Python Secure FTP module


In the previous post we covered the ftplib module in Python, which you can read more about here. In this post we will cover the pysftp module.

SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) is used for securely exchanging files over the Internet.

What is it?

pysftp is an easy to use sftp module that utilizes paramiko and pycrypto.

It provides a simple interface to sftp.

Some of the features are:
Gracefully handles both RSA and DSS private key files automatically

Supports encrypted private key files.

Logging can now be enabled/disabled

Why should I use it?

When you want to securely exchange files over the Internet.

How do I install it?

pysftp is listed on PyPi and can be installed using pip.

# Search for pysftp
pip search pysftp

pysftp                    # - A friendly face on SFTP

#Install pysftp
pip install pysftp

List a remote directory

To connect to our FTP server, we first have to import the pysftp module and specify (if applicable) server, username and password credentials.

After running this program, you should see all the files and directories of the current directory of your FTP server.

import pysftp

srv = pysftp.Connection(host="your_FTP_server", username="your_username",

# Get the directory and file listing
data = srv.listdir()

# Closes the connection

# Prints out the directories and files, line by line
for i in data:
    print i

Connection parameters

Arguments that are not given are guessed from the environment.


The Hostname of the remote machine.


Your username at the remote machine.(None)


Your private key file.(None)


Your password at the remote machine.(None)


The SSH port of the remote machine.(22)


password to use if your private_key is encrypted(None)


log connection/handshake details (False)

Download / Upload a remote file

As in the previous example we first import the pysftp module and specify (if applicable) server, username and password credentials.

We also import the sys module, since we want the user to specify the file to download / upload.

import pysftp
import sys

# Defines the name of the file for download / upload
remote_file = sys.argv[1]

srv = pysftp.Connection(host="your_FTP_server", username="your_username",

# Download the file from the remote server

# To upload the file, simple replace get with put. 

# Closes the connection

What’s the next step?

Play around with the script, change things and see what happens.

Try add error handling to it. What happens if no argument is passed?

Add some interaction to the program by prompting for input.

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