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May 19, 2015 - A Look At The New Commandlinefu
I've put together a short writeup on what kind of newness you can expect from the next iteration of clfu. Check it out here.
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Copy files over network using compression

Terminal - Copy files over network using compression
on the listening side: sudo nc -lp 2022 | sudo tar -xvf - and on the sending side: tar -cvzf - ./*| nc -w 3 name_of_listening_host 2022
2009-03-27 09:59:33
User: smcpherson
Functions: sudo tar
Copy files over network using compression

This is useful for sending data between 2 computers that you have shell access to. Uses tar compression during transfer. Files are compressed & uncompressed automatically. Note the trailing dash on the listening side that makes netcat listen to stdin for data.

on the listening side:

sudo nc -lp 2022 | sudo tar -xvf -

explanation: open netcat to -l listen on -p port 2022, take the data stream and pipe to tar -x extract, -v verbose, -f using file filename - means "stdin"

on the sending side:

tar -cvzf - ./*| nc -w 3 name_of_listening_host 2022

explanation: compress all files in current dir using tar -c create, -v verbose, -f using file, - filename - here means "stdout" because we're tar -c instead of tar -x, -w3 wait 3 seconds on stream termination and then end the connection to the listening host name_of_listening_host, on port 2022

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

If you have scp on the client and the corresponding daemon on the server side, you can just use

scp filename [email protected]:/target/directory
Comment by DNSpyder 473 weeks and 5 days ago

Curious why a sudo is needed in "sudo nc -lp 2022"

(port 2022 is not a privileged port)?

Comment by mpb 473 weeks and 5 days ago

But where is the compression?

You should pipe your data through bzip2, gzip whatever.

Comment by OJM 473 weeks and 5 days ago


Good catch - I left out the "-z" option that filters the archive through gzip. Post modified.


I should have pointed out that port 2022 is arbitrary and was open for me when I needed this command. It could be replaced with whatever works for you though.


scp works, but the combination of netcat & tar is faster even with compression turned on in scp (-C).

Comment by smcpherson 473 weeks and 5 days ago

If you need encryption then use cryptcat:


Comment by OJM 473 weeks and 5 days ago


Comment by asmoore82 473 weeks ago

This works in reverse, too, i.e. the listening side can be the "sender":

# on the listening/sending side tar -cvzf - ./* | nc -v -l 2022 # on the receiving side nc -v -w3 name_of_listening_host 2022 | tar -xvf -

The listening netcat will wait for the incoming connection before it starts sending the input piped from tar.

Comment by jordan 275 weeks and 4 days ago

Your point of view

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