Downloading masses of files, useful ftp commands

You have finished a sequencing project and now your sequencing facility is sending you lots of files! You’re eager to see your results. Your facility sends you a link with files displayed on a website. Now what are you supposed to do?

First, log in to your hpc server (AWS or HPC cluster) where you will work with the files.

Depending on the type of server where your files have been made available (ftp or http), try these commands:

If ftp server, with user and password required:

wget -r --user XXX --password XXX ftp://1234.5678.10

You can also log in to the ftp server, navigate and change directories, then mget to copy multiple files from the remote server to your local server. (Although, this will sometimes take longer than wget for some reason.) (The -P 2121 is optional, leave it out if you don’t know the port.)

ncftp -u XXX -p XXX -P 2121
cd /path/to/files
mget *

If http or https server, with user and password. The  -r is recursive, -l1 is only level 1, and –no-parent means no files up. (These stop wget from automatically downloading files linking files being downloaded, which can happen with websites.)

wget -r -l1 --no-parent --user=user --password=password

With no user or password required:

wget -r -l1 --no-parent --no-check-certificate

Most facilities are friendly and will help you download your files. In some cases, they will provide temporary ssh access, but other times not. It depends on the facility. If you don’t know the name of the ftp or http server, or the directory where the files are located, write to them and ask.

Thanks to Luiz Irber and Dragos Scarlet for the help and motivation for working through this problem. 🙂


About Lisa Johnson

PhD candidate at UC Davis in Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology
This entry was posted in Linux. Bookmark the permalink.

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