Secure Copy

Secure CoPy (abbreviation SCP ) is a protocol and a program for the encrypted transmission of data between two computers over a computer network.


The protocol itself only implements the file transfer, for registration, and SSH connection is used, and called on the remote computer an SCP server; this is usually the same time, the client program. For the underlying SSH, an SSH server is required.


SCP is the purpose of the File Transfer - such as, for example,

  • FTP,
  • Secure FTP / SSH File Transfer Protocol ( SFTP) and
  • FTP over SSL ( FTPS ).

For FTP neither control nor data file transfer are secured. However, Secure FTP secures the control data via SSH, the file transfer is not always. FTP over SSL uses an SSL connection to secure all of the control data and the file transfer, and is supported by many FTP-Clients/-Servern. SCP ensures the control data and file transfer via SSH. SFTP extended SCP and provides additional file operations. SFTP is not an extension of FTP, but a separately specified protocol.

The Secure Copy Protocol ( SCP) is similar to the Remote Copy Protocol ( RCP). Other than that it is based on SSH and thus ensures the confidentiality, integrity and authenticity of data transmitted.


The most common client on Unix systems, the command line- based scp, a free implementation of Windows is pscp from the PuTTY program collection.

The syntax is similar to the Unix command cp:

A file copy to the host:

Scp user @ host Quelldatei.bsp: Directory / Zieldatei.bsp A file from the host to copy:

Scp user @ host: directory / Quelldatei.bsp Zieldatei.bsp Since SCP can only be used for file transfer, clients are rarely GUI as they need to extend the functionality, such as with navigation and display in directory trees. An example of a graphical SCP client is free software WinSCP. The well-known file manager Total Commander can be done with a plug- in SCP -capable.