file to current location
scp [email protected]:testfile.txt .

Copy a file to the users home folder
scp testfile.txt [email protected]:

Just like the  cp command you can copy multiple files, folders, or files matched by wildcards. For example:

Copy multiple files
scp fileone.txt filetwo.txt [email protected]:/path/to/destination/

Copy files with an extension .txt
scp /path/to/source/*.txt [email protected]:/path/to/destination/

Copy all files in a folder
scp /path/to/source/* [email protected]:/path/to/destination/

Copy all files in folder (recursively)
scp -r /path/to/source/ [email protected]:/path/to/destination/

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