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sftp Connection to Unix Computers

Sftp or secure file transfer protocol is one where the account name and password are sent across the network in an encrypted format. This make it harder for someone listening on the network to catch your information and enable that person to log into your account.

For Windows XP or Vista 32 bit, download PSFTP from the Putty website to your desktop by following the links on

Click on psftp which is now on your desktop.

Click on Run on the first pop-up window.

Fill in the fully qualified host name in the slot Host name. For the print/file server in Chemistry this would be; for Geological Sciences this would be

The Port should be set to 22 and the type of connection set to ssh.

Login as: youraccount
youraccount's password:

For Macs running OS X or other unix computers, start up a terminal window. For Macs find the Terminal program by going to the Finder Menu by clicking on the desktop background. On the Finder menu, slide down under GO to Utilities or Applications if Utilities is not listed. You will find the Utilities folder in the Applications folder. Double click on the Terminal program in the Utilities folder.

In the terminal window, type

sftp youraccountname@unixcomputername

where youraccountname is the account on the unix computer and unixcomputername is the name of the computer to which you want to connect. If your account name on the unix computer is the same as the account name on the system you are currently using, you may omit the youraccountname@ from the line above. Depending upon whether your Mac or unix system is setup to search first on its own subnet to resolve a computers full name, the unixcomputername may be the a simple one word name such as chemps or geops. If your computer is not set up to do the subnet search first, you will have to use a fully qualified name in the unixcomputername portion of the command. A fully qualified name for chemps is; for geops it is

When the connection is made, you will asked for the password for youraccountname on the computer to which you are making the connection.

sftp Commands The list of available commands will vary by version of the sftp software that you are using. However, the following are commonly available:

help list the available commands
cd path change your remote directory
lcd pathchange your local directory
get remote-file [local-file]download remote file
put local-file [remote-file]upload local file
exit quit sftp
quit quit sftp

Last update 10-26-2007 - Margaret Doll