10 examples of sFTP commands to transfer files to remote servers on Linux

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File transfer protocol (FTP) was a widely used protocol for remotely transferring files or data in an unencrypted format that is not a secure way of communication.

How we all know File transfer protocol is not at all secure, as all transmissions are in clear text and the data can be read by anyone on the network when the packets are sniffed.

10 examples of sftp commands

So basically, FTP can be used in limited cases or on the networks you trust. Over time, Secure Copy (SCP) and Secure Shell (SSH) addressed this security ambiguity and added an encrypted layer of security as data is transferred between remote computers.

[ You might also like: Best Command-Line FTP Clients for Linux ]

SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) it’s spilling over SSH Protocol on standard port 22nd by default to establish a secure connection. SFTP has been integrated into many GUI Tools (FileZilla, WinSCP, FireFTP, Etc.).

Security warnings: Please do not open SSH Harbor (Safe SHell) worldwide as this would be a security breach. You can only open for a specific IP address from which you transfer or manage files on the remote system or vice versa.

  • How to secure and harden the OpenSSH server
  • How to change the SSH port on Linux
  • How to use Rsync to sync files using a non-standard SSH port
  • 5 Best Practices for Securing and Protecting SSH Servers
  • 10 examples of wget commands in Linux

This article will guide you to 10 examples of sftp commands to use via the interactive command line interface in the Linux terminal.

1. How to connect to SFTP

By default, the same SSH protocol is used to authenticate and establish an SFTP connection. To start an SFTP session, enter the user name and remote host name or IP address at the command prompt. After successful authentication you will see a shell with a sftp> prompt.

[[email protected] ~]# sftp [email protected]

Connecting to
[email protected]'s password:

2. Get help

Once you are in sftp prompt, check the available commands by typing ‘?‘ or ‘help‘at the command prompt.

sftp> ?
Available commands:
cd path                       Change remote directory to 'path'
lcd path                      Change local directory to 'path'
chgrp grp path                Change group of file 'path' to 'grp'
chmod mode path               Change permissions of file 'path' to 'mode'
chown own path                Change owner of file 'path' to 'own'
help                          Display this help text
get remote-path [local-path]  Download file
lls [ls-options [path]]       Display local directory listing
ln oldpath newpath            Symlink remote file
lmkdir path                   Create local directory
lpwd                          Print local working directory
ls [path]                     Display remote directory listing
lumask umask                  Set local umask to 'umask'
mkdir path                    Create remote directory
put local-path [remote-path]  Upload file
pwd                           Display remote working directory
exit                          Quit sftp
quit                          Quit sftp
rename oldpath newpath        Rename remote file
rmdir path                    Remove remote directory
rm path                       Delete remote file
symlink oldpath newpath       Symlink remote file
version                       Show SFTP version
!command                      Execute 'command' in local shell
!                             Escape to local shell
?                             Synonym for help

3. Check the current working directory

The command ‘lpwd‘is used to denote the Local current working directory while using the pwd command to create the remote control Working directory.

sftp> lpwd
Local working directory: /
sftp> pwd
Remote working directory: /tecmint/
  • lpwd – Print the current directory on your system
  • pwd – Print the current directory on the FTP server

4. List files with sFTP

List files and directories on a local and remote system FTP server.

On remote control
sftp> ls
On local
sftp> lls

5. Upload the file with sFTP

Store single or multiple files on the remote system’s FTP server.

sftp> put local.profile
Uploading local.profile to /tecmint/local.profile

6. Upload multiple files with sFTP

Creation of multiple files on the remote system’s FTP server.

sftp> mput *.xls

6. Download files with sFTP

Retrieve single or multiple files on a local system.

sftp> get SettlementReport_1-10th.xls
Fetching /tecmint/SettlementReport_1-10th.xls to SettlementReport_1-10th.xls

Get multiple files on a local system.

sftp> mget *.xls

note: As we can see by default Order received Download the file in the local system with the same name. We can download remote files with a different name by adding the name at the end. (This only applies when downloading the individual file).

7. Change of directory in sFTP

Change from one directory to another directory in local and remote locations.

On remote control
sftp> cd test
On local
sftp> lcd Documents

8. Create directories with sFTP

Create new directories in local and remote locations.

sftp> mkdir test
sftp> lmkdir Documents

9. Remove directories with sFTP

Remove a directory or file on a remote system.

sftp> rm Report.xls
sftp> rmdir sub1

note: To remove / delete a directory from a remote location, the directory must be empty.

10. Exit the sFTP shell

The ‘!‘Command puts us in a local shell from which we can execute Linux commands. Type ‘exit‘Command where we can see sftp> prompt return.

sftp> !

[[email protected] ~]# exit
Shell exited with status 1


the SFTP is a very useful tool for managing servers and transferring files to and from (Local and remote control). We hope these tutorials will help you use the. to understand SFTP to a certain degree.