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A List of Common FTP Commands

written by: S. R. Obbayi•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 3/10/2011

There are plenty of FTP GUI applications you can use to copy files across networks. In the absence of these you may need to use a FTP command line tool therefore making it necessary to have a FTP commands list handy. This guide is one such list.

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    To get to know what the common FTP commands list contains, it is best to know what FTP is. FTP, known as File Transfer Protocol in full is a standard service that is used to copy files from one computer to another over a network in either the Internet or an Intranet. The FTP service is facilitated by the use of client and server applications to handle the requests. Some of these applications have calls to the FTP commands built-in while others like the command line tools require you to type them in manually. Here is an article on the some of the workings in FTP and a comparison of FTP programs.

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    FTP Syntax

    You can use FTP from the command line using the following command:


    The usage is as follows:

    FTP [options] [-s:filename] [-w:windowsize] [host]


    -s:filename Specifies a text file containing FTP commands; the commands will automatically run after FTP starts.

    -w:buffersize Overrides the default transfer buffer size of 4096.

    host Specifies the host name or IP address of the remote host to connect to.

    The options above are all optional.

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    Other Common FTP Commands

    Common ftp commands append - This tells the server that If the file specified in the pathname exists at the server site, then the data shall be appended to that file;

    ascii - Default transfer data type intended primarily for the transfer of text files

    bell - Cause a bell to ring after each command.

    binary - Transfer data type best for the transfer of files other than text files

    bye - End the FTP client session and quite the program

    cd - Used to browse remote directories

    close - Close the active connection

    delete - delete the specified file on the remote host

    debug - Toggle debug mode on and off

    dir - List a remote directory's files and subdirectories.

    disconnect - Disconnect from the remote host, but not the FTP program.

    get - Cop a file from the server to your local computer

    glob - Toggle the use of wildcard characters in local path-names.

    hash - Toggle printing a hash (#) for each 2K data block transferred.

    help - Used to print a list of available commands

    lcd - Used to browse local directories

    literal - Send arguments, as-is, to the remote FTP host.

    ls - List items in the directory

    mdelete - Delete files on remote host.

    mdir - Display a list of a remote directory's files and sub-directories.

    mget - Copy multiple remote files to the local computer.

    mkdir - Used to create a directory on the server

    mls - List a remote directory's files and folders.

    mput - Copy multiple local files to the remote host.

    open - Open a connection to the server

    prompt – During copying of multiple files, this allows the FTP client to prompt for action after each file has been copied

    put - Send a file from the local computer to the remote server

    pwd - Returns the name of the current directory on the remote host

    quit - End the FTP client session and quite the program

    quote - Send arguments, as-is, to the remote FTP host

    recv - Copy a remote file to the local PC

    remotehelp - Display help for remote commands

    rename - Used to rename a specified file to the new name given

    rmdir - This is used to remove a directory from the drectory tree

    send - Copy a local file to the remote host.

    status - Used to check whether you are connected to the server, what other features are turned on and off

    trace - Toggle data packet tracing on and off

    type - The data representation type used for data transfer and storage.

    user - The person or process wishing to access the file transfer service

    verbose - Turn on and off echoing activity on screen

    This sums up the common FTP commands list