I took a look around at other questions here and at various "scp usage" tutorials on Internet, but I can't sort out what's wrong.

I'm using Linux Mint and I'm trying to figure out how scp works.

I've a file file.ext (on my computer) in directory /home/name/dir/

I connect to a remote machine using ssh, like:

ssh -p 2222 username@domain

it asks me the password and the shell displays:

username@domain ~ $

now, If I issue the command (before I ran ssh I was in the local directory /home/name/dir ):

scp -r -P 2222 file.ext username@domain 

output is:

cp: cannot stat ‘file.ext’: No such file or directory

Same result if instead of file.ext I write the complete path

scp -r -P 2222 /home/name/dir/file.ext username@domain 

Also, the server admin told me that I shall upload the file to my remote home directory (instead of root), like:

scp -r -P 2222 file.ext username@domain:~/

but when I do it and press "Enter" nothing happens, as If the shell was waiting for further input.

Summary of my problems:

  • cp: no such file or directory
  • shell "stuck" on ~/

Any suggestions?

  • it's slightly unclear whether your problem is only related to being on the wrong machine...could you please prefix each command with the host you are running on? e.g. localuser@machineA: ssh -p 2222 username@domain (to indicate that you are running the ssh command as localuser on machineA)
    – umläute
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 16:09
  • 2
    when using scp, the remote side always has to contain the colon (e.g. remotehost:/tmp), else it will just do an ordinary copy (scp /tmp/foo.txt example.com will copy /tmp/foo.txt into a local file example.com)
    – umläute
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 16:11
  • remove the -r flag, as this is not needed for copying single files (it's used to recursively copy directories)
    – umläute
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 16:12
  • Are you issuing the scp command inside the sshe session? It would make sense if you are on the local machine.
    – alexis
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 16:13

8 Answers 8


You need to run the scp command from the local machine, not on the remote. You don't need the ssh at all:

dragonmnl@local $ scp -P 2222 file.ext username@domain:~/ 

You also don't need the -r:

 -r      Recursively copy entire directories.  

If you are already logged into the remote machine and want to copy from your local, you need to make sure that your local machine is accessible via the internet and has ssh set up. I don't think this is what you are after but if it is, just run this from the remote:

username@domain $ scp dragonmnl@local:/path/to/file.ext ~/
  • 5
    thanks. the problem was I was trying running scp inside ssh session. now it works!
    – dragonmnl
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 16:19

I provide two methods of up/down load file between remote and local machine(I use Mac air):

In this case, I want to up/down 11.jpeg between local and remote:

  1. Copy files on service to local dir: You must be in local bash terminal to conduct this command, not when you are in ssh!

    scp username@domain:/home/xxx/xxx/11.jpeg /Users/username/Desktop/   

    copy files in local dir to remote service : also you must be in local bash terminal

    scp /Users/username/Desktop/11.jpeg username@domain:/home/xxx/xxx
  2. To achieve the same intention when you are logging in the SSH, you must first set “System Preferences>sharing>remote log in>all users(I am not sure if you must set for "all users", but it works in this situation)” the Mac will tell you"To log in to this computer remotely, type:

    ssh username@xxxxxx, then type in the command below:
    scp username@domain:/home/xxx/xxx/11.jpeg username@xxxxxx:/Users/username/Desktop/**

This command above is for downloading file from remote to local when you are logging into ssh, Just change the two path when you want to upload file .

  • Finally, I find Filezilla is probably the most convenient one in daily work~~
    – maizer
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 19:57


We can also use scp -r source_folder destination_folder if not too many files in the folder.

Original Answer

Use the scp command

If you want to transfer a folder, just zip it first, we can unzip it later on.

From your computer, run this:

$ scp your_path_to_the_file/the_file [email protected]:~/

Here, root is your account, and is the remote server's IP address. We're going to copy the_file to ~/ folder in the remote.

Unzip file:

$ unzip the_zip_file.zip -d destination_folder
  • Why would root even have SSH access on the remote machine? That's pretty insecure. Better to use an ordinary use and then sudo to do whatever root has to do on that machine.
    – Kusalananda
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 9:31
  • You don't need "~/" just "scp your_path_to_the_file/the_file [email protected]:" will default to home
    – Max
    Commented Jan 24, 2022 at 12:24

If you're running this scp command on the remote machine, it is looking for file.ext as a "local" file, i.e. on the remote machine.

To copy a file from the remote machine to the local one, use scp -P 2222 username@domain:dir/file.ext localdir (assuming that file.ext is in ~/dir on the remote computer, as in your example). If you run scp on the remote machine, reverse "local" and "remote".

  • 1
    The OP wants to copy from local to remote, see the OP's title.
    – terdon
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 16:10
  • Oops, I guess you're right. But he's apparently doing it backwards...
    – alexis
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 16:15

Just a small contribution, maybe it can help beginners like me: the path to the the remote directory should be written like this: username@domain:~/remote_directory

What I want to highlight here is that we should always add that :~/


Solution to copy files from Linux client to Linux server

  1. Check if sshd is running on your server using: ps aux | grep sshd

  2. If not, install OpenSSH using sudo apt-get install openssh-server openssh-client https://www.tecmint.com/install-openssh-server-in-linux/

  3. Restart your server and verify that sshd is running using ps aux | grep sshd

  4. If you need you can configure your /etc/ssh/sshd_config file, but it's not necessary for simple configurations

  5. verify that the ports are open using netcatnc -v -z 22

  6. To copy files from a Linux client to a Linux client use scp as follows scp ~/filename.md [email protected]:~/folder/filename.md

  7. To verify that file has been copied use ssh [email protected] and provide your password.

Solution to copy files from Linux client to Windows

  1. There are multiple clients for running SSH servers on Windows, such as:

  2. Install one of the above servers and make sure that port 22 is open using

    netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="SSH Port 22" dir=in action=allow protocol=UDP localport=22
    netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="SSH Port 22" dir=out action=allow protocol=UDP localport=22 
    netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="SSH Port 22" dir=in action=allow protocol=TCP localport=22
    netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="SSH Port 22" dir=out action=allow protocol=TCP localport=22
    netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state off
  3. Comparisons of these servers:

    Bitvise SSH server

    1. Provides almost close to native cmd prompt, powershell prompt, autocompletion

    2. Provides additional capabilities for customization, if you need advanced usage

    3. User customization for simple needs is 0. I got started on it within 2 minsute, after having spent a lot of time trying to get MobaSSH and OpenSSH to work.

    4. To copy files using scp use: scp ~/filename.md [email protected]:/C/Users/username/filename.md

    5. Free for personal use, $99 for professional use. Because of so many features and great integration, the price is well worth the money.


    1. provides a Linux shell on Windows where simple Linux commands such as ls, cp, find, etc., work, similar to MINGW64

    2. you can access cmd and powershell directly by typing cmd or powershell

    3. Unicode support is poor. Encoding is not correct. For example if you try to start Python interpretor, it will crash. You will need to change the encoding manually using (https://stackoverflow.com/a/12834315/4752883): chcp 65001 set PYTHONIOENCONDING=utf-8 and then startup Python prompt

    4. The great thing about MobaSSH is that it has a very simple user-interface, and scp and ssh and integrated well. So will work for simple use cases

    5. To copy files from a Linux client to a Windows server running MobaSSH: use scp ~/filename.md [email protected]:/cygdrive/c/Users/username/filename.md This is because MobaSSH is based on Cygwin and its drives are mapped to the same way cygwin-s drives are mapped.

    Use VMs from Microsoft with OpenSSHv6.7 installed from https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/tools/vms/, OpenSSHv6.7 is already installed.

    1. It's very buggy, and you will need to heavily customize it.

    2. Command completion doesn't work

    3. It will leave blank spaces when you are moving cursor on the terminal

    4. Python doesn't work

    5. Later versions of OpenSSH, may have improved on it. Further, MS seems to make OpenSSH available via "Optional Features" https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/tools/vms/


If you happen to be on OSX...

When I tried running it with username@local:/file_directory...

I got the following error:

ssh: local: node name or service name not known


On my Mac I had to do the following to setup local ssh:

‘System Preferences’ --> ‘Internet & Networking’ --> ‘Sharing’ --> ENABLE ‘Remote Login’

This then provided the username@ip address.


I had this same problem today on MAC.

Type the following command:

scp /local-file-path/ /-remote-location-path/

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