How can I download a specified directory and all it's files from an FTP server (requiring username+password)?

4 Answers 4


My personal preference is filezilla.

You can install it from the repositories by typing sudo apt-get install filezilla.

It's quite stable and with plenty of features.

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Alternatively, if you want to download by using a shell FTP client (no GUI), you could try to use wget or ncftp.

Some examples:

ncftpget –R –v –u "username" <ftp_site> <local_dir> <remote_dir>, (where "R" = recursive, "v" = verbose)

wget -r ftp://username:password@<ftp_site>/

wget provides many options, i've used it many times myself and i think that you should really try it (read it's 'man page', it's worth it)

  • 1
    What's the benefit of using Filezilla instead of Nautilus? Aug 23, 2011 at 4:48
  • this works perfectly. i had special characters in my username. thanks Nov 1, 2017 at 5:37

A few command line solutions from this thread on SO:

wget -l 100 --user=<user> --password=<password> ftp://server/which/folder

The -l 100 is for setting depth to 100, as -r sets it to 5.


wget -r ftp://user:pass@server.com/

Might not always work, as per SO, so try -m instead.

Or use ncftp as below:

ncftp -u <user> -p <pass> <server>
ncftp> mget directory

Alternatively use sftp:

scp -r user@server:/which/folder /destination/folder/

This one is highly recommended over plain FTP.


Open Nautilus, select File > Connect to server.. Select FTP with login. When you're logged in, right click the folder you want to copy and paste it somewhere on your local system.

No need to install stuff. You have everything you need. :)


Any FTP client is able to download directories recursively and also authenticate with a username and password. Just start Ubuntu Software Center, search for "ftp" and choose one of the options.

Filezilla looks like a good candidate to install and see if it works for you (though I never used it).

Or do you mean you want to download files in some unusual way (in a terminal, from a shell script, etc.)?

  • 1
    Yes preferably from terminal (I'm hardcore).
    – el_pup_le
    Aug 23, 2011 at 3:19

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