File Transfers Using FileZilla and the SFTP Command Line

Transferring files between your computer and the department servers will often be necessary when completing homework and other tasks. To do this, there are two tools that we recommend to people. The first tool is SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol). This is a powerful and robust tool that can be used in many ways. For instance, users can use a batch file to send or receive a number of files at a time. That is, however, outside of the scope of this tutorial. We will show an example of connecting to a server sending, then receiving a file for both of the tools we are demonstrating.

First we will look at SFTP from the command line. To log on to a server using SFTP, you invoke ‘sftp user@host’ as demonstrated below.

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Once you enter your password when prompted, you will be greeted with a command line like the following:

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For this example, we will retrieve a tar file that was created in the archiving tutorial post. When you are in the SFTP shell, you have a limited set of commands that you can use. The cd command is available to change directories, and the ls command is available to list directory contents. The lcd command changes the directory on your local machine, and the lls command lists the directory contents on your local machine. Then, “get” can be used to download a file from the server to your local machine, and “put” can be used to upload a file from your local machine to the server.

In the following examples, a tar file called “sample_project.tar” is retrieved from the server.

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Now, a file called “7″ from inside of a directory called “sample_project” on the local machine is uploaded to the server.

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Take note of how the ls, cd, and lls commands were used in the previous examples, as those commands will be used frequently when working in the SFTP shell.


Now, we will look at using FileZilla on Windows to complete these same tasks. UsingĀ  FileZilla to connect to the login servers is trivial. At the top of the window, fill out the host box with “” and the username and password credentials are your BroncoNet ID and password. Finally, the “port” box should be set to 22. A sample login is pictured below.

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Once you log on, you will see a directory listing on the right panel, similarly to how there is one for your local machine on the left. Below is an example of that.

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FileZilla works as many GUI applications do, in that you can drag the representation of a directory or file from one panel and drop it on the other. In this manner, you can upload and download files to and from the login servers. FileZilla may occasionally prompt you for a password. If it does that, the password it requires is the password for your user on the server, which uses your BroncoNet ID credentials.


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