Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Information Systems
Using Command-line FTP to Transfer Files To and From MBARI

This page describes how to access MBARI's FTP server to upload or retrieve files using a text-based command-line FTP client. Instructions on using other types of clients may be found here.

MBARI staff members access the FTP server in a different manner, and should consult instructions for MBARI staff on the internal IS web site.

Obtaining text-based FTP Client Software

Text-based (command-line) FTP client tools are included with practically every operating system, so your computer should already have it available for use.

Connecting to the FTP Server with a Text Based FTP Client

  • Begin by opening a command prompt, terminal window, or shell, depending on your system.
  • Type the command "ftp" to connect to MBARI's FTP server.
  • When prompted for a user id, enter either the word anonymous or the word ftp.
  • The system will respond with the string "331 Guest login ok, send your complete e-mail address as password."
  • Enter your full email address - for example
  • The system will respond with some text similar to the following:

230-You are user #1 of 20 simultaneous users allowed.
230- Welcome to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)
230- This FTP server is provided to further MBARI's research goals.
230- Any other use is strictly prohibited. Placing files on this server
230- or retrieving files from this server indicates that you understand
230- and agree to this acceptable use policy. Please note that all
230- traffic is monitored and logged.
230- Anonymous users may only upload files into the incoming
230- directory and retrieve files from the pub directory.
230- Questions regarding this site can be sent to
230 Logged in anonymously.

Uploading Files to the FTP Server

PLEASE NOTE: The /incoming directory is the ONLY place that files may be put using anonymous ftp.

  • Type the command "cd /incoming". The system will respond '250 "/incoming" is new cwd.'
  • Use the ftp commands "put" or "mput" to place the files in the /incoming directory. (Mput allows you to put multiple files on the same command line.) For example, "put myfile" will upload the file "myfile" to the FTP server.

Downloading Files from the FTP Server

  • Type the command "cd /pub" (unless your MBARI contact directs you to another directory). The system will respond '250 "/pub" is new cwd.' (NOTE: Additional directories may have been created below the /pub directory level. You may have to "cd" to the appropriate subdirectory.)
  • The "ls" command will list the files and directories.
  • Use the ftp commands "get" or "mget" to retrieve files. For example, "get bigfile" will download the file "bigfile" from the FTP server to your computer.

Disconnecting from the FTP server

  • Type the ftp command "quit". The server will respond "221 Goodbye."

Last updated: Feb. 05, 2009