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FTP Client class

Net::FTP - FTP Client class


Net::FTP - FTP Client class


    use Net::FTP;

    $ftp = Net::FTP->new("", Debug => 0);






Net::FTP is a class implementing a simple FTP client in Perl as described in RFC959. It provides wrappers for a subset of the RFC959 commands.


FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is a way of transferring files between networked machines. The protocol defines a client (whose commands are provided by this module) and a server (not implemented in this module). Communication is always initiated by the client, and the server responds with a message and a status code (and sometimes with data).

The FTP protocol allows files to be sent to or fetched from the server. Each transfer involves a local file (on the client) and a remote file (on the server). In this module, the same file name will be used for both local and remote if only one is specified. This means that transferring remote file /path/to/file will try to put that file in /path/to/file locally, unless you specify a local file name.

The protocol also defines several standard translations which the file can undergo during transfer. These are ASCII, EBCDIC, binary, and byte. ASCII is the default type, and indicates that the sender of files will translate the ends of lines to a standard representation which the receiver will then translate back into their local representation. EBCDIC indicates the file being transferred is in EBCDIC format. Binary (also known as image) format sends the data as a contiguous bit stream. Byte format transfers the data as bytes, the values of which remain the same regardless of differences in byte size between the two machines (in theory - in practice you should only use this if you really know what you're doing).


This is the constructor for a new Net::FTP object. HOST is the name of the remote host to which an FTP connection is required.

OPTIONS are passed in a hash like fashion, using key and value pairs. Possible options are:

Firewall - The name of a machine which acts as an FTP firewall. This can be overridden by an environment variable FTP_FIREWALL. If specified, and the given host cannot be directly connected to, then the connection is made to the firewall machine and the string @hostname is appended to the login identifier. This kind of setup is also refered to as an ftp proxy.

FirewallType - The type of firewall running on the machine indicated by Firewall. This can be overridden by an environment variable FTP_FIREWALL_TYPE. For a list of permissible types, see the description of ftp_firewall_type in the Net::Config manpage.

BlockSize - This is the block size that Net::FTP will use when doing transfers. (defaults to 10240)

Port - The port number to connect to on the remote machine for the FTP connection

Timeout - Set a timeout value (defaults to 120)

Debug - debug level (see the debug method in the Net::Cmd manpage)

Passive - If set to a non-zero value then all data transfers will be done using passive mode. This is not usually required except for some dumb servers, and some firewall configurations. This can also be set by the environment variable FTP_PASSIVE.

Hash - If given a reference to a file handle (e.g., \*STDERR), print hash marks (#) on that filehandle every 1024 bytes. This simply invokes the hash() method for you, so that hash marks are displayed for all transfers. You can, of course, call hash() explicitly whenever you'd like.

If the constructor fails undef will be returned and an error message will be in $@


Unless otherwise stated all methods return either a true or false value, with true meaning that the operation was a success. When a method states that it returns a value, failure will be returned as undef or an empty list.

login ([LOGIN [,PASSWORD [, ACCOUNT] ] ])
Log into the remote FTP server with the given login information. If no arguments are given then the Net::FTP uses the Net::Netrc package to lookup the login information for the connected host. If no information is found then a login of anonymous is used. If no password is given and the login is anonymous then anonymous@ will be used for password.

If the connection is via a firewall then the authorize method will be called with no arguments.

authorize ( [AUTH [, RESP]])
This is a protocol used by some firewall ftp proxies. It is used to authorise the user to send data out. If both arguments are not specified then authorize uses Net::Netrc to do a lookup.

site (ARGS)
Send a SITE command to the remote server and wait for a response.

Returns most significant digit of the response code.

type (TYPE [, ARGS])
This method will send the TYPE command to the remote FTP server to change the type of data transfer. The return value is the previous value.

ascii ([ARGS]) binary([ARGS]) ebcdic([ARGS]) byte([ARGS])
Synonyms for type with the first arguments set correctly

NOTE ebcdic and byte are not fully supported.

Rename a file on the remote FTP server from OLDNAME to NEWNAME. This is done by sending the RNFR and RNTO commands.

delete ( FILENAME )
Send a request to the server to delete FILENAME.

cwd ( [ DIR ] )
Attempt to change directory to the directory given in $dir. If $dir is "..", the FTP CDUP command is used to attempt to move up one directory. If no directory is given then an attempt is made to change the directory to the root directory.

cdup ()
Change directory to the parent of the current directory.

pwd ()
Returns the full pathname of the current directory.

restart ( WHERE )
Set the byte offset at which to begin the next data transfer. Net::FTP simply records this value and uses it when during the next data transfer. For this reason this method will not return an error, but setting it may cause a subsequent data transfer to fail.

rmdir ( DIR )
Remove the directory with the name DIR.

mkdir ( DIR [, RECURSE ])
Create a new directory with the name DIR. If RECURSE is true then mkdir will attempt to create all the directories in the given path.

Returns the full pathname to the new directory.

ls ( [ DIR ] )
Get a directory listing of DIR, or the current directory.

In an array context, returns a list of lines returned from the server. In a scalar context, returns a reference to a list.

dir ( [ DIR ] )
Get a directory listing of DIR, or the current directory in long format.

In an array context, returns a list of lines returned from the server. In a scalar context, returns a reference to a list.

Get REMOTE_FILE from the server and store locally. LOCAL_FILE may be a filename or a filehandle. If not specified, the file will be stored in the current directory with the same leafname as the remote file.

If WHERE is given then the first WHERE bytes of the file will not be transfered, and the remaining bytes will be appended to the local file if it already exists.

Returns LOCAL_FILE, or the generated local file name if LOCAL_FILE is not given. If an error was encountered undef is returned.

Put a file on the remote server. LOCAL_FILE may be a name or a filehandle. If LOCAL_FILE is a filehandle then REMOTE_FILE must be specified. If REMOTE_FILE is not specified then the file will be stored in the current directory with the same leafname as LOCAL_FILE.

Returns REMOTE_FILE, or the generated remote filename if REMOTE_FILE is not given.

NOTE: If for some reason the transfer does not complete and an error is returned then the contents that had been transfered will not be remove automatically.

put_unique ( LOCAL_FILE [, REMOTE_FILE ] )
Same as put but uses the STOU command.

Returns the name of the file on the server.

append ( LOCAL_FILE [, REMOTE_FILE ] )
Same as put but appends to the file on the remote server.

Returns REMOTE_FILE, or the generated remote filename if REMOTE_FILE is not given.

unique_name ()
Returns the name of the last file stored on the server using the STOU command.

mdtm ( FILE )
Returns the modification time of the given file

size ( FILE )
Returns the size in bytes for the given file as stored on the remote server.

NOTE: The size reported is the size of the stored file on the remote server. If the file is subsequently transfered from the server in ASCII mode and the remote server and local machine have different ideas about ``End Of Line'' then the size of file on the local machine after transfer may be different.

supported ( CMD )
Returns TRUE if the remote server supports the given command.

Called without parameters, or with the first argument false, hash marks are suppressed. If the first argument is true but not a reference to a file handle glob, then \*STDERR is used. The second argument is the number of bytes per hash mark printed, and defaults to 1024. In all cases the return value is a reference to an array of two: the filehandle glob reference and the bytes per hash mark.

The following methods can return different results depending on how they are called. If the user explicitly calls either of the pasv or port methods then these methods will return a true or false value. If the user does not call either of these methods then the result will be a reference to a Net::FTP::dataconn based object.

nlst ( [ DIR ] )
Send an NLST command to the server, with an optional parameter.

list ( [ DIR ] )
Same as nlst but using the LIST command

retr ( FILE )
Begin the retrieval of a file called FILE from the remote server.

stor ( FILE )
Tell the server that you wish to store a file. FILE is the name of the new file that should be created.

stou ( FILE )
Same as stor but using the STOU command. The name of the unique file which was created on the server will be available via the unique_name method after the data connection has been closed.

appe ( FILE )
Tell the server that we want to append some data to the end of a file called FILE. If this file does not exist then create it.

If for some reason you want to have complete control over the data connection, this includes generating it and calling the response method when required, then the user can use these methods to do so.

However calling these methods only affects the use of the methods above that can return a data connection. They have no effect on methods get, put, put_unique and those that do not require data connections.

port ( [ PORT ] )
Send a PORT command to the server. If PORT is specified then it is sent to the server. If not, then a listen socket is created and the correct information sent to the server.

pasv ()
Tell the server to go into passive mode. Returns the text that represents the port on which the server is listening, this text is in a suitable form to sent to another ftp server using the port method.

The following methods can be used to transfer files between two remote servers, providing that these two servers can connect directly to each other.

pasv_xfer ( SRC_FILE, DEST_SERVER [, DEST_FILE ] )
This method will do a file transfer between two remote ftp servers. If DEST_FILE is omitted then the leaf name of SRC_FILE will be used.

pasv_xfer_unique ( SRC_FILE, DEST_SERVER [, DEST_FILE ] )
Like pasv_xfer but the file is stored on the remote server using the STOU command.

pasv_wait ( NON_PASV_SERVER )
This method can be used to wait for a transfer to complete between a passive server and a non-passive server. The method should be called on the passive server with the Net::FTP object for the non-passive server passed as an argument.

abort ()
Abort the current data transfer.

quit ()
Send the QUIT command to the remote FTP server and close the socket connection.

Methods for the adventurous

Net::FTP inherits from Net::Cmd so methods defined in Net::Cmd may be used to send commands to the remote FTP server.

quot (CMD [,ARGS])
Send a command, that Net::FTP does not directly support, to the remote server and wait for a response.

Returns most significant digit of the response code.

WARNING This call should only be used on commands that do not require data connections. Misuse of this method can hang the connection.

THE dataconn CLASS

Some of the methods defined in Net::FTP return an object which will be derived from this class.The dataconn class itself is derived from the IO::Socket::INET class, so any normal IO operations can be performed. However the following methods are defined in the dataconn class and IO should be performed using these.

read ( BUFFER, SIZE [, TIMEOUT ] )
Read SIZE bytes of data from the server and place it into BUFFER, also performing any <CRLF> translation necessary. TIMEOUT is optional, if not given, the timeout value from the command connection will be used.

Returns the number of bytes read before any <CRLF> translation.

write ( BUFFER, SIZE [, TIMEOUT ] )
Write SIZE bytes of data from BUFFER to the server, also performing any <CRLF> translation necessary. TIMEOUT is optional, if not given, the timeout value from the command connection will be used.

Returns the number of bytes written before any <CRLF> translation.

bytes_read ()
Returns the number of bytes read so far.

abort ()
Abort the current data transfer.

close ()
Close the data connection and get a response from the FTP server. Returns true if the connection was closed successfully and the first digit of the response from the server was a '2'.


The following RFC959 commands have not been implemented:

Allocates storage for the file to be transferred.

Mount a different file system structure without changing login or accounting information.

Ask the server for ``helpful information'' (that's what the RFC says) on the commands it accepts.

Specifies transfer mode (stream, block or compressed) for file to be transferred.

Request remote server system identification.

Request remote server status.

Specifies file structure for file to be transferred.

Reinitialize the connection, flushing all I/O and account information.


When reporting bugs/problems please include as much information as possible. It may be difficult for me to reproduce the problem as almost every setup is different.

A small script which yields the problem will probably be of help. It would also be useful if this script was run with the extra options Debug = 1> passed to the constructor, and the output sent with the bug report. If you cannot include a small script then please include a Debug trace from a run of your program which does yield the problem.


Graham Barr <>


the Net::Netrc manpage the Net::Cmd manpage

ftp(1), ftpd(8), RFC 959


For an example of the use of Net::FTP see
autoftp is a program that can retrieve, send, or list files via the FTP protocol in a non-interactive manner.


Henry Gabryjelski <henryg@WPI.EDU> - for the suggestion of creating directories recursively.

Nathan Torkington <> - for some input on the documentation.

Roderick Schertler <> - for various inputs


Copyright (c) 1995-1998 Graham Barr. All rights reserved. This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

$Id: //depot/libnet/Net/ $