How to Access Remote File Systems From the Linux Terminal With Termscp
Managing files on remote servers can be tricky, especially if you shun apps that take you away from the terminal. Sure, you can use SSH and SCP to browse directories and shoot files between machines, but, while simple and elegant, these commands lack the utility of a full-fledged file manager.
Termscp is a feature-rich terminal file explorer, with support for SCP, SFTP, FTP, and S3, which allows you to interact with your remote machines through a friendly Terminal User Interface and copy files effortlessly.
Why Use Termscp to Manage Files on Remote Machines?
File managers are the default way most computer users interact with files and folders on their PCs. Windows owners have Explorer, macOS comes with Finder, while Linux desktops come with an astonishing variety of GUI file managers, plus various terminal alternatives including ranger, nnn, fff, and more.
The advantages of using a file manager with a Terminal User Interface (TUI) over one with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) are obvious: they use fewer system resources, and once you have the hang of the keyboard shortcuts, are infinitely faster than dragging an icon from one window to another using a mouse.
If you’re just exploring the filesystem, creating directories, and moving files around, they can also be quicker than using the built-in shell commands.
When you deal with remote machines, whether you’re working on a VPS or a Raspberry Pi, your options for transferring files between your local machine and the server are limited. You can use an FTP client, or you can use a combination of Secure Shell (SSH) and Secure Copy (SCP).
Neither of these solutions is perfect, and while the SSH and SCP combo is great if you’re doing other system administration tasks, it’s a bit unwieldy for fast copying and similar file manipulation tasks.
Termscp aims to make your life easier by giving you a beautiful TUI file manager which can simplify and speed up connecting to a remote server to retrieve and upload files and interact with the local file system.
How to Install Termscp on Linux
Installing Termscp couldn’t be simpler, as the developer has created a script that will run on any distro. The script will check your architecture, distro, and dependencies, then download and install the appropriate packages on your behalf.
Use wget to download the script to your present working directory:
When downloaded, run the script using:
Alternatively, you can curl the script and pipe straight to Bash with:
curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSLf "https://git.io/JBhDb" | sh
However, this is generally considered bad practice from a security point of view.
The wizard will show your platform and architecture, then ask, “Install termscp 0.10.0?” Type “y“, then hit Enter. Enter your password when requested, and wait to see the green check mark and the message, “Congratulations! Termscp has successfully been installed on your system!”
Use Termscp to Manage Your Files on Your Local Machine and Server
Start the Termscp TUI by opening your favorite terminal and entering:
Use the Left and Right arrow keys on your keyboard to choose between connections via SCP, SFTP, FTP, and S3, then the Up and Down keys to switch fields. There are four more fields you need to fill in. These are:
- Remote host: This is the IP address of your remote machine, and can either be on your home network or the public address of VPS or other server types.
- Port number: The remote port you want to connect to. There are no set-in-stone rules on this, but SSH/SCP and SFTP connections usually use port 22, while FTP connections are usually on 20 and 21.
- Username: The username of the remote user. If you’re connecting to a Raspberry Pi, the default Pi username is “pi”.
- Password: The password of the remote user. This will be obscured by asterisks as you fill out the field.
If you have previously used Termscp or created any bookmarks, you can press Tab to switch to the lower field, then use the Left and Right arrow keys to switch between “Bookmarks” and “Recent connections”.
When you’re ready, hit Enter to connect to a particular server.
The TUI view will change, and you’ll be presented with another split-screen view. The top section is divided between your local filesystem on the left side and the remote filesystem on the right. You will start in the home directory of each user, and you can switch between them with the Left and Right arrow keys.
Navigate the filesystem with the Up and Down keys, and press Enter to open a directory. Pressing Backspace will return you to the previous directory. If you press Enter on a file, it will open on your local machine using the default app.
To copy a file or directory from one machine to another, press Space when the item is highlighted, and Termscp will copy the item to the currently open directory in the other panel.
If you want to edit a file on the remote system, press F4. Alternatively, you can move a file to a new location within the remote filesystem if you press F5, and enter the new full path.
By default, files are sorted by name. You can change this using the b key, and choose to sort by modify time, creation time, or size. You can also toggle hidden file visibility with a.
For a full list of useful keybindings, press h. You can also get command-line help for Termscp using the manual pages:
Termscp Is the Easy Way to Navigate Remote Filesystems
Now you can use Termscp to access and manipulate remote files through your terminal as though they were on your own PC. You can save time and get on with other projects.
Why not start by converting a spare Raspberry Pi into a web server?