ftp - Internet file transfer program
ftp [ -v ] [ -d ] [ -i ] [ -n ] [ -g ] [ -t ] [ host ]
ftp is the user interface to the Internet standard File Transfer Protocol
(FTP). The program allows a user to transfer files to and from a remote
The client host with which ftp is to communicate can be specified on the
command line. If this is done, ftp immediately attempts to establish a
connection to an FTP server on that host; otherwise, ftp enters its
command interpreter and awaits instructions from the user. When ftp is
awaiting commands from the user, the prompt ftp> is provided to the user.
The following commands are recognized by ftp:
! [ command [ args ] ]
Invoke an interactive shell on the local machine. If there are
arguments, the first is taken to be a command to execute
directly, with the rest of the arguments as its arguments.
$ macro-name [ args ]
Execute the macro macro-name that was defined with the macdef
command. Arguments are passed to the macro unglobbed.
account [ passwd ]
Supply a supplemental password required by a remote system for
access to resources once a login has been successfully completed.
If no argument is included, the user is prompted for an account
password in a non-echoing input mode.
append local-file [ remote-file ]
Append a local file to a file on the remote machine. If remote-
file is left unspecified, the local filename is used in naming
the remote file after being altered by any ntrans or nmap
setting. File transfer uses the current settings for type,
format, mode, and structure.
ascii Set the file transfer type to network ASCII. This is the default
type if ftp cannot determine the type of operating system running
on the remote machine or the remote operating system is not UNIX.
bell Arrange that a bell be sounded after each file transfer command
binary Set the file transfer type to support binary image transfer.
This is the default type if ftp can determine that the remote
machine is running UNIX.
bye Terminate the FTP session with the remote server and exit ftp.
An end of file also terminates the session and exits.
case Toggle remote computer filename case mapping during mget
commands. When case is on (default is off), remote computer
filenames with all letters in upper case are written in the local
directory with the letters mapped to lower case.
Change the working directory on the remote machine to remote-
cdup Change the remote machine working directory to the parent of the
current remote machine working directory.
chmod mode file-name
Change the permission modes for the file file-name on the remote
system to mode.
close Terminate the FTP session with the remote server, and return to
the command interpreter. Any defined macros are erased.
cr Toggle carriage return stripping during ascii type file
retrieval. Records are denoted by a carriage return/linefeed
sequence during ascii type file transfer. When cr is on (the
default), carriage returns are stripped from this sequence to
conform with the UNIX single linefeed record delimiter. Records
on non-UNIX remote systems can contain single linefeeds; when an
ascii type transfer is made, these linefeeds can be distinguished
from a record delimiter only when cr is off.
Delete the file remote-file on the remote machine.
debug [ debug-value ]
Toggle debugging mode. If an optional debug-value is specified,
it is used to set the debugging level. When debugging is on, ftp
prints each command sent to the remote machine, preceded by the
dir [ remote-directory ] [ local-file ]
Print a listing of the directory contents in the directory,
remote-directory, and, optionally, placing the output in local-
file. If interactive prompting is on, ftp prompts the user to
verify that the last argument is indeed the target local file for
receiving dir output. If no directory is specified, the current
working directory on the remote machine is used. If no local
file is specified, or local-file is -, output comes to the
direct [ local|remote ] [ size ]
Set direct I/O (see fcntl(2)). If size is not specified, 2
megabytes (2^21 bytes) will be used. If neither remote or local
is specified, the I/O size will be set on both the client and the
server; otherwise only the specified end is adjusted. Setting
the remote direct I/O size only works with IRIX FTP servers.
size must be at least 512K, and a multiple of 4K.
A synonym for close.
Set the file transfer form to format. The default format is
get remote-file [ local-file ]
Retrieve the remote-file and store it on the local machine. If
the local filename is not specified, it is given the same name it
has on the remote machine, subject to alteration by the current
case, ntrans, and nmap settings. The current settings for type,
form, mode, and structure are used while transferring the file.
glob Toggle filename expansion for mdelete, mget and mput. If
globbing is turned off with glob, the filename arguments are
taken literally and not expanded. Globbing for mput is done as
in csh(1). For mdelete and mget, each remote filename is
expanded separately on the remote machine and the lists are not
merged. Expansion of a directory name is likely to be different
from expansion of the name of an ordinary file: the exact result
depends on the foreign operating system and FTP server, and can
be previewed by doing:
mls remote-files <b>-
Note: mget and mput are not meant to transfer entire directory
subtrees of files. That can be done by transferring a tar(1)
archive of the subtree (in binary mode).
hash Toggle hash-sign (#) printing for each data block transferred.
The size of a data block is 1024 bytes.
help [ command ]
Print an informative message about the meaning of command. If no
argument is given, ftp prints a list of the known commands.
idle [ seconds ]
Set the inactivity timer on the remote server to seconds seconds.
If seconds is omitted, the current inactivity timer is printed.
image See binary.
lcd [ directory ]
Change the working directory on the local machine. If no
directory is specified, the user's home directory is used.
ls [ remote-directory ] [ local-file ]
Print a listing of the contents of a directory on the remote
machine. The listing includes any system-dependent information
that the server chooses to include; for example, most UNIX
systems produce output from the command ls -lA. (See also
nlist.) If remote-directory is left unspecified, the current
working directory is used. If interactive prompting is on, ftp
prompts the user to verify that the last argument is indeed the
target local file for receiving ls output. If no local file is
specified, or if local-file is -, the output is sent to the
Define a macro. Subsequent lines are stored as the macro macro-
name; a null line (consecutive newline characters in a file or
carriage returns from the terminal) terminates macro input mode.
There is a limit of 16 macros and 4096 total characters in all
defined macros. Macros remain defined until a close command is
executed. The macro processor interprets $ and \ as special
characters. A $ followed by a number (or numbers) is replaced by
the corresponding argument on the macro invocation command line.
A $ followed by an i signals that macro processor that the
executing macro is to be looped. On the first pass $i is
replaced by the first argument on the macro invocation command
line, on the second pass it is replaced by the second argument,
and so on. A \ followed by any character is replaced by that
character. Use the \ to prevent special treatment of the $.
mdelete [ remote-files ]
Delete the remote-files on the remote machine.
mdir remote-files local-file
Like dir, except multiple remote files can be specified. If
interactive prompting is on, ftp prompts the user to verify that
the last argument is indeed the target local file for receiving
Expand the remote-files on the remote machine and do a get for
each filename thus produced. See glob for details on the
filename expansion. Resulting filenames are then processed
according to case, ntrans, and nmap settings. Files are
transferred into the local working directory, which can be
changed with lcd directory; new local directories can be created
with ! mkdir directory.
Make a directory on the remote machine.
mls remote-files local-file
Like nlist, except multiple remote files can be specified, and
the local-file must be specified. If interactive prompting is
on, ftp prompts the user to verify that the last argument is
indeed the target local file for receiving mls output.
mode [ mode-name ]
Set the file transfer mode to mode-name. The default mode is
Show the last modification time of the file on the remote
Expand wild cards in the list of local files given as arguments
and do a put for each file in the resulting list. See glob for
details of filename expansion. Resulting filenames are then be
processed according to ntrans and nmap settings.
Get the file only if the modification time of the remote file is
more recent that the file on the current system. If the file
does not exist on the current system, the remote file is
considered newer. Otherwise, this command is identical to get.
nlist [ remote-directory ] [ local-file ]
Print a list of the files of a directory on the remote machine.
If remote-directory is left unspecified, the current working
directory is used. If interactive prompting is on, ftp prompts
the user to verify that the last argument is indeed the target
local file for receiving nlist output. If no local file is
specified, or if local-file is -, the output is sent to the
nmap [ inpattern outpattern ]
Set or unset the filename mapping mechanism. If no arguments are
specified, the filename mapping mechanism is unset. If arguments
are specified, remote filenames are mapped during mput commands
and put commands issued without a specified remote target
filename. If arguments are specified, local filenames are mapped
during mget commands and get commands issued without a specified
local target filename. This command is useful when connecting to
a non-UNIX remote computer with different file naming conventions
or practices. The mapping follows the pattern set by inpattern
and outpattern. inpattern is a template for incoming filenames
(which may have already been processed according to the ntrans
and case settings). Variable templating is accomplished by
including the sequences $1, $2, ..., $9 in inpattern. Use \ to
prevent this special treatment of the $ character. All other
characters are treated literally, and are used to determine the
nmap inpattern variable values. For example, given inpattern
$1.$2 and the remote filename mydata.data, $1 would have the
value mydata, and $2 would have the value data. The outpattern
determines the resulting mapped filename. The sequences $1, $2,
...., $9 are replaced by any value resulting from the inpattern
template. The sequence $0 is replace by the original filename.
Additionally, the sequence [seq1,seq2] is replaced by seq1 if
seq1 is not a null string; otherwise it is replaced by seq2. For
example, the command nmap $1.$2.$3 [$1,$2].[$2,file] would yield
the output filename myfile.data for input filenames myfile.data
and myfile.data.old, myfile.file for the input filename myfile,
and myfile.myfile for the input filename .myfile. Spaces can be
included in outpattern, as in this example:
nmap $1 |sed "s/ *$//" > $1
Use the \ character to prevent special treatment of the $, [, ],
and , characters.
ntrans [ inchars [ outchars ] ]
Set or unset the filename character translation mechanism. If no
arguments are specified, the filename character translation
mechanism is unset. If arguments are specified, characters in
remote filenames are translated during mput commands and put
commands issued without a specified remote target filename. If
arguments are specified, characters in local filenames are
translated during mget commands and get commands issued without a
specified local target filename. This command is useful when
connecting to a non-UNIX remote computer with different file
naming conventions or practices. Characters in a filename
matching a character in inchars are replaced with the
corresponding character in outchars. If the character's position
in inchars is longer than the length of outchars, the character
is deleted from the filename.
open host [ port ]
Establish a connection to the specified host FTP server. An
optional port number can be supplied, in which case, ftp attempts
to contact an FTP server at that port. If the auto-login option
is on (default), ftp also attempts to automatically log the user
in to the FTP server (see below).
prompt Toggle interactive prompting. Interactive prompting occurs
during multiple file transfers to allow the user to selectively
retrieve or store files. If prompting is turned off (default is
on), any mget or mput transfers all files, and any mdelete
deletes all files.
Execute an ftp command on a secondary control connection. This
command allows simultaneous connection to two remote FTP servers
for transferring files between the two servers. The first proxy
command should be an open, to establish the secondary control
connection. Enter the command proxy ? to see other ftp commands
executable on the secondary connection. The following commands
behave differently when prefaced by proxy:
open Does not define new macros during the auto-login
close Does not erase existing macro definitions.
get and mget Transfer files from the host on the primary
control connection to the host on the secondary
put, mput, and append
Transfer files from the host on the secondary
control connection to the host on the primary
Third party file transfers depend upon support of the FTP
protocol PASV command by the server on the secondary control
put local-file [ remote-file ]
Store a local file on the remote machine. If remote-file is left
unspecified, the local filename is used after processing
according to any ntrans or nmap settings in naming the remote
file. File transfer uses the current settings for type, format,
mode, and structure.
pwd Print the name of the current working directory on the remote
quit A synonym for bye.
quote arg1 arg2 ...
The arguments specified are sent, verbatim, to the remote FTP
recv remote-file [ local-file ]
A synonym for get.
reget remote-file [ local-file ]
Reget acts like get, except that if local-file exists and is
smaller than remote-file, local-file is presumed to be a
partially transferred copy of remote-file and the transfer is
continued from the apparent point of failure. This command is
useful when transferring very large files over networks that are
prone to dropping connections.
rhelp [ command-name ]
Request help from the remote FTP server. If a command-name is
specified it is supplied to the server as well.
rstatus [ file-name ]
With no arguments, show status of remote machine. If file-name
is specified, show status of file-name on remote machine.
rename [ from ] [ to ]
Rename the file from on the remote machine, to the file to.
reset Clear reply queue. This command re-synchronizes command/reply
sequencing with the remote FTP server. Resynchronization may be
necessary following a violation of the FTP protocol by the remote
Restart the immediately following get or put at the indicated
marker. On UNIX systems, marker is usually a byte offset into
Delete a directory on the remote machine.
runique Toggle storing of files on the local system with unique
filenames. If a file already exists with a name equal to the
target local filename for a get or mget command, a .1 is appended
to the name. If the resulting name matches another existing
file, a .2 is appended to the original name. If this process
continues up to .99, an error message is printed, and the
transfer does not take place. The generated unique filename is
reported. Note that runique does not affect local files
generated from a shell command (see below). The default value is
send local-file [ remote-file ]
A synonym for put.
Toggle the use of PORT commands. By default, ftp attempts to use
a PORT command when establishing a connection for each data
transfer. The use of PORT commands can prevent delays when
performing multiple file transfers. If the PORT command fails,
ftp uses the default data port. When the use of PORT commands is
disabled, no attempt is made to use PORT commands for each data
transfer. This is useful for certain FTP implementations that do
ignore PORT commands but, incorrectly, indicate they've been
site arg1 arg2 ...
The arguments specified are sent, verbatim, to the remote FTP
server as a SITE command.
Return size of file-name on remote machine.
status Show the current status of ftp.
struct [ struct-name ]
Set the file transfer structure to struct-name. By default
stream structure is used.
sunique Toggle storing of files on remote machine under unique filenames.
Remote FTP server must support FTP protocol STOU command for
successful completion. The remote server reports a unique name.
Default value is off.
system Show the type of operating system running on the remote machine.
tenex Set the file transfer type to that needed to talk to TENEX
trace Toggle packet tracing.
type [ type-name ]
Set the file transfer type to type-name. If no type is
specified, the current type is printed. The default type is
umask [ newmask ]
Set the default umask on the remote server to newmask. If
newmask is omitted, the current umask is printed.
user user-name [ password ] [ account ]
Identify yourself to the remote FTP server. If the password is
not specified and the server requires it, ftp prompts the user
for it (after disabling local echo). If an account field is not
specified, and the FTP server requires it, the user is prompted
for it. If an account field is specified, an account command is
relayed to the remote server after the login sequence is
completed if the remote server did not require it for logging in.
Unless ftp is invoked with auto-login disabled, this process is
done automatically on initial connection to the FTP server.
verbose Toggle verbose mode. In verbose mode, all responses from the FTP
server are displayed to the user. In addition, if verbose is on,
when a file transfer completes, statistics regarding the
efficiency of the transfer are reported. By default, verbose is
win [ size ]
Sets the TCP window size to size. If size is not specified, 2
megabytes (2^21 bytes) is used. Setting the window size on the
remote system only works with IRIX FTP servers. size must be a
decimal integer between 1024 and 1G (1073741824). If the last
character of size is 'k' or 'm', size is multiplied by 1024 or
? [ command ]
A synonym for help.
Command arguments that have embedded spaces can be quoted with quote (")
ABORTING A FILE TRANSFER
To abort a file transfer, use the terminal interrupt key (usually <Ctrlc>).
Sending transfers are immediately halted. Receiving transfers are
halted by sending a FTP protocol ABOR command to the remote server and
discarding any further data received. The speed at which this is
accomplished depends upon the remote server's support for ABOR
processing. If the remote server does not support the ABOR command, an
ftp> prompt does not appear until the remote server has completed sending
the requested file.
The terminal interrupt key sequence is ignored when ftp has completed any
local processing and is awaiting a reply from the remote server. A long
delay in this mode can result from the ABOR processing described above or
from unexpected behavior by the remote server, including violations of
the FTP protocol. If the delay results from unexpected remote server
behavior, the local ftp program must be killed by hand.
FILE NAMING CONVENTIONS [Toc] [Back]
Files specified as arguments to ftp commands are processed according to
the following rules.
1. If the filename - is specified, the stdin (for reading) or stdout
(for writing) is used.
2. If the first character of the filename is |, the remainder of the
argument is interpreted as a shell command. ftp then forks a shell,
using popen(3S) with the argument supplied, and reads (writes) from
the stdout (stdin). If the shell command includes spaces, the
argument must be quoted; for example, "| ls -lt". A particularly
useful example of this mechanism is: dir | more.
3. Failing the above checks, if globbing is enabled, local filenames are
expanded according to the rules used in the csh(1) glob command. If
the ftp command expects a single local file (for example, put), only
the first filename generated by the globbing operation is used.
4. For mget commands and get commands with unspecified local filenames,
the local filename is the remote filename, which can be altered by a
case, ntrans, or nmap setting. The resulting filename can then be
altered if runique is on.
5. For mput commands and put commands with unspecified remote filenames,
the remote filename is the local filename, which can be altered by a
ntrans or nmap setting. The resulting filename can then be altered
by the remote server if sunique is on.
FILE TRANSFER PARAMETERS [Toc] [Back]
The FTP specification specifies many parameters that can affect a file
transfer. The type can be one of ascii, image (binary), ebcdic, and
local byte size (for PDP-10's and PDP-20's mostly). ftp supports the
ascii and image types of file transfer, plus local byte size 8 for tenex
ftp supports only the default values for the remaining file transfer
parameters: mode, form, and struct.
Options can be specified at the shell command line. Several options can
be enabled or disabled with ftp commands.
-v (verbose on) Forces ftp to show all responses from the remote
server, as well as report on data transfer statistics.
-p Use passive mode for data transfer. (The default is to use active
mode for data transfer.)
-n Restrains ftp from attempting auto-login upon initial connection.
If auto-login is enabled, ftp checks the .netrc file (see below) in
the user's home directory for an entry describing an account on the
remote machine. If no entry exists, ftp prompts for the remote
machine login name (default is the user identity on the local
machine), and, if necessary, prompt for a password and an account
with which to login.
-i Turns off interactive prompting during multiple file transfers.
-d Enables debugging.
-g Disables filename globbing.
-t Enables packet tracing (currently unimplemented).
The .netrc file contains login and initialization information used by the
auto-login process. It resides in the user's home directory. The
following tokens are recognized; they can be separated by spaces, tabs,
machine name Identify a remote machine name. The auto-login process
searches the .netrc file for a machine token that
matches the remote machine specified on the ftp command
line or as an open command argument. Once a match is
made, the subsequent .netrc tokens are processed,
stopping when the end of file is reached or another
machine or a default token is encountered.
default This is the same as machine name except that default
matches any name. There can be only one default token,
and it must be after all machine tokens. This is
normally used as:
default login anonymous password user@site
thereby giving the user automatic anonymous ftp login
to machines not specified in .netrc. This can be
overridden by using the -n flag to disable auto-login.
login name Identify a user on the remote machine. If this token
is present, the auto-login process initiates a login
using the specified name.
password string Supply a password. If this token is present, the
auto-login process supplies the specified string if the
remote server requires a password as part of the login
process. Note that if this token is present in the
.netrc file for any user other than anonymous, ftp
aborts the auto-login process if the .netrc is
accessible by anyone besides the user (see below for
the proper protection mode.)
account string Supply an additional account password. If this token
is present, the auto-login process supplies the
specified string if the remote server requires an
additional account password, or the auto-login process
initiates an ACCT command if it does not. Note that if
this token is present in the .netrc file, ftp aborts
the auto-login process if the .netrc is accessible by
anyone besides the user (see below for the proper
macdef name Define a macro. This token functions like the ftp
macdef command functions. A macro is defined with the
specified name; its contents begin with the next .netrc
line and continue until a null line (consecutive
newline characters) is encountered. If a macro named
init is defined, it is automatically executed as the
last step in the auto-login process.
The error message
Error: .netrc file is readable by others.
means the file is ignored by ftp because the file's password and/or
account information is unprotected. Use
chmod go-rwx .netrc
to protect the file.
N.B. Since commas are used as field delimiters, it is not currently
possible to use them in fields, such as in a password.
Correct execution of many commands depends upon proper behavior by the
An error in the treatment of carriage returns in the 4.2BSD UNIX asciimode
transfer code has been corrected. This correction may result in
incorrect transfers of binary files to and from 4.2BSD servers using the
ascii type. Avoid this problem by using the binary image type.
The 'direct' and 'win' commands are experimental, and may be obsoleted in
a future release.
Using 'direct' or 'win' does not work in conjunction with 'hash'.
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