Using scp to copy a file to Amazon EC2 instance?

2012-07-09 amazon-ec2 terminal copy scp public-key

I am trying to use my Mac Terminal to scp a file from Downloads (phpMyAdmin I downloaded online) to my Amazon EC2 instance.

The command I used was:

scp -i myAmazonKey.pem phpMyAdmin-3.4.5-all-languages.tar.gz  [email protected]:~/.

The error I got: Warning: Identity file myAmazonKey.pem not accessible: No such file or directory. Permission denied (publickey). lost connection

Both my myAmazonkey.pem and phpMyAdmin-3.4.5-all-languages.tar.gz are in Downloads, so then I tried

scp -i /Users/Hello_Kitty22/Downloads/myAmazonKey.pem /Users/Hello_Kitty22/Downloads/phpMyAdmin-3.4.5-all-languages.tar.gz  [email protected]:~/.

and the error I got: Warning: Identity file /User/Hello_Kitty22/Downloads/myAmazonkey.pem not accessible: No such file or directory. Permission denied (publickey). lost connection

Can anyone please tell me how to fix my problem?

p.s. there is a similar post: scp (secure copy) to ec2 instance without password but it doesn't answer my question.


Check the permissions on the .pem file...openssh usually doesn't like world-readable private keys, and will fail (iir, scp doesn't do a great job of providing this feedback to the user).

Can you simply ssh with that key to your AWS host?

You should be on you local machine to try the above scp command.

On your local machine try:

scp -i ~/Downloads/myAmazonKey.pem ~/Downloads/phpMyAdmin-3.4.5-all-languages.tar.gz  [email protected]:~/.

I would use:

scp -i "path to .pem file" "file to be copeide from local machine" [email protected]: 'destination folder to copy file on remote machine'

Try specifying the user to be ec2-user, e.g.

scp -i myAmazonKey.pem phpMyAdmin-3.4.5-all-languages.tar.gz [email protected]:~/.

See Connecting to Linux/UNIX Instances Using SSH.

second directory is your target destination, don't use server name there. In other words, you don't need to mention machine name for the machine you're currently in.

scp -i /path/to/your/.pemkey -r /copy/from/path [email protected]:/copy/to/path

-r if it's a directory.

Your key must not be publicly viewable for SSH to work. Use this command if needed:

chmod 400 yourPublicKeyFile.pem
scp -i ~/path to pem file/file.pem -r(for directory) /PATH OF LOCAL/localfile [email protected]:PATH OF SERVER/serverdirectory

First you should change the mode of .pem file from read and write mode to read only mode. This can be done just by a single command in terminal sudo chmod 400 your_public_key.pem

I had exactly same problem, my solution was to

scp -i /path/pem -r /path/file/ [email protected] aws dns name: (leave it blank here)

once you done this part, get into ssh server and mv file to desired location

I tried all the suggestions mentioned above and nothing worked. I terminated the current instance, launched another one and repeated the same exact process. This time no problems. Sometimes it might be the remote ami's fault.

The process of using SCP to copy files from a local machine to an AWS EC2 Linux instance is covered step-by-step (including the points mentioned below) in this video.

To correct this particular issue with using SCP:

  1. You need to specify the correct Linux user. From Amazon:

    • For Amazon Linux, the user name is ec2-user.
    • For RHEL, the user name is ec2-user or root.
    • For Ubuntu, the user name is ubuntu or root.
    • For Centos, the user name is centos.
    • For Fedora, the user name is ec2-user.
    • For SUSE, the user name is ec2-user or root.
    • Otherwise, if ec2-user and root don't work, check with your AMI provider.
  2. Your private key must not be publicly visible. Run the following command so that only the root user can read the file.

    chmod 400 /path/to/yourKeyFile.pem

Here are the details of what works for an EC2 instance:

scp -i /path/to/whatever.pem /users/me/path-to-file [email protected]:~

Few notes for beginning:

  1. Note the spaces between the three parameters given after the -i
  2. scp stands for secure copy protocol. Knowing the words makes it easier to remember the command.
  3. -i dictates that you need to give the .pem file as the next param. If there is no -i, than you do not need a .pem.
  4. Note the :~ at the end of the destination for the EC2 instance.

Below SCP format works for me

scp -i /path/my-key-pair.pem [email protected]:~/SampleFile.txt ~/SampleFile2.txt

SampleFile.txt: It will be the path from your root directory(In my case, /home/ubuntu). in my case the file which I wanted to download was at /var/www

SampleFile2.txt: It will be path of your machine's root path(In my case, /home/MyPCUserName)

So, I have to write below command

scp -i /path/my-key-pair.pem [email protected]:~/../../var/www/ ~/Downloads

Send file from Local to Server:

scp -i .ssh/awsinstance.pem my_local_file [email protected]:/home/ubuntu

Download file from Server to Local:

scp -i .ssh/awsinstance.pem [email protected]:/home/ubuntu/server_file .