Tutorial :How to pass password to scp?


I know it is not recommended, but is it at all possible to pass the user's password to scp?

I'd like to copy a file via scp as part of a batch job and the receiving server does, of course, need a password and, no, I cannot easily change that to key-based authentication.


You can script it with a tool like expect (there are handy bindings too, like Pexpect for Python).


Use sshpass:

sshpass -p "password" scp -r user@example.com:/some/remote/path /some/local/path  

or so the password does not show in the bash history

sshpass -f "/path/to/passwordfile" scp -r user@example.com:/some/remote/path /some/local/path  

The above copies contents of path from the remote host to your local.

Install :

  • ubuntu/debian
    • apt install sshpass
  • centos/fedora
    • yum install sshpass
  • mac w/ macports
    • port install sshpass
  • mac w/ brew
    • brew install https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kadwanev/bigboybrew/master‌​/Library/Formula/ssh‌​pass.rb


If you are connecting to the server from Windows, the Putty version of scp ("pscp") lets you pass the password with the -pw parameter.

This is mentioned in the documentation here.


just generate a ssh key like:

ssh-keygen -t rsa -C "your_email@youremail.com"  

copy the content of ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub and lastly add it to the remote machines ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

make sure remote machine have the permissions 0700 for ~./ssh folder and 0600 for ~/.ssh/authorized_keys


You can use the 'expect' script on unix/terminal

For example create 'test.exp' :

#!/usr/bin/expect          spawn scp  /usr/bin/file.txt root@<ServerLocation>:/home          set pass "Your_Password"          expect {          password: {send "$pass\r"; exp_continue}                    }  

run the script

expect test.exp   

I hope that helps.


Here is an example of how you do it with expect tool:

sub copyover {      $scp=Expect->spawn("/usr/bin/scp ${srcpath}/$file $who:${destpath}  +/$file");      $scp->expect(30,"ssword: ") || die "Never got password prompt from  + $dest:$!\n";      print $scp 'password' . "\n";      $scp->expect(30,"-re",'$\s') || die "Never got prompt from parent   +system:$!\n";      $scp->soft_close();      return;  }  


Nobody mentioned it, but Putty scp (pscp) has a -pw option for password.

Documentation can be found here: https://the.earth.li/~sgtatham/putty/0.67/htmldoc/Chapter5.html#pscp


  1. make sure you have "expect" tool before, if not, do it

    # apt-get install expect

  2. create the a script file with following content. (# vi /root/scriptfile)

    spawn scp /path_from/file_name user_name_here@to_host_name:/path_to

    expect "password:"

    send put_password_here\n;


  3. execute the script file with "expect" tool

    # expect /root/scriptfile


An alternative would be add the public half of the user's key to the authorized-keys file on the target system. On the system you are initiating the transfer from, you can run an ssh-agent daemon and add the private half of the key to the agent. The batch job can then be configured to use the agent to get the private key, rather than prompting for the key's password.

This should be do-able on either a UNIX/Linux system or on Windows platform using pageant and pscp.


Once you set up ssh-keygen as explained above, you can do

scp -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa /local/path/to/file remote@ip.com:/path/in/remote/server/

If you want to lessen typing each time, you can modify your .bash_profile file and put

alias remote_scp='scp -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa /local/path/to/file remote@ip.com:/path/in/remote/server/  

Then from your terminal do source ~/.bash_profile. Afterwards if you type remote_scp in your terminal it should run the scp command without password.


curl can be used as a alternative to scp to copy a file and it supports a password on the commandline.

curl --insecure --user username:password -T /path/to/sourcefile sftp://desthost/path/  


You may use ssh-copy-id to add ssh key:

$which ssh-copy-id #check whether it exists  

If exists:

ssh-copy-id  "user@remote-system"  


steps to get sshpass For rhel/centos 6 :

# wget http://epel.mirror.net.in/epel/6/i386/epel-release-6-8.noarch.rpm  # rpm -ivh epel-release-6-8.noarch.rpm  # yum install sshpass  

source: https://community.mapr.com/thread/9040


I found this really helpful answer here.

rsync -r -v --progress -e ssh user@remote-system:/address/to/remote/file /home/user/  

Not only you can pass there the password, but also it will show the progress bar when copying. Really awesome.

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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