Office of Information Technology

Using SCP Secure File Transfer Client to Transfer Files


American University's IT Security Policies states that authenticating (providing your user name and password) to systems requires using encryption. The Secure File Transfer Client is a secure replacement for File Transfer Protocol (FTP) programs, because it encrypts your user name and password, as well as the data you are transmitting.

Use SCP to protect your password and data from hackers that may be trying to intercept the information while it moves across the network. You will find that the client is very similar to using most FTP programs. Please read the instructions below.

  1. Open the SECURE FILE TRANSFER CLIENT.
  2. To connect to a server, click on the QUICK CONNECT button in the upper left corner of the window. You may also select QUICK CONNECT from the FILE menu.
  3. Enter the server address in the HOST NAME field.
  4. Enter your user name for the server in the USER NAME field. Leave the PORT NUMBER field set to the default 22
    SCP Connection Screen
  5. Click the CONNECT button.
  6. You will be asked to add the server's key to your local database, if it is the first time you have connected to this server. Click YES.
  7. Enter your PASSWORD and click OK.
  8. Once connected, you will see your workstation's directories on the left and the server's directories on the right. Your workstation will default to the desktop, but you can navigate into other folders by double-clicking on them.
    SCP Files Screen
  9. To copy a file from the server down to your workstation, browse to the directory on the server where the file is located and then just click and drag it from the right side of the screen to the left.
  10. Once the file is downloaded, you will see it listed on the left side of the screen. You will also see transfer information at the bottom of the screen. If there are any errors in copying the file, they will be listed here.
  11. To copy a file from your workstation up to the server, browse to the directory on your workstation where the file is located and then just click and drag it from the left side of the screen to the right.
  12. Again, once the file is uploaded, you will see it listed on the right side of the screen. You will also see transfer information at the bottom of the screen and again. If there are any errors in copying the file, they will be listed here.
  13. To disconnect, just click the DISCONNECT button in the upper left of the screen that has a picture of a computer with a red slash through it and then click OK. You can also select DISCONNECT from the FILE menu.

For assistance in obtaining, installing or any other questions about using this software, contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550, helpdesk@american.edu, or AskAmericanUHelp.