In my terminal shell, I ssh'ed into a remote server, and I cd to the directory I want.

Now in this directory, there is a file called table that I want to copy to my local machine /home/me/Desktop.

How can I do this?

I tried scp table /home/me/Desktop but it gave an error about no such file or directory.

Does anyone know how to do this?

  • 1
    If you find yourself copying with scp often, you can mount the remote directory in your file browser and drag-and-drop. On my Ubuntu 15 host, it's under the menu bar "Go" > "Enter Location" > [email protected]:/home/debian. Alternatively, one can use sshfs to mount the remote machine's filesystem on the host. But that setup is a little more involved. Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 19:46
  • 1
    Give rsync a try. It's great both for local and remote copies, gives you copy progress, etc. An example
    – sakisk
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 19:23

6 Answers 6


The syntax for scp is:

If you are on the computer from which you want to send file to a remote computer:

scp /file/to/send username@remote:/where/to/put

Here the remote can be a FQDN or an IP address.

On the other hand if you are on the computer wanting to receive file from a remote computer:

scp username@remote:/file/to/send /where/to/put

scp can also send files between two remote hosts:

scp username@remote_1:/file/to/send username@remote_2:/where/to/put

So the basic syntax is:

scp username@source:/location/to/file username@destination:/where/to/put

You can read man scp to get more ideas on this.

  • 5
    What if I want to copy multiple files? I added a space and just used another /file/to/send Thanks for your awesome answer!
    – camdixon
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 18:30
  • 20
    scp -r will copy recursively.
    – Henry
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 21:10
  • 2
    What i want to copy the files from network to my VM ...how to achieve the same using scp
    – Sushivam
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 12:48
  • 3
    @heemayl +1 for the good answer. Thought to add that in the case that it is a secure connection (that requires an authentication) you can use the following (for copying file from local to remote): scp -i mykey.pem somefile.txt [email protected]:/some/folder/in/remote Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 10:48
  • 6
    Use scp -P 123 to specify custom port Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 12:52

You can use rsync as an alternative. It is mainly for syncing files.. but you can use it for this purpose as well.

rsync -avzh --stats --progress remoteuser@remoteip:/path/  localpath 

to add ssh options:

rsync -e "ssh -P $port_value" remoteuser@remoteip:/path/  localpath

--progress and --stats are useful for real-time display of transfer.

I think it a better option then SCP, since it skips already transferred files, which is noticeable when you're copy-ing lot of files.

  • What if the remoteip is in a network? Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 15:34
scp [email protected]:/root/Jmeter/reports.jtl Downloads/
scp username@ipaddress:pathtofile localsystempath

scp sadananad@ipaddress:/home/demo/public_html/myproject.tar.gz .

If your using with port:

scp -Pportnumber username@ipaddress:pathtofile localsystempath 

scp -P2233 sadananad@ipaddress:/home/demo/public_html/myproject.tar.gz .
  • This will copy the file to the same remote directory.
    – Max Yudin
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 11:02

If you completely trust everyone in the network and you can connect a port of the destination machine directly, you can use netcat: nc.

Let's say the IP address of the destination machine is

On the destination run:

nc -l -p 7777 | tar zxvf - -C dest_dir

You can choose a different port, and also bind to another IP of your interfaces, just catches on all interfaces.

On the source run:

tar zcvf - filename | nc 7777

IMHO, this is the fastest possible way to send a file from one computer to another using digital networks.

The arguments and command line options might slightly change between different versions of nc and tar, but it will definitely work with recent Linux distributions.

  • I think your tar parameters are wrong, the source should not have "x" and could use "v" as well, for parity.
    – Mattes D
    Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 9:11
  • @MattesD: Thank you, you are right, fixed it. Commented Feb 22, 2020 at 10:45

On Linux, to copy a folder and its content from the user (root in this example) directory, to a folder in the local user directory, I run this command on the local machine:

scp -r [email protected]:~/folderinremoteuserdir ~/folderinlocaluserdir

Note the ~/ which I often seem to forget...

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