Syntax for Secure Copy (scp)

In our day to day research activity, we need to securely copy our data from several to local computer and visa-versa. I am jotting down some of the commonly used SCP command for your future help. Hope you all will like it

What is Secure Copy?

scp allows files to be copied to, from, or between different hosts. It uses ssh for data transfer and provides the same authentication and same level of security as ssh.


Copy the file "gene.txt" from a remote host to the local host

    $ scp /some/local/directory

Copy the file "foobar.txt" from the local host to a remote host

    $ scp gene.txt

Copy the directory "chromosome" from the local host to a remote host's directory "bar"

    $ scp -r chromosome

Copy the file "gene.txt" from remote host "" to remote host ""

    $ scp \

Copying the files "gene.txt" and "cancer.txt" from the local host to your home directory on the remote host

    $ scp gene.txt cancer.txt

Copy the file "gene.txt" from the local host to a remote host using port 2264

    $ scp -P 2264 gene.txt

Copy multiple files from the remote host to your current directory on the local host

    $ scp\{a,b,c\} .

    $ scp\{gene.txt,cancer.txt\} .

scp Performance

By default scp uses the Triple-DES cipher to encrypt the data being sent. Using the Blowfish cipher has been shown to increase speed. This can be done by using option -c blowfish in the command line.

    $ scp -c blowfish some_file

It is often suggested that the -C option for compression should also be used to increase speed. The effect of compression, however, will only significantly increase speed if your connection is very slow. Otherwise it may just be adding extra burden to the CPU. An example of using blowfish and compression:

    $ scp -c blowfish -C local_file