scp — secure copy (remote file copy program)

Examples (TL;DR)


scp [-346BCpqrTv] [-c cipher] [-F ssh_config] [-i identity_file] [-J destination] [-l limit] [-o ssh_option] [-P port] [-S program] source ... target


scp copies files between hosts on a network. It uses ssh(1) for data transfer, and uses the same authentication and provides the same security as ssh(1). scp will ask for passwords or passphrases if they are needed for authentication.

The source and target may be specified as a local pathname, a remote host with optional path in the form [user@]host: [path], or a URI in the form scp://[user@]host[:port][/path]. Local file names can be made explicit using absolute or relative pathnames to avoid scp treating file names containing ‘:’ as host specifiers.

When copying between two remote hosts, if the URI format is used, a port may only be specified on the target if the -3 option is used.

The options are as follows:


Copies between two remote hosts are transferred through the local host. Without this option the data is copied directly between the two remote hosts. Note that this option disables the progress meter.


Forces scp to use IPv4 addresses only.


Forces scp to use IPv6 addresses only.


Selects batch mode (prevents asking for passwords or passphrases).


Compression enable. Passes the -C flag to ssh(1) to enable compression.

-c cipher

Selects the cipher to use for encrypting the data transfer. This option is directly passed to ssh(1).

-F ssh_config

Specifies an alternative per-user configuration file for ssh. This option is directly passed to ssh(1).

-i identity_file

Selects the file from which the identity (private key) for public key authentication is read. This option is directly passed to ssh(1).

-J destination

Connect to the target host by first making an scp connection to the jump host described by destination and then establishing a TCP forwarding to the ultimate destination from there. Multiple jump hops may be specified separated by comma characters. This is a shortcut to specify a ProxyJump configuration directive. This option is directly passed to ssh(1).

-l limit

Limits the used bandwidth, specified in Kbit/s.

-o ssh_option

Can be used to pass options to ssh in the format used in ssh_config(5). This is useful for specifying options for which there is no separate scp command-line flag. For full details of the options listed below, and their possible values, see ssh_config(5).

  • AddressFamily

  • BatchMode

  • BindAddress

  • BindInterface

  • CanonicalDomains

  • CanonicalizeFallbackLocal

  • CanonicalizeHostname

  • CanonicalizeMaxDots

  • CanonicalizePermittedCNAMEs

  • CASignatureAlgorithms

  • CertificateFile

  • ChallengeResponseAuthentication

  • CheckHostIP

  • Ciphers

  • Compression

  • ConnectionAttempts

  • ConnectTimeout

  • ControlMaster

  • ControlPath

  • ControlPersist

  • GlobalKnownHostsFile

  • GSSAPIAuthentication

  • GSSAPIDelegateCredentials

  • HashKnownHosts

  • Host

  • HostbasedAuthentication

  • HostbasedKeyTypes

  • HostKeyAlgorithms

  • HostKeyAlias

  • Hostname

  • IdentitiesOnly

  • IdentityAgent

  • IdentityFile

  • IPQoS

  • KbdInteractiveAuthentication

  • KbdInteractiveDevices

  • KexAlgorithms

  • LogLevel

  • MACs

  • NoHostAuthenticationForLocalhost

  • NumberOfPasswordPrompts

  • PasswordAuthentication

  • PKCS11Provider

  • Port

  • PreferredAuthentications

  • ProxyCommand

  • ProxyJump

  • PubkeyAcceptedKeyTypes

  • PubkeyAuthentication

  • RekeyLimit

  • SendEnv

  • ServerAliveInterval

  • ServerAliveCountMax

  • SetEnv

  • StrictHostKeyChecking

  • TCPKeepAlive

  • UpdateHostKeys

  • User

  • UserKnownHostsFile

  • VerifyHostKeyDNS

-P port

Specifies the port to connect to on the remote host. Note that this option is written with a capital ‘P’, because -p is already reserved for preserving the times and modes of the file.


Preserves modification times, access times, and modes from the original file.


Quiet mode: disables the progress meter as well as warning and diagnostic messages from ssh(1).


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

-S program

Name of program to use for the encrypted connection. The program must understand ssh(1) options.


Disable strict filename checking. By default when copying files from a remote host to a local directory scp checks that the received filenames match those requested on the command-line to prevent the remote end from sending unexpected or unwanted files. Because of differences in how various operating systems and shells interpret filename wildcards, these checks may cause wanted files to be rejected. This option disables these checks at the expense of fully trusting that the server will not send unexpected filenames.


Verbose mode. Causes scp and ssh(1) to print debugging messages about their progress. This is helpful in debugging connection, authentication, and configuration problems.

Exit Status

The scp utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.

See Also

sftp(1), ssh(1), ssh-add(1), ssh-agent(1), ssh-keygen(1), ssh_config(5), sshd(8)


scp is based on the rcp program in BSD source code from the Regents of the University of California.


Timo Rinne <>
Tatu Ylonen <>

Referenced By

amaddclient(8), cpdup(1), darcs(1), debsign(1), gsissh(1), gsissh_config(5), gsisshd(8), guestfs-release-notes-1.34(1), htcp(1), openvpn(8), rbldnsd(8), rssh(1), rssh.conf(5), scponly(8), sftp(1), ssh(1), ssh_config(5), sshd(8), zssh(1).

The man page gsiscp(1) is an alias of scp(1).

June 12, 2019