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Last active Mar 23, 2018
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Working on remote machines

Some (trivial?) commands to work on a remote machine using the SSH, FTP and HTTP protocols.

SSH certificate

Generate SSH keys for using a SSH connection without having to enter the password every time you log in.

Generate the key (local machine) [Skip this step if you have already the keys in your machine!]:

cd ~/.ssh    # create dir if it doesn't exist  
ssh-keygen -t rsa -C ""      
chmod 700 id_rsa

ssh-keygen will create two files with the private and public keys: id_rsa and

Log on the remote host (remote machine):

cd ~/.ssh    # create dir if it doesn't exist

Copy your public key (local machine):

cat ~/.ssh/  

Paste the public key to the remote host (remote machine):

vim ~/.ssh/authorized_keys           # create dir and file if they don't exist  
chmod 644 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys     # change file permissions

Log on the remote machine without entering the password. If necessary, give the path to your private key (usually not needed!):

ssh -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa

Read more about SSH keys.

Restart/Shutdown the computer

Restart a local computer immediately:

sudo shutdown -r now

Restart a remote computer at a specific time:

ssh -l root computer shutdown -r hhmm

Shut down a remote computer in 30 minutes:

ssh -l root computer shutdown -h +30

Job control

A job (or process) is defined as an "instance" of an executing program.

List the jobs in your job table:


Kill job number [2] on the list:

kill %2 

Display information about your processes running:


Some ps options::

-f  Displays full information.
-e  Displays all processes running.
-u *username*  Displays user processes including those from other sessions.

Kill process by PID number:

kill 3682

Kill process by name:

pkill name

Note: if you try to logout and get the message

There are stopped jobs

list the jobs (using jobs) and kill the stopped jobs or bring them to the foreground (see bellow), or simply type: logout logout (yes, twice).

Run a job in the background with &:

nohup commands &

nohup enables the command to keep running after the user has logged out. The output that would normally go to the terminal goes to a file called nohup.out if it has not already been redirected (e.g., > file.out).

Bring a background (or stopped) job to the foreground:

fg %jobnumber

Place a foreground job in the background (to free the terminal):

^Z    # type Control-z to suspend de job  

Monitor (in "real time") the main processes running and information about system/hardware usage (e.g., CPU, memory, network, etc.):


Read more about job control.

File transfer via SSH

scp is an application to copy files to, from, or between different hosts. It uses SSH for data transfer and provides the same authentication and same level of security as SSH.

rsync is an application to analyse files and only copy the changes made to files rather than all files. See option bellow for SSH transfer protocol. The rest, similar syntax as scp.

Copy file from remote host to local host:

scp /local/directory

Copy file from local host to remote host:

scp file.ext

Copy file from remote host1 to remote host2:


Copy multiple files from local host to remote host:

scp file1.ext file2.ext files3.ext

Note: for more than a few files, as scp spawns a new process for each file, use rsync instead.

Some scp options::

-r  Recursively go through directories.  
-C  Compress the data before it goes over the network.

Note: -r does not know about symbolic links and will blindly follow them.

Some rsync options::

-a  Archive mode, preserves file permissions and does not follow symlinks.  
-z  Enable compression. Compress each file as it gets sent through the pipe.  
-e ssh  Uses SSH as the transport.  
-v  Verbose, lists files being copied.

Obs: use of trailing slashes can be confusing.

File transfer via FTP


ftp is an application (client) to transfer files between computers connected via the File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

Connect to the remote host:


For a public FTP use

password: anonymous

Change dir and see content:

cd dirname  

Copy file from remote host to local host (initial local dir):

get remotefile.ext

Copy file from local host (initial local dir) to remote host:

put localfile.ext

Copy multiple files (to/from initial local dir):

mget *.ext  
mput *.ext

For not answering (Y/N) type: prompt off.

Close the connection:



For non-interactive download you can use wget or curl.

List directory:

wget    # this will generate an index.html file  
open index.html                                # whole directory structure listing



Put the trailing slashes on directories.

Get files:



curl -O    # no globbing

Some wget options:

--ftp-user=user  Specifies the username.  
--ftp-password=password  Specifies the password.  
-r  Recursive download.  
-m  Keep a mirror of a directory (-r -N -l).  
-c  Resume getting a partially-downloaded file.  
-A  Comma-separated list of accepted extensions.  
-R  Comma-separated list of rejected extensions.

Some curl options:

--user username:password  Specify user and password.

This is non-recursive!

File transfer via HTTP

Download a whole website keeping the original structure (mirror):

wget -m

Download recursively all .html files from a website directory:

wget -r -A.html
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