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Discover the SCP command in Linux for secure file transfers between local and remote systems. Learn its syntax, options, and how to ensure data confidentiality. Mastering SCP enables efficient and secure file transfers, enhancing productivity and data security in the Linux environment.
SCP (Secure Copy Protocol) is a network protocol that lets Linux (Unix) systems on a network safely transfer files and directories. Use the safer alternative to the cp (copy) command, the scp command line utility, to send data.
By encrypting the files and the passwords, SCP secures your data while copying over an SSH (Secure Shell) connection. As a result, the data is still encrypted even if the communication is intercepted.
Make use of SCP command when:
Copy files from a local host to a remote host.
Copy files from a remote host to a local host.
Copy files between two remote servers.
The scp command will be used to demonstrate how to utilize it in this tutorial using real-world scenarios and in-depth discussions of the most popular scp options.
The host’s (or target’s) user_name; otherwise, the operation uses the current user by default.
The program searches for (or copies) the file locally using the path/to/source (or target) from the command.
Always specify the user and host details when working with remote files.
Use a user account on the source system that has read access to the file(s) you wish to copy. Additionally, you must use a user account with write access to the directory on the target system where the file(s) will be saved.
Note: The destination location is not verified before writing by the scp command. Unnoticed overwriting of identical files in the destination will occur.
SCP Command Options
To modify and speed the operation, you can add a variety of scp command arguments to the command. Following the scp command, options are added as attributes.
Each choice has a one-character, short form and a longer, more detailed equivalent.
Enable recursive copying for directories
Specify the port for SSH connection
Specify the private key file for authentication
Preserve file attributes during transfer
Enable verbose output
Disable progress bar
Options of SCP Command
Before you start
The scp command uses ssh to transfer data, therefore it needs to authenticate on the remote systems with an ssh key or password.
SCP distinguishes between local and remote sites using the colon (:).
You must have at least read permissions on the source file and write permission on the target system in order to copy files.
SCP will overwrite data without giving you a chance to stop it, so take care when copying files that have the same name and location on both systems.
SCP Command – Usage Examples
The scp Command copies a local file to a remote system.
The following command should be used to copy a file from a local system to a remote one:
If the SSH service on the remote host is listening on a port other than the default port 22, you can easily specify the desired port using the -P argument. By doing so, you ensure that the scp command establishes a connection on the correct port.
A secure SSH connection is used to transfer data between local and remote systems using the Linux command-line utility known as SCP (Secure Copy).
Can I use SCP to copy directories and their contents?
Recursive copying is supported by SCP, allowing you to move folders and all of their contents. scp -r source_directory> user>@remote_host>:destination_path> uses the -r or --recursive option.
Can I specify a different SSH port for SCP connections?
Yes, by using the -P or --port option and the port number as the source and destination, you can choose a different SSH port.
Is verbose output possible during SCP transfers?
Yes, scp -v source> destination> displays information about the SCP transfer process in detailed verbose output when the -v or --verbose option is used.
How can I keep file attributes during the SCP transfer?
During the file transfer, the -p or --preserve option retains file properties, such as timestamps, permissions, and ownership: scp -p source> destination>.
A strong and safe tool for transferring files between local and remote systems is Linux’s SCP (Secure Copy Protocol) command. SCP preserves the security and integrity of data while it is in transit by employing the SSH protocol. I hope you now have a better understanding of how to safely copy data across computers using the scp command. Please feel free to share your thoughts and feedback in the comment section below.
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