Get Started with Essential FTP Commands

FTP not only transfers files from one system to another. With FTP, you also get a form of data management. The best place to get started is with our FTP commands list.

Download & share our pocket reference FTP Commands List.
Available Here >>

The Power of FTP Commands

Use FTP commands to manage data by locating files, deleting unneeded documents, and transferring data to clients and associates at remote locations. Transferring large files in no problem with FTP. Manage files individually, or use file transfer protocol to move multiple files between your computer and an FTP server. View all files stored on the server, or move files to a new folder location so clients can retrieve them easily.

Getting Started

To get you started with file transfer protocol, here is a list of the most common FTP commands and their basic descriptions. This list makes a great cheat sheet for new programmers or a handy reference for pros who are juggling a lot of technical information.

Access the help screen. Request information about FTP commands.

Set file transfer mode to ASCII. Usually the default setting.

Set file transfer mode to binary. Binary is needed to transfer non-ASCII files.

Exit FTP environment.

Change directory.

Terminate an FTP session.

Delete a file.

Lists the contents of the remote directory. Includes files and subdirectories.

Get file from remote server/computer. Copies file to local computer.

Request a list of all available FTP commands. Help screen displays additional information about a command if the command is entered after help.

Change local directory.

List file names in the current remote directory.

Copy multiple files from the remote system to the local computer.

Make a new directory within the current remote directory.

Send multiple files from local computer to remote system.

Open connection with another system.

Send file to remote server/computer.

Show pathname of current directory.

Exit FTP environment.

Remove directory on the remote server/computer.

Additional Commands

These FTP commands, while common for the basic FTP functions, are based on running a PC with Windows. Once you have all the basic FTP commands down, additional commands can be found in the help screen and used to request more complex functions. These commands may differ slightly depending on your system.

Using Commands with SFTP

You can also use commands to manage and transfer data via SFTP. Many people prefer to use SFTP because it is a natively secure protocol. While SFTP is often used as a secure replacement for FTP, you may think the same commands would work for both.

However, SFTP is a completely separate protocol from FTP. And because it is a separate protocol, there are some differences in the commands you use to perform actions.

Essential SFTP Commands

Based on the list above, there are only a few differences to note if you are using SFTP. The following FTP commands do NOT work for SFTP connections:

  • ascii
  • binary
  • close
  • open

If you want to delete a file with SFTP you use the command rm instead of delete.

You’ve got the commands, now it’s time to start using FTP.

Did we leave any FTP commands off our list that you find essential? What are your most used FTP commands? Drop us a note on social. You can find ExaVault on Facebook and Twitter.

Secure Cloud FTP platform provides full support for manual and automated transfers via web interface, FTP, FTPS and SFTP. Visit