FTP(1) BSD General Commands Manual FTP(1)
ftp — Internet file transfer program
ftp [-pinegvd] [host]
pftp [-inegvd] [host]
Ftp is the user interface to the Internet standard File Transfer Proto‐
col. The program allows a user to transfer files to and from a remote
Options may be specified at the command line, or to the command inter‐
-A Use active mode for data transfers. This is useful for transmis‐
sions to servers which do not support passive connections (for
-p Use passive mode for data transfers. Allows use of ftp in environ‐
ments where a firewall prevents connections from the outside world
back to the client machine. Requires that the ftp server support
the PASV command. This is the default now for all clients (ftp and
pftp) due to security concerns using the PORT transfer mode. The
flag is kept for compatibility only and has no effect anymore.
-i Turns off interactive prompting during multiple file transfers.
-n Restrains ftp from attempting “auto-login” upon initial connection.
If auto-login is enabled, ftp will check the .netrc (see netrc(5))
file in the user's home directory for an entry describing an
account on the remote machine. If no entry exists, ftp will prompt
for the remote machine login name (default is the user identity on
the local machine), and, if necessary, prompt for a password and an
account with which to login.
-e Disables command editing and history support, if it was compiled
into the ftp executable. Otherwise, does nothing.
-g Disables file name globbing.
-m The default requires that ftp explicitly binds to the same inter‐
face for the data channel as the control channel in passive mode.
Useful on multi-homed clients. This option disables this behavior.
-v Verbose option forces ftp to show all responses from the remote
server, as well as report on data transfer statistics.
-d Enables debugging.
The client host with which ftp is to communicate may be specified on the
command line. If this is done, ftp will immediately attempt to establish
a connection to an FTP server on that host; otherwise, ftp will enter its
command interpreter and await instructions from the user. When ftp is
awaiting commands from the user the prompt ‘ftp>’ is provided to the
user. The following commands are recognized by ftp:
! [command [args]]
Invoke an interactive shell on the local machine. If there
are arguments, the first is taken to be a command to execute
directly, with the rest of the arguments as its arguments.
$ macro-name [args]
Execute the macro macro-name that was defined with the macdef
command. Arguments are passed to the macro unglobbed.
Supply a supplemental password required by a remote system
for access to resources once a login has been successfully
completed. If no argument is included, the user will be
prompted for an account password in a non-echoing input mode.
append local-file [remote-file]
Append a local file to a file on the remote machine. If
remote-file is left unspecified, the local file name is used
in naming the remote file after being altered by any ntrans
or nmap setting. File transfer uses the current settings for
type, format, mode, and structure.
ascii Set the file transfer type to network ASCII. This is the
bell Arrange that a bell be sounded after each file transfer com‐
mand is completed.
binary Set the file transfer type to support binary image transfer.
bye Terminate the FTP session with the remote server and exit
ftp. An end of file will also terminate the session and
case Toggle remote computer file name case mapping during mget
commands. When case is on (default is off), remote computer
file names with all letters in upper case are written in the
local directory with the letters mapped to lower case.
Change the working directory on the remote machine to
cdup Change the remote machine working directory to the parent of
the current remote machine working directory.
chmod mode file-name
Change the permission modes of the file file-name on the
remote system to mode.
close Terminate the FTP session with the remote server, and return
to the command interpreter. Any defined macros are erased.
cr Toggle carriage return stripping during ascii type file
retrieval. Records are denoted by a carriage return/linefeed
sequence during ascii type file transfer. When cr is on (the
default), carriage returns are stripped from this sequence to
conform with the UNIX single linefeed record delimiter.
Records on non-UNIX remote systems may contain single line‐
feeds; when an ascii type transfer is made, these linefeeds
may be distinguished from a record delimiter only when cr is
Delete the file remote-file on the remote machine.
Toggle debugging mode. If an optional debug-value is speci‐
fied it is used to set the debugging level. When debugging
is on, ftp prints each command sent to the remote machine,
preceded by the string ‘-->’
dir [remote-directory] [local-file]
Print a listing of the directory contents in the directory,
remote-directory, and, optionally, placing the output in
local-file. If interactive prompting is on, ftp will prompt
the user to verify that the last argument is indeed the tar‐
get local file for receiving dir output. If no directory is
specified, the current working directory on the remote
machine is used. If no local file is specified, or
local-file is -, output comes to the terminal.
disconnect A synonym for close.
Set the file transfer form to format. The default format is
get remote-file [local-file]
Retrieve the remote-file and store it on the local machine.
If the local file name is not specified, it is given the same
name it has on the remote machine, subject to alteration by
the current case, ntrans, and nmap settings. The current
settings for type, form, mode, and structure are used while
transferring the file.
glob Toggle filename expansion for mdelete, mget and mput. If
globbing is turned off with glob, the file name arguments are
taken literally and not expanded. Globbing for mput is done
as in csh(1). For mdelete and mget, each remote file name is
expanded separately on the remote machine and the lists are
not merged. Expansion of a directory name is likely to be
different from expansion of the name of an ordinary file: the
exact result depends on the foreign operating system and ftp
server, and can be previewed by doing ‘mls remote-files -’
Note: mget and mput are not meant to transfer entire direc‐
tory subtrees of files. That can be done by transferring a
tar(1) archive of the subtree (in binary mode).
hash Toggle hash-sign (``#'') printing for each data block trans‐
ferred. The size of a data block is 1024 bytes.
Print an informative message about the meaning of command.
If no argument is given, ftp prints a list of the known com‐
Set the inactivity timer on the remote server to seconds sec‐
onds. If seconds is omitted, the current inactivity timer is
Change the working directory on the local machine. If no
directory is specified, the user's home directory is used.
ls [remote-directory] [local-file]
Print a listing of the contents of a directory on the remote
machine. The listing includes any system-dependent informa‐
tion that the server chooses to include; for example, most
UNIX systems will produce output from the command ‘ls -l’.
(See also nlist.) If remote-directory is left unspecified,
the current working directory is used. If interactive
prompting is on, ftp will prompt the user to verify that the
last argument is indeed the target local file for receiving
ls output. If no local file is specified, or if local-file
is ‘-’, the output is sent to the terminal.
Define a macro. Subsequent lines are stored as the macro
macro-name; a null line (consecutive newline characters in a
file or carriage returns from the terminal) terminates macro
input mode. There is a limit of 16 macros and 4096 total
characters in all defined macros. Macros remain defined
until a close command is executed. The macro processor
interprets `$' and `\' as special characters. A `$' followed
by a number (or numbers) is replaced by the corresponding
argument on the macro invocation command line. A `$' fol‐
lowed by an `i' signals that macro processor that the execut‐
ing macro is to be looped. On the first pass `$i' is
replaced by the first argument on the macro invocation com‐
mand line, on the second pass it is replaced by the second
argument, and so on. A `\' followed by any character is
replaced by that character. Use the `\' to prevent special
treatment of the `$'.
Delete the remote-files on the remote machine.
mdir remote-files local-file
Like dir, except multiple remote files may be specified. If
interactive prompting is on, ftp will prompt the user to ver‐
ify that the last argument is indeed the target local file
for receiving mdir output.
Expand the remote-files on the remote machine and do a get
for each file name thus produced. See glob for details on
the filename expansion. Resulting file names will then be
processed according to case, ntrans, and nmap settings.
Files are transferred into the local working directory, which
can be changed with ‘lcd directory’; new local directories
can be created with ‘! mkdir directory’.
Make a directory on the remote machine.
mls remote-files local-file
Like nlist, except multiple remote files may be specified,
and the local-file must be specified. If interactive prompt‐
ing is on, ftp will prompt the user to verify that the last
argument is indeed the target local file for receiving mls
Set the file transfer mode to mode-name. The default mode is
Show the last modification time of the file on the remote
Expand wild cards in the list of local files given as argu‐
ments and do a put for each file in the resulting list. See
glob for details of filename expansion. Resulting file names
will then be processed according to ntrans and nmap settings.
newer file-name [local-file]
Get the file only if the modification time of the remote file
is more recent that the file on the current system. If the
file does not exist on the current system, the remote file is
considered newer. Otherwise, this command is identical to
nlist [remote-directory] [local-file]
Print a list of the files in a directory on the remote
machine. If remote-directory is left unspecified, the cur‐
rent working directory is used. If interactive prompting is
on, ftp will prompt the user to verify that the last argument
is indeed the target local file for receiving nlist output.
If no local file is specified, or if local-file is -, the
output is sent to the terminal.
nmap [inpattern outpattern]
Set or unset the filename mapping mechanism. If no arguments
are specified, the filename mapping mechanism is unset. If
arguments are specified, remote filenames are mapped during
mput commands and put commands issued without a specified
remote target filename. If arguments are specified, local
filenames are mapped during mget commands and get commands
issued without a specified local target filename. This com‐
mand is useful when connecting to a non-UNIX remote computer
with different file naming conventions or practices. The
mapping follows the pattern set by inpattern and outpattern.
[Inpattern] is a template for incoming filenames (which may
have already been processed according to the ntrans and case
settings). Variable templating is accomplished by including
the sequences `$1', `$2', ..., `$9' in inpattern. Use `\' to
prevent this special treatment of the `$' character. All
other characters are treated literally, and are used to
determine the nmap [inpattern] variable values. For example,
given inpattern $1.$2 and the remote file name "mydata.data",
$1 would have the value "mydata", and $2 would have the value
"data". The outpattern determines the resulting mapped file‐
name. The sequences `$1', `$2', ...., `$9' are replaced by
any value resulting from the inpattern template. The
sequence `$0' is replace by the original filename. Addition‐
ally, the sequence ‘[seq1, seq2]’ is replaced by [seq1] if
seq1 is not a null string; otherwise it is replaced by seq2.
For example, the command
nmap $1.$2.$3 [$1,$2].[$2,file]
would yield the output filename "myfile.data" for input file‐
names "myfile.data" and "myfile.data.old", "myfile.file" for
the input filename "myfile", and "myfile.myfile" for the
input filename ".myfile". Spaces may be included in
outpattern, as in the example: `nmap $1 sed "s/ *$//" > $1'
. Use the `\' character to prevent special treatment of the
`$','[','[', and `,' characters.
ntrans [inchars [outchars]]
Set or unset the filename character translation mechanism.
If no arguments are specified, the filename character trans‐
lation mechanism is unset. If arguments are specified, char‐
acters in remote filenames are translated during mput com‐
mands and put commands issued without a specified remote tar‐
get filename. If arguments are specified, characters in
local filenames are translated during mget commands and get
commands issued without a specified local target filename.
This command is useful when connecting to a non-UNIX remote
computer with different file naming conventions or practices.
Characters in a filename matching a character in inchars are
replaced with the corresponding character in outchars. If
the character's position in inchars is longer than the length
of outchars, the character is deleted from the file name.
open host [port]
Establish a connection to the specified host FTP server. An
optional port number may be supplied, in which case, ftp will
attempt to contact an FTP server at that port. If the
auto-login option is on (default), ftp will also attempt to
automatically log the user in to the FTP server (see below).
prompt Toggle interactive prompting. Interactive prompting occurs
during multiple file transfers to allow the user to selec‐
tively retrieve or store files. If prompting is turned off
(default is on), any mget or mput will transfer all files,
and any mdelete will delete all files.
Execute an ftp command on a secondary control connection.
This command allows simultaneous connection to two remote ftp
servers for transferring files between the two servers. The
first proxy command should be an open, to establish the sec‐
ondary control connection. Enter the command "proxy ?" to
see other ftp commands executable on the secondary connec‐
tion. The following commands behave differently when pref‐
aced by proxy: open will not define new macros during the
auto-login process, close will not erase existing macro defi‐
nitions, get and mget transfer files from the host on the
primary control connection to the host on the secondary con‐
trol connection, and put, mput, and append transfer files
from the host on the secondary control connection to the host
on the primary control connection. Third party file trans‐
fers depend upon support of the ftp protocol PASV command by
the server on the secondary control connection.
put local-file [remote-file]
Store a local file on the remote machine. If remote-file is
left unspecified, the local file name is used after process‐
ing according to any ntrans or nmap settings in naming the
remote file. File transfer uses the current settings for
type, format, mode, and structure.
pwd Print the name of the current working directory on the remote
quit A synonym for bye.
quote arg1 arg2 ...
The arguments specified are sent, verbatim, to the remote FTP
recv remote-file [local-file]
A synonym for get.
reget remote-file [local-file]
Reget acts like get, except that if local-file exists and is
smaller than remote-file, local-file is presumed to be a par‐
tially transferred copy of remote-file and the transfer is
continued from the apparent point of failure. This command
is useful when transferring very large files over networks
that are prone to dropping connections.
Request help from the remote FTP server. If a command-name
is specified it is supplied to the server as well.
With no arguments, show status of remote machine. If
file-name is specified, show status of file-name on remote
rename [from] [to]
Rename the file from on the remote machine, to the file to.
reset Clear reply queue. This command re-synchronizes com‐
mand/reply sequencing with the remote ftp server. Resynchro‐
nization may be necessary following a violation of the ftp
protocol by the remote server.
Restart the immediately following get or put at the indicated
marker. On UNIX systems, marker is usually a byte offset
into the file.
Delete a directory on the remote machine.
runique Toggle storing of files on the local system with unique file‐
names. If a file already exists with a name equal to the
target local filename for a get or mget command, a ".1" is
appended to the name. If the resulting name matches another
existing file, a ".2" is appended to the original name. If
this process continues up to ".99", an error message is
printed, and the transfer does not take place. The generated
unique filename will be reported. Note that runique will not
affect local files generated from a shell command (see
below). The default value is off.
send local-file [remote-file]
A synonym for put.
sendport Toggle the use of PORT commands. By default, ftp will
attempt to use a PORT command when establishing a connection
for each data transfer. The use of PORT commands can prevent
delays when performing multiple file transfers. If the PORT
command fails, ftp will use the default data port. When the
use of PORT commands is disabled, no attempt will be made to
use PORT commands for each data transfer. This is useful for
certain FTP implementations which do ignore PORT commands
but, incorrectly, indicate they've been accepted.
site arg1 arg2 ...
The arguments specified are sent, verbatim, to the remote FTP
server as a SITE command.
Return size of file-name on remote machine.
status Show the current status of ftp.
Set the file transfer structure to struct-name. By default
“stream” structure is used.
sunique Toggle storing of files on remote machine under unique file
names. Remote ftp server must support ftp protocol STOU com‐
mand for successful completion. The remote server will
report unique name. Default value is off.
system Show the type of operating system running on the remote
tenex Set the file transfer type to that needed to talk to TENEX
trace Toggle packet tracing.
Set the file transfer type to type-name. If no type is spec‐
ified, the current type is printed. The default type is net‐
Set the default umask on the remote server to newmask. If
newmask is omitted, the current umask is printed.
user user-name [password] [account]
Identify yourself to the remote FTP server. If the password
is not specified and the server requires it, ftp will prompt
the user for it (after disabling local echo). If an account
field is not specified, and the FTP server requires it, the
user will be prompted for it. If an account field is speci‐
fied, an account command will be relayed to the remote server
after the login sequence is completed if the remote server
did not require it for logging in. Unless ftp is invoked
with “auto-login” disabled, this process is done automati‐
cally on initial connection to the FTP server.
verbose Toggle verbose mode. In verbose mode, all responses from the
FTP server are displayed to the user. In addition, if ver‐
bose is on, when a file transfer completes, statistics
regarding the efficiency of the transfer are reported. By
default, verbose is on.
A synonym for help.
Command arguments which have embedded spaces may be quoted with quote `"'
To abort a file transfer, use the terminal interrupt key (usually Ctrl-
C). Sending transfers will be immediately halted. Receiving transfers
will be halted by sending a ftp protocol ABOR command to the remote
server, and discarding any further data received. The speed at which
this is accomplished depends upon the remote server's support for ABOR
processing. If the remote server does not support the ABOR command, an
‘ftp>’ prompt will not appear until the remote server has completed send‐
ing the requested file.
The terminal interrupt key sequence will be ignored when ftp has com‐
pleted any local processing and is awaiting a reply from the remote
server. A long delay in this mode may result from the ABOR processing
described above, or from unexpected behavior by the remote server,
including violations of the ftp protocol. If the delay results from
unexpected remote server behavior, the local ftp program must be killed
Files specified as arguments to ftp commands are processed according to
the following rules.
1. If the file name ‘-’ is specified, the stdin (for reading) or stdout
(for writing) is used.
2. If the first character of the file name is ‘|’, the remainder of the
argument is interpreted as a shell command. Ftp then forks a shell,
using popen(3) with the argument supplied, and reads (writes) from
the stdout (stdin). If the shell command includes spaces, the argu‐
ment must be quoted; e.g. “" ls -lt"”. A particularly useful exam‐
ple of this mechanism is: “dir more”.
3. Failing the above checks, if ``globbing'' is enabled, local file
names are expanded according to the rules used in the csh(1); c.f.
the glob command. If the ftp command expects a single local file
(.e.g. put), only the first filename generated by the "globbing"
operation is used.
4. For mget commands and get commands with unspecified local file
names, the local filename is the remote filename, which may be
altered by a case, ntrans, or nmap setting. The resulting filename
may then be altered if runique is on.
5. For mput commands and put commands with unspecified remote file
names, the remote filename is the local filename, which may be
altered by a ntrans or nmap setting. The resulting filename may
then be altered by the remote server if sunique is on.
The FTP specification specifies many parameters which may affect a file
transfer. The type may be one of “ascii”, “image” (binary), “ebcdic”,
and “local byte size” (for PDP-10's and PDP-20's mostly). Ftp supports
the ascii and image types of file transfer, plus local byte size 8 for
tenex mode transfers.
Ftp supports only the default values for the remaining file transfer
parameters: mode, form, and struct.
Ftp utilizes the following environment variables.
HOME For default location of a .netrc file, if one exists.
SHELL For default shell.
ftpd(8), RFC 959
The ftp command appeared in 4.2BSD.
Correct execution of many commands depends upon proper behavior by the
An error in the treatment of carriage returns in the 4.2BSD ascii-mode
transfer code has been corrected. This correction may result in incor‐
rect transfers of binary files to and from 4.2BSD servers using the ascii
type. Avoid this problem by using the binary image type.
Linux NetKit (0.17) August 15, 1999 Linux NetKit (0.17)