Transfer files by using WinSCP

  • Last updated on: 2019-03-12
  • Authored by: Rackspace Community

WinSCP is an open-source, free Secure File Transfer Protocol (sftp) and File Transfer Protocol (ftp) client for Microsoft® Windows®. You can use WinSCP to securely transfer files between your local Microsoft Windows machine and a remote server.

This article describes how to download, install, and use WinSCP to transfer files between computers. This article also describes how to create files and folders, and set permissions.

Download and install WinSCP

  1. Download WinSCP.

  2. Double-click the WinSCP executable to begin the installation process.

  3. Select Typical installation or Custom installation for the Setup type and click Next.

    A custom installation provides the option to select the file’s destination, the components to install, and the features within the WinSCP application including:

    • The drag&drop shell extension (allows direct downloads and might require restart)
    • Pageant (SSH authentication agent)
    • PuTTYgen (key generator)
    • Translations

  4. Choose the interface type with which you want to work and click Next.

    The Commander interface displays two panes with your local files on the left and remote files on the right. The Explorer style displays only remote files in a single window.

    We recommend starting with the Commander interface. You can change the default style later in the Preferences menu.

  5. Configure sshd (the ssh/sftp server) to listen to a port that is different from the default.

    The following example uses port 30000:

    • SFTP port: 30000
    • Username: demo
    • IP address: 123.45.67.89

    Note: For the host name, enter the Internet Protocol (IP) address of your server and change the port to match your sshd port.

  6. Ensure that the Connection Type is set to sftp.

  7. To save the configuration, click the Save button next to the Login button.

  8. Enter a configuration name that is easy for you to remember, for example, server-ORD-local23.

    WinSCP stores configurations in Stored Sessions. Use a different name for each server.

    Note: You can use a private key to log in to the cloud server. See Generate RSA keys with SSH by using PuTTYgen for information about setting up public and private keys.

  9. If this is the first time you have used WinSCP, and you are sure you’ve entered the correct configuration details, click Yes on the Warning dialog box.

    This warning is not shown during subsequent connections to this server.

Transfer files

  1. Launch WinSCP.

  2. To transfer files, drag and drop files from your local machine that is shown in the left pane, to the server file system that is shown in the right pane.

    If you don’t have permission to write to the server file system, an Error dialog box appears.

    Note: The lock on the lower right side of the Commander window indicates that the connection is secure. If you double-click the icon, you see the security features of your connection, such as the encryption algorithm used by sftp.

    If you use WinSCP to connect an ftp server, the lock icon does not appear because ftp doesn’t provide secure (encrypted) communication.

Create files and directories

  1. To create a file, click File > New and select File.

  2. Enter a file name and click OK.

  3. In the text editor, enter the contents of the new file and click the Save icon.

    When you save the remote file, WinSCP begins the upload process.

    Note: If you want to use a more sophisticated text editor, you can select a different editor in the Preferences menu.

  4. To create a folder, click File > New and select Folder.

  5. Enter a folder name.

  6. To set permissions, select Set permissions and change the permissions for the new directory by selecting R, W, and X (for read, write, and execute) for each user profile.

    You can also see the equivalent octal value for your settings. The user you used to login via sftp owns new directory.

  7. To change permissions, right-click the file or directory and select Properties.

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