FTP(1) OpenBSD Reference Manual FTP(1)
ftp - ARPANET file transfer program
ftp [-AVadegimnptu] [-o output] [-P port] [-r seconds] [host [port]]
ftp is the user interface to the ARPANET standard File Transfer Protocol.
The program allows a user to transfer files to and from a remote network
The latter three usage formats will fetch a file using either the HTTP or
FTP protocols into the current directory. This is ideal for scripts.
Refer to AUTO-FETCHING FILES below for more information.
Options may be specified at the command line, or to the command inter-
-A Force active mode ftp. By default, ftp will try to use passive
mode ftp and fall back to active mode if passive is not sup-
ported by the server. This option causes ftp to always use an
active connection. It is only useful for connecting to very
old servers that do not implement passive mode properly.
-a Causes ftp to bypass the normal login procedure and use an
anonymous login instead.
-d Enables debugging.
-e Disables command line editing. Useful for Emacs ange-ftp.
-g Disables file name globbing.
-i Turns off interactive prompting during multiple file transfers.
-m Causes ftp to always display the progress meter in cases where
it would not do so by default.
-n Restrains ftp from attempting ``auto-login'' upon initial con-
nection. If auto-login is enabled, ftp will check the .netrc
(see below) file in the user's home directory for an entry de-
scribing 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.
When fetching a single file or url, save the contents in
output. To make the contents go to stdout, use ``-'' for
-p Enable passive mode operation for use behind connection filter-
ing firewalls. This option has been deprecated as ftp now
tries to use passive mode by default, falling back to active
mode if the server does not support passive connections.
-P port Sets the port number to port.
Retry to connect if failed, pausing for number of seconds.
-t Enables packet tracing.
-v Enable verbose mode. This is the default if input is from a
terminal. Forces ftp to show all responses from the remote
server, as well as report on data transfer statistics.
-V Disable verbose mode, overriding the default of enabled when
input is from a terminal.
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 the prompt `ftp>' is provided to the user. The follow-
ing 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 de-
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 exit.
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 remote-
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 re-
mote 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 re-
trieval. 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-Ux 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 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 ls.) 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 argu-
ment is indeed the target local file for receiving dir out-
put. If no local file is specified, or if local-file is `-',
the output is sent to the terminal.
disconnect A synonym for close.
edit Toggle command line editing, and context sensitive command
and file completion. This is automatically enabled if input
is from a terminal, and disabled otherwise.
exit A synonym for bye.
ftp host [port]
A synonym for open.
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.
gate [host [port]]
Toggle gate-ftp mode. This will not be permitted if the
gate-ftp server hasn't been set (either explicitly by the us-
er, or from the FTPSERVER environment variable). If host is
given, then gate-ftp mode will be enabled, and the gate-ftp
server will be set to host. If port is also given, that will
be used as the port to connect to on the gate-ftp server.
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 directo-
ry subtrees of files. That can be done by transferring a
tar(1) archive of the subtree (in binary mode).
Toggle hash-sign (``#'') printing for each data block trans-
ferred. The size of a data block defaults to 1024 bytes.
This can be changed by specifying size in 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.
less file A synonym for page.
lpwd Print the working directory on the local machine.
ls [remote-directory [local-file]]
Print a list of the files in a directory on the remote ma-
chine. 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 un-
til a close command is executed. The macro processor inter-
prets `$' and `\' as special characters. A `$' followed by a
number (or numbers) is replaced by the corresponding argument
on the macro invocation command line. A `$' followed by an
`i' tells the macro processor that the executing macro is to
be looped. On the first pass `$i' is replaced by the first
argument on the macro invocation command 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 ls, except multiple remote files may be specified, and
the local-file must be specified. If interactive prompting
is on, ftp will prompt the user to verify that the last argu-
ment is indeed the target local file for receiving mls out-
Set the file transfer mode to mode-name. The default mode is
Show the last modification time of the file on the remote ma-
more file A synonym for page.
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.
A synonym for mput.
Get the file only if the modification time of the remote file
is more recent than 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]]
A synonym for ls.
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 re-
mote 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-Ux 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 de-
termine 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 se-
quence `$0' is replaced 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 in-
put 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 lo-
cal 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-Ux 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 auto-
matically log the user in to the FTP server (see below).
page file Retrieve file and display with the program defined in PAGER
(defaulting to more(1) if PAGER is null or not defined).
passive Toggle passive mode. If passive mode is turned on (default
is on), the ftp client will send a PASV command for all data
connections instead of the usual PORT command. The PASV com-
mand requests that the remote server open a port for the data
connection and return the address of that port. The remote
server listens on that port and the client connects to it.
When using the more traditional PORT command, the client lis-
tens on a port and sends that address to the remote server,
who connects back to it. Passive mode is useful when using
ftp through a gateway router or host that controls the direc-
tionality of traffic. (Note that though ftp servers are re-
quired to support the PASV command by RFC 1123, some do not.)
preserve Toggle preservation of modification times on retrieved files.
progress Toggle display of transfer progress bar. The progress bar
will be disabled for a transfer that has local-file as `-' or
a command that starts with `|'. Refer to FILE NAMING
CONVENTIONS for more information.
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.
When prompting is on, the following commands are available at
n Do not transfer the file.
a Answer ``yes'' to the current file and automatical-
ly answer ``yes'' to any remaining files for the
p Answer ``yes'' to the current file and turn off
prompt mode (as if ``prompt off'' had been given).
Any other reponse will answer ``yes'' to the current file.
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 au-
to-login process, close will not erase existing macro defini-
tions, get and mget transfer files from the host on the pri-
mary control connection to the host on the secondary control
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 transfers de-
pend 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 ma-
rename [from [to]]
Rename the file from on the remote machine to the file to.
reset Clear reply queue. This command re-synchronizes command/re-
ply sequencing with the remote ftp server. Resynchronization
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
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 be-
low). 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 at-
tempt 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 re-
port unique name. Default value is off.
system Show the type of operating system running on the remote ma-
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 speci-
fied, 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 re-
garding the efficiency of the transfer are reported. By de-
fault, verbose is on.
A synonym for help.
Command arguments which have embedded spaces may be quoted with quote `"'
Commands which toggle settings can take an explicit on or off argument to
force the setting appropriately.
If ftp receives a SIGINFO (see the ``status'' argument of stty(1)) sig-
nal whilst a transfer is in progress, the current transfer rate statis-
tics will be written to the standard error output, in the same format as
the standard completion message.
In addition to standard commands, this version of ftp supports an auto-
fetch feature. To enable auto-fetch, simply pass the list of host-
names/files on the command line.
The following formats are valid syntax for an auto-fetch element:
host:/file ``Classic'' ftp format
ftp://[user:password@]host[:port]/file An ftp URL, retrieved using the
ftp protocol if ftp_proxy isn't
defined. Otherwise, transfer us-
ing http via the proxy defined in
ftp_proxy. If user:password@ is
given and ftp_proxy isn't de-
fined, login as user with a pass-
word of password.
http://host[:port]/file An http URL, retrieved using the
http protocol. If http_proxy is
defined, it is used as a URL to
an HTTP proxy server.
If a classic format or a ftp URL format has a trailing `/', then ftp will
connect to the site and cd to the directory given as the path, and leave
the user in interactive mode ready for further input.
If successive auto-fetch ftp elements refer to the same host, then the
connection is maintained between transfers, reducing overhead on connec-
tion creation and deletion.
If file contains a glob character and globbing is enabled, (see glob),
then the equivalent of mget file is performed.
If no -o option is specified, and the directory component of file con-
tains no globbing characters, then it is stored in the current directory
as the basename(1) of file. Otherwise, the remote name is used as the lo-
ABORTING A FILE TRANSFER
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 an 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 complet-
ed 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 viola-
tions of the ftp protocol. If the delay results from unexpected remote
server behavior, the local ftp program must be killed by hand.
FILE NAMING CONVENTIONS
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 ex-
ample 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 al-
tered 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 al-
tered by a ntrans or nmap setting. The resulting filename may then
be altered by the remote server if sunique is on.
FILE TRANSFER PARAMETERS
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 pa-
rameters: mode, form, and struct.
THE .netrc FILE
The .netrc file contains login and initialization information used by the
auto-login process. It resides in the user's home directory. The fol-
lowing tokens are recognized; they may be separated by spaces, tabs, or
Identify a remote machine name. The auto-login process searches
the .netrc file for a machine token that matches the remote ma-
chine specified on the ftp command line or as an open command
argument. Once a match is made, the subsequent .netrc tokens
are processed, stopping when the end of file is reached or an-
other machine or a default token is encountered.
default This is the same as machine name except that default matches
any name. There can be only one default token, and it must be
after all machine tokens. This is normally used as:
default login anonymous password user@site
thereby giving the user automatic anonymous ftp login to ma-
chines not specified in .netrc. This can be overridden by using
the -n flag to disable auto-login.
Identify a user on the remote machine. If this token is pre-
sent, the auto-login process will initiate a login using the
Supply a password. If this token is present, the auto-login
process will supply the specified string if the remote server
requires a password as part of the login process. Note that if
this token is present in the .netrc file for any user other
than anonymous, ftp will abort the auto-login process if the
.netrc is readable by anyone besides the user.
Supply an additional account password. If this token is pre-
sent, the auto-login process will supply the specified string
if the remote server requires an additional account password,
or the auto-login process will initiate an ACCT command if it
Define a macro. This token functions like the ftp macdef com-
mand functions. A macro is defined with the specified name;
its contents begin with the next .netrc line and continue until
a null line (consecutive new-line characters) is encountered.
If a macro named init is defined, it is automatically executed
as the last step in the auto-login process.
COMMAND LINE EDITING
ftp supports interactive command line editing, via the editline(3) li-
brary. It is enabled with the edit command, and is enabled by default if
input is from a tty. Previous lines can be recalled and edited with the
arrow keys, and other GNU Emacs-style editing keys may be used as well.
The editline(3) library is configured with a .editrc file - refer to ed-
itrc(5) for more information.
An extra key binding is available to ftp to provide context sensitive
command and filename completion (including remote file completion). To
use this, bind a key to the editline(3) command ftp-complete. By default,
this is bound to the TAB key.
ftp utilizes the following environment variables:
FTPMODE Overrides the default operation mode. Recognized values
passive passive mode ftp only
active active mode ftp only
auto automatic determination of passive or active
(this is the default)
gate gate-ftp mode
FTPSERVER Host to use as gate-ftp server when gate is enabled.
FTPSERVERPORT Port to use when connecting to gate-ftp server when gate
is enabled. Default is port returned by a getservbyname()
lookup of ``ftpgate/tcp''.
HOME For default location of a .netrc file, if one exists.
PAGER Used by page to display files.
SHELL For default shell.
TMPDIR Directory to put temporary files.
ftp_proxy URL of FTP proxy to use when making FTP URL requests (if
not defined, use the standard ftp protocol).
http_proxy URL of HTTP proxy to use when making HTTP URL requests.
getservbyname(3), editrc(5), services(5), ftpd(8)
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.
OpenBSD 2.6 August 18, 1997 13
Source: OpenBSD 2.6 man pages. Copyright: Portions are copyrighted by BERKELEY
SOFTWARE DESIGN, INC., The Regents of the University of California, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Free Software Foundation, FreeBSD Inc., and others.