How to Securely Download Files in Ubuntu 22.04 Using SSH?

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The Necessity of Secure File Transfers

Ever found yourself puzzled about how to safely transfer files from a remote server to your local machine using Ubuntu 22.04? Let’s delve into the world of Secure Shell (SSH) — a protocol not only for secure remote access but also for transferring files with the assurance of safety and integrity.

SSH and SCP: A Brief Overview

SSH does more than just provide secure remote access. It’s also a backbone for transferring files securely. Particularly, the scp (secure copy) command, leveraging SSH, ensures that your data is encrypted and secure during transit.

Setting the Stage for File Transfer

First things first, ensure you’ve got SSH access to your remote server. This means having the server’s IP or hostname handy, along with your login credentials (username and password) or an SSH key if you’re using key-based authentication.

Getting SSH and SCP Ready

Ubuntu 22.04 usually has SSH and SCP pre-installed. But just to be sure, you can verify their presence by typing:

ssh -V scp

And if they’re missing, no worries! Just a quick install away:

sudo apt update sudo apt install openssh-client

Mastering SCP for File Downloads

The Basic Command Structure

To pull a file from a remote server to your local machine, the syntax goes like:

scp [username]@[remote_host]:[file_path_on_remote_host] [local_destination]

Here, you’ll fill in your own details for [username], [remote_host], [file_path_on_remote_host], and [local_destination].

A Real-World Example

Imagine you need to download example.txt from a server at, where you’re user, and the file is in /home/user/documents. You want it in your local Downloads. The magic command?

scp [email protected]:/home/user/documents/example.txt ~/Downloads/

Enter your password when prompted, and voilà! Your file is on its way to your local directory.

Tackling Various Scenarios

When SSH Keys are Involved

If SSH keys are your thing, ensure your private key is on your local machine. SCP will pick it up automatically if it’s in the standard spot (~/.ssh/id_rsa).

Multiple Files? No Problem!

Need more than one file? Wildcards to the rescue. For all .txt files, you’d do:

scp [email protected]:/home/user/documents/*.txt ~/Downloads/

Directories and Recursive Copy

Got a whole directory to download? Just add -r:

scp -r [email protected]:/home/user/documents/myfolder ~/Downloads/

Dealing with Different Ports

SSH server on a non-standard port? Just use -P followed by the port number:

scp -P 2222 [email protected]:/home/user/documents/example.txt ~/Downloads/

Wrapping Up

There you have it — a complete guide on using SCP for downloading files in Ubuntu 22.04. Secure, versatile, and reliable, SCP caters to all your file transfer needs, whether it’s a single file or a whole directory.

Tech Team

The Tech Team at is a collective of cybersecurity aficionados, each a specialist in their respective field. This ensemble includes seasoned DFIR mavens, management strategists, and cybersecurity tacticians.

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