This guide contains simplified description of automating operations on FTP/SFTP server with WinSCP. You may want to see detailed documentation of the scripting functionality instead.
WinSCP offers scripting interface that you can use to automate many operations that it supports, including file transfers, synchronization and other operations.
There is also WinSCP .NET assembly build on top of the scripting interface. If you plan to call WinSCP from your .NET code, or if your task requires conditional processing, loops or other control structures, you should better use the .NET assembly. This guide focuses on simple automation tasks using scripting interface only.
- Before Starting
- Script file
- Generating script
- Using script
- Modifying the script automatically
- Checking script results
- Further reading
Before starting you should:
To automate operation, you need to find out commands necessary to implement it. For simple operations you need at least to:
- Open session using
- Perform operation. For uploads use
putcommand. For downloads use
getcommand. For synchronization use
synchronizecommand. For other operations, see supported commands.
- Exit scripting using
For example a typical script to upload a file is:
/script command line option to pass the script to the WinSCP executable. Generally, you should also use
/ini=nul switch to isolate the script execution from GUI configuration. You can embed the complete command line into a Windows batch file (
.bat), like as follows:
@echo off winscp.com /ini=nul /script=myscript.txt
You can have WinSCP generate a script template for you or even a complete batch file.
To generate a script for a file transfer:
- Connect in the GUI.
- Select the files you want to transfer.
- Use one of the file transfer commands: Upload, Download, Upload and Delete, Download and Delete.
- On the transfer confirmation dialog, setup transfer options (if you need any non default settings).
- Use the Transfer Settings > Generate Code command.
- The Generate transfer code dialog will appear with the generated script or code template.
Now to make using script easier/automatic you can:
- Make shortcut to it on desktop to ease execution. Either make shortcut to batch file (
.bat) or enter full command line to shortcut itself.1
- If the wrapping batch file takes filename as command line parameter (see below) you can:
- Make shortcut to it on desktop and use it by dropping files on the icon. Windows automatically run the batch file and passes path to dropped file as command-line parameter.
- In a similar way you can put the shortcut to the batch file into Explorer’s ‘Send To’ context menu (
C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendToin Windows Vista and newer).
- Schedule automatic execution.
When connecting to SSH host, you will need to accept its host key.
When connecting to FTPS or WebDAVS host with certificate signed by untrusted authority you will need to verify the certificate.
You may want to modify the script automatically. For example you may want to operate it with different file each time.
For tasks involving more complex modifications, conditional processing, loops or other control structures, you should better use the WinSCP .NET assembly.
For simple modifications, you can pass the variable parts of the script from command line:
Execute the above script using syntax:
winscp.com /ini=nul /script=script.tmp /parameter // c:\myfile.txt
You can also use environment variables in the script.
Alternatively, you can generate new script file each time. To automate that, make a wrapper script file. For simple tasks you can use built-in Windows scripting functionality from batch file (
.bat). For complex tasks, you will need to use some scripting language, such JScript or VBScript from Windows script host or PHP or Perl.
Following example shows batch file that takes filename on command line and generates WinSCP script file to upload that file to remote server:
rem Generate temporary script to upload %1 echo open mysession >> script.tmp echo put %1 >> script.tmp echo exit >> script.tmp rem Execute script winscp.com /ini=nul /script=script.tmp rem Delete temporary script del script.tmp
Now you can run the batch file like (supposing you have saved it to file
See more hints on using parametrized batch file.
See guide to advanced scripting for examples of script generation using more powerful languages.
To check results of the script you can:
- Check exit code of WinSCP (exit code is the only relevant and reliable way to check if script completed successfully). See example below and FAQ.
- Save and inspect log file. XML log format is recommended. Use command-line parameter
- Save and inspect output of the script. Use output redirection.
Once you find out what was the result of the script, you can perform any action you like. E.g. after evaluating exit code of WinSCP, you can send a “success” or “error” email. For that use any command-line email client you like, e.g. sendmail2.
You should also make the batch file indicate a result in its exit code, particularly if it is called from some parent system (for example SSIS).
See an example batch file:
winscp.com /ini=nul /script=example.txt if %ERRORLEVEL% neq 0 goto error echo Success sendmail.exe -t < success_mail.txt exit /b 0 :error echo Error! sendmail.exe -t < error_mail.txt exit /b 1
A similar error handling is used in the batch file template that WinSCP can generate for you.
Where for example content of
success_mail.txt may be:
From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Success The files were uploaded successfully.
If you require checking results of each command individually, you should better use the WinSCP .NET assembly. Alternatively, see guide to advanced scripting for examples of checking script results (including XML log parsing) using more powerful languages and guide to interpreting XML log for advanced scripting using C# language.
See example in scripting documentation.
- Note that it is not possible to use
.comfiles in general) directly from a shortcut. Call
winscp.comfrom a batch file or use
- When installing sendmail, you can ignore all references to
c:\usr\lib) directories in its installation instructions, as you will be running
sendmail.exedirectly from a Windows batch file. Just place sendmail files to any convenient location, e.g. along with WinSCP.Back