Recursive FTP with the command line

Here’s a piece of Linux/UNIX shell scripting code that will do a recursive FTP refresh of a website for you:

lftp <<~/Tmp/log_file.tmp 2>>~/Tmp/log_file.tmp

open ${HOSTNAME}

user ${USER} ${PSSWD}

mirror -R -vvv “${REP_SRC}” “${REP_DEST}”


When my normal FTP scripting approach left me with a broken WordPress installation and an invalid ticket in the project’s TRAC system that I had to close, I turned to looking for a more robust way of achieving the website updates and that’s what led me to seek out the options available for FTP transfers that explicitly involve directory recursion. The key pieces in the code above are the use of lftp in place of ftp, my more usual tool for the job, and the invocation of the mirror command that comes with lftp. The -R switch ensures that file transfer is from local to remote (vice versa is the default) and -vvv turns on maximum verbosity, a very useful thing when you find that it takes longer than more usual means. It’s all much slicker than writing your own script to do the back-work of ploughing through the directory structure and ensuring that the recursive transfers take place. Saying that, it is possible to have a one line variant of the above but the way that I have set things up might be more familiar to users of ftp.

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