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Author image Graham Barr


Net::FTP - FTP Client class


    use Net::FTP;
    $ftp = Net::FTP->new("some.host.name");


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::SMTP object. HOST is the name of the remote host to which a FTP connection is required.

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

Firewall - The name of a machine which acts as a 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 firwall machine and the string @hostname is appended to the login identifier.

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 Net::Cmd)

Passive - If set to true then all data transfers will be done using passive mode. This is required for some dumb servers.


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, falure 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 the users Email address will be used for a 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.

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.

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.

Returns a reference to a list of lines returned from the server.

dir ( [ DIR ] )

Get a directory listing of DIR, or the current directory in long format.

Returns a reference to a list of lines returned from the server.


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

Returns LOCAL_FILE, or the generated local file name if LOCAL_FILE is not given.


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.

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.

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 a 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 avalaliable 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 the 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_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 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 the timeout value from the command connection will be used.

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

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 sucessfully 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 site parameters.


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.


Graham Barr <Graham.Barr@tiuk.ti.com>


Net::Netrc Net::Cmd

ftp(1), ftpd(8), RFC 959 http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/htbin/rfc/rfc959.html


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

Nathan Torkington <gnat@frii.com> - for some input on the documentation.


Copyright (c) 1995 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.