My goal is copy only all files from ~/local_dir to user@host.com /var/www/html/target_dir using scp and do not create local_dir category in local_dir.


but not

/var/www/html/target_dir/local_dir/files.. when use -r parameter

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    Does scp * user@host.com:/var/www/html/target_dir not do what you want? If so, please edit with more detail of what you're trying to do & have tried so far. – Michael Homer Sep 30 '15 at 8:05
  • Appending /. is no longer work. More here – Tsulatsi Tamim Mar 20 '19 at 9:13

scp has the -r argument. So, try using:

$ scp -r ~/local_dir user@host.com:/var/www/html/target_dir

The -r argument works just like the -r arg in cp, it will transfer your entire folder and all the files and subdirectories inside.

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    Your command created local_dir directory in /var/www/html/target_dir my goal is copy only files. – Edgaras Karka Sep 30 '15 at 8:25
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    Sorry, I got it wrong. Then just repeat the command, but like this: $ scp -r ~/local_dir user@host.com:/var/www/html/ Then rename new directory if needed. – parazyd Sep 30 '15 at 8:31
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    Or $ scp -r ~/local_dir/* user@host.com:/var/www/html/target_dir Whatever floats your boat. – parazyd Sep 30 '15 at 8:34
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    Change the wildcard * to a dot . and you'll copy the directory contents (including any dot files) without copying the directory itself. scp -pr ~/local_dir/. user@example.com:/path/to/target_dir – roaima Jul 21 '17 at 22:25
  • Another alternate format is pushd local_dir; scp -r . user@host.com:/var/www/html/target_dir; popd bash provides many ways to say much the same thing. – Jesse Chisholm Dec 9 '19 at 21:18

If your goal is to transfer all files from local_dir the * wildcard does the trick:

$ scp ~/local_dir/* user@host.com:/var/www/html/target_dir

The -r option means "recursively", so you must write it when you're trying to transfer an entire directory or several directories.

From man scp:

Recursively copy entire directories. Note that scp follows symbolic links encountered in the tree traversal.

So if you have sub-directories inside local_dir, the last example will only transfer files, but if you set the -r option, it will transfer files and directories.

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    1+ Because you need to read the comments in the accepted answer to get to the correct answer, while this one just explains it directly. – André Christoffer Andersen Jul 5 '17 at 10:01

Appending /. to your source directory will transfer its contents instead of the directory itself. In contrast to the wildcard solution, this will include any hidden files too.

$ scp -r ~/local_dir/. user@host.com:/var/www/html/target_dir

Credit for this solution goes to roaima, but I thought it should be posted as an actual answer, not only a comment.

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Follow these steps:

  1. Copy directory local_dir with all its sub-directories:

    scp -r ~/local_dir user@host.com /var/www/html/target_dir
  2. copy only the contents of local_dir and not the directory local_dir itself:

    scp -r ~/local_dir/* user@host.com /var/www/html/target_dir
  3. Do not use: scp -r ~/local_dir/. user@host.com /var/www/html/target_dir as it throws an error(just tested and received the following error):

    scp: error: unexpected filename: .
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    I also get the error of unexpected filename . However, using the wildcard does not work either cause the directory has so many files that is exceeds the character limit for commands when the wildcard gets expanded. macOS – Richard Kiefer Jan 8 at 10:17
  • @RichardKiefer : You can use wildcards like ? with * to further isolate the search results and then pass it to scp. Try this link, it may help: Wildcards – Syed Faraz Umar Jan 14 at 6:15
  • Thanks Syed, but my point was that I actually want to target all elements in the folder, and not filter any. And if my directory has too many, than the wildcard will just not work. – Richard Kiefer Jan 14 at 8:33
  • @RichardKiefer: My apologies Richard, to get all the files copied we can use a small bash script. Use: ls -l | awk '{print $9}' and redirect all the output (which would be all the file names) to a txt file. Read the txt file, one line at a time and use that input with scp to copy the files: input=/home/user/filename.txt while IFS= read -r line – Syed Faraz Umar Jan 14 at 9:59

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