How To Copy A File/Folder From A Local System To Remote System In Linux?

Copying a file from one server to another server or local to remote is one of the routine task for Linux administrator.

If anyone says no, i won’t accept because this is one of the regular activity wherever you go.

It can be done in many ways and we are trying to cover all the possible options.

You can choose the one which you would prefer. Also, check other commands as well that may help you for some other purpose.

I have tested all these commands and script in my test environment so, you can use this for your routine work.

By default every one go with SCP because it’s one of the native command that everyone use for file copy. But commands which is listed in this article are be smart so, give a try if you would like to try new things.

This can be done in below four ways easily.

  • SCP: scp copies files between hosts on a network. It uses ssh for data transfer, and uses the same authentication and provides the same security as ssh.
  • RSYNC: rsync is a fast and extraordinarily versatile file copying tool. It can copy locally, to/from another host over any remote shell, or to/from a remote rsync daemon.
  • PSCP: pscp is a program for copying files in parallel to a number of hosts. It provides features such as passing a password to scp, saving output to files, and timing out.
  • PRSYNC: prsync is a program for copying files in parallel to a number of hosts. It provides features such as passing a password to ssh, saving output to files, and timing out.

Method-1: Copy Files/Folders From A Local System To Remote System In Linux Using SCP Command?

scp command allow us to copy files/folders from a local system to remote system.

We are going to copy the output.txt file from my local system to 2g.CentOS.com remote system under /opt/backup directory.

# scp output.txt [email protected]:/opt/backup

output.txt                                                                                              100% 2468     2.4KB/s   00:00

We are going to copy two files output.txt and passwd-up.sh files from my local system to 2g.CentOS.com remote system under /opt/backup directory.

# scp output.txt passwd-up.sh [email protected]:/opt/backup

output.txt                                                                                              100% 2468     2.4KB/s   00:00
passwd-up.sh                                                                                            100%  877     0.9KB/s   00:00

We are going to copy the shell-script directory from my local system to 2g.CentOS.com remote system under /opt/backup directory.

This will copy the shell-script directory and associated files under /opt/backup directory.

# scp -r /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/ [email protected]:/opt/backup/

output.txt                                                                                              100% 2468     2.4KB/s   00:00
ovh.sh                                                                                          		100%   76     0.1KB/s   00:00
passwd-up.sh                                                                                            100%  877     0.9KB/s   00:00
passwd-up1.sh                                                                                            100%    7     0.0KB/s   00:00
server-list.txt                                                                                         100%   23     0.0KB/s   00:00

Method-2: Copy Files/Folders From A Local System To Multiple Remote System In Linux Using Shell Script with scp Command?

If you would like to copy the same file into multiple remote servers then create the following small shell script to achieve this.

To do so, get the servers list and add those into server-list.txt file. Make sure you have to update the servers list into server-list.txt file. Each server should be in separate line.

Finally mention the file location which you want to copy like below.

# file-copy.sh

#!/bin/sh
for server in `more server-list.txt`
do
  scp /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/output.txt [email protected]$server:/opt/backup
done

Once you done, set an executable permission to password-update.sh file.

# chmod +x file-copy.sh

Finally run the script to achieve this.

# ./file-copy.sh

output.txt                                                                                              100% 2468     2.4KB/s   00:00
output.txt                                                                                              100% 2468     2.4KB/s   00:00

Use the following script to copy the multiple files into multiple remote servers.

# file-copy.sh

#!/bin/sh
for server in `more server-list.txt`
do
  scp /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/output.txt passwd-up.sh [email protected]$server:/opt/backup
done

The below output shows all the files twice as this copied into two servers.

# ./file-cp.sh

output.txt                                                                                              100% 2468     2.4KB/s   00:00
passwd-up.sh                                                                                            100%  877     0.9KB/s   00:00
output.txt                                                                                              100% 2468     2.4KB/s   00:00
passwd-up.sh                                                                                            100%  877     0.9KB/s   00:00

Use the following script to copy the directory recursively into multiple remote servers.

# file-copy.sh

#!/bin/sh
for server in `more server-list.txt`
do
  scp -r /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/ [email protected]$server:/opt/backup
done

Output for the above script.

# ./file-cp.sh

output.txt                                                                                              100% 2468     2.4KB/s   00:00
ovh.sh                                                                                          		100%   76     0.1KB/s   00:00
passwd-up.sh                                                                                            100%  877     0.9KB/s   00:00
passwd-up1.sh                                                                                           100%    7     0.0KB/s   00:00
server-list.txt                                                                                         100%   23     0.0KB/s   00:00

output.txt                                                                                              100% 2468     2.4KB/s   00:00
ovh.sh                                                                                          		100%   76     0.1KB/s   00:00
passwd-up.sh                                                                                            100%  877     0.9KB/s   00:00
passwd-up1.sh                                                                                           100%    7     0.0KB/s   00:00
server-list.txt                                                                                         100%   23     0.0KB/s   00:00

Method-3: Copy Files/Folders From A Local System To Multiple Remote System In Linux Using PSCP Command?

pscp command directly allow us to perform the copy to multiple remote servers.

Use the following pscp command to copy a single file to remote server.

# pscp.pssh -H  2g.CentOS.com /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/output.txt /opt/backup

[1] 18:46:11 [SUCCESS] 2g.CentOS.com

Use the following pscp command to copy a multiple files to remote server.

# pscp.pssh -H  2g.CentOS.com /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/output.txt ovh.sh /opt/backup

[1] 18:47:48 [SUCCESS] 2g.CentOS.com

Use the following pscp command to copy a directory recursively to remote server.

# pscp.pssh -H 2g.CentOS.com -r /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/ /opt/backup                     

[1] 18:48:46 [SUCCESS] 2g.CentOS.com

Use the following pscp command to copy a single file to multiple remote servers.

# pscp.pssh -h server-list.txt /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/output.txt /opt/backup

[1] 18:49:48 [SUCCESS] 2g.CentOS.com
[2] 18:49:48 [SUCCESS] 2g.Debian.com

Use the following pscp command to copy a multiple files to multiple remote servers.

# pscp.pssh -h server-list.txt /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/output.txt passwd-up.sh /opt/backup

[1] 18:50:30 [SUCCESS] 2g.Debian.com
[2] 18:50:30 [SUCCESS] 2g.CentOS.com

Use the following pscp command to copy a directory recursively to multiple remote servers.

# pscp.pssh -h server-list.txt -r /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/ /opt/backup

[1] 18:51:31 [SUCCESS] 2g.Debian.com
[2] 18:51:31 [SUCCESS] 2g.CentOS.com

Method-4: Copy Files/Folders From A Local System To Multiple Remote System In Linux Using rsync Command?

Rsync is a fast and extraordinarily versatile file copying tool. It can copy locally, to/from another host over any remote shell, or to/from a remote rsync daemon.

Use the following rsync command to copy a single file to remote server.

# rsync -avz /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/output.txt [email protected]:/opt/backup

sending incremental file list
output.txt 

sent 598 bytes  received 31 bytes  1258.00 bytes/sec
total size is 2468  speedup is 3.92

Use the following pscp command to copy a multiple files to remote server.

# rsync -avz /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/output.txt passwd-up.sh [email protected]:/opt/backup

sending incremental file list
output.txt
passwd-up.sh
 
sent 737 bytes  received 50 bytes  1574.00 bytes/sec
total size is 2537  speedup is 3.22

Use the following rsync command to copy a single file to remote server overh ssh.

# rsync -avzhe ssh /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/output.txt [email protected]:/opt/backup

sending incremental file list
output.txt

sent 598 bytes  received 31 bytes  419.33 bytes/sec
total size is 2.47K  speedup is 3.92

Use the following pscp command to copy a directory recursively to remote server over ssh. This will copy only files not the base directory.

# rsync -avzhe ssh /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/ [email protected]:/opt/backup

sending incremental file list
./
output.txt
ovh.sh
passwd-up.sh
passwd-up1.sh
server-list.txt
 
sent 3.85K bytes  received 281 bytes  8.26K bytes/sec
total size is 9.12K  speedup is 2.21

Method-5: Copy Files/Folders From A Local System To Multiple Remote System In Linux Using Shell Script with rsync Command?

If you would like to copy the same file into multiple remote servers then create the following small shell script to achieve this.

# file-copy.sh

#!/bin/sh
for server in `more server-list.txt`
do
  rsync -avzhe ssh /home/daygeek/2g/shell-script/ [email protected]$server:/opt/backup
done

Output for the above shell script.

# ./file-copy.sh

sending incremental file list
./
output.txt
ovh.sh
passwd-up.sh
passwd-up1.sh
server-list.txt

sent 3.86K bytes  received 281 bytes  8.28K bytes/sec
total size is 9.13K  speedup is 2.21

sending incremental file list
./
output.txt
ovh.sh
passwd-up.sh
passwd-up1.sh
server-list.txt
 
sent 3.86K bytes  received 281 bytes  2.76K bytes/sec
total size is 9.13K  speedup is 2.21

Method-6: Copy Files/Folders From A Local System To Multiple Remote System In Linux Using Shell Script with scp Command?

In the above two shell script, we need to mention the file and folder location as a prerequiesties but here i did a small modification that allow the script to get a file or folder as a input. It could be very useful when you want to perform the copy multiple times in a day.

# file-copy.sh

#!/bin/sh
for server in `more server-list.txt`
do
scp -r $1 [email protected]$server:/opt/backup
done

Run the shell script and give the file name as a input.

# ./file-copy.sh output1.txt

output1.txt                                                                                             100% 3558     3.5KB/s   00:00
output1.txt                                                                                             100% 3558     3.5KB/s   00:00

Method-7: Copy Files/Folders From A Local System To Multiple Remote System In Linux With Non-Standard Port Number?

Use the below shell script to copy a file or folder if you are using Non-Standard port.

If you are using Non-Standard port, make sure you have to mention the port number as follow for SCP command.

# file-copy-scp.sh

#!/bin/sh
for server in `more server-list.txt`
do
scp -P 2222 -r $1 [email protected]$server:/opt/backup
done

Run the shell script and give the file name as a input.

# ./file-copy.sh ovh.sh

ovh.sh                                                                                             100% 3558     3.5KB/s   00:00
ovh.sh                                                                                             100% 3558     3.5KB/s   00:00

If you are using Non-Standard port, make sure you have to mention the port number as follow for rsync command.

# file-copy-rsync.sh

#!/bin/sh
for server in `more server-list.txt`
do
rsync -avzhe 'ssh -p 2222' $1 [email protected]$server:/opt/backup
done

Run the shell script and give the file name as a input.

# ./file-copy-rsync.sh passwd-up.sh 
sending incremental file list
passwd-up.sh

sent 238 bytes  received 35 bytes  26.00 bytes/sec
total size is 159  speedup is 0.58

sending incremental file list
passwd-up.sh

sent 238 bytes  received 35 bytes  26.00 bytes/sec
total size is 159  speedup is 0.58

Prakash Subramanian

Prakash Subramanian is a Linux lover and has 3.5+ years of experience in linux server administration with major Linux distribution such as (RHEL, CentOS, Ubuntu). He is currently working as a Senior L2 Linux Server administrator.

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