I have files and directories on an FTP server that I want to copy to another directory. I select them, and option-release to copy into another directory on the same FTP server. However, Transmit starts "Downloading dir/" for the files, instead of just copying them.

How can I get Transmit to only copy the files? I don't want to download them all to my local server first and then re-upload them, since they are large files and my internet connection gets charged per mb.

I'm using Transmit 4.

  • 1
    You might want to look into SSH access to your server.
    – Gerry
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 12:08

1 Answer 1


There is no copy command among the list of basic FTP commands. You have get (pull a file from remote to local) and put (push a file from local to remote) and that's it. If you want to make a copy of something on an FTP server you first have to download it and then upload it to the new location.

There might be FTP servers with extended command sets, but detecting this and writing the necessary special cases for these servers in to Transmit is likely more time consuming than it's worth.

I don't know of any graphical, remote file access tool that will do what you're asking for: execute the copy completely on the remote host instead of copying them down and then pushing them back up. It's really very rare that a remote file access protocol has a copy command like that.

For at-remote copying like that it's best to use a shell. As Gerry mentioned: ssh is the way to go here. With a remote shell, copy commands can be executed and run completely in the remote environment. Saving you bandwidth and potentially a lot of time.

If you'd like to see if your remote FTP server has an extended set of commands, try connecting to it using the command line ftp program:

> ftp user@hostname

And then running:

ftp> help

At the FTP prompt to see a list of commands the remote server supports. It may support an extended set of commands with copy being one among them.

  • That makes sense. It's killing me but I'm tasked to do this with shared hosting, no ssh access. I'll have to figure something else out.
    – element119
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 13:04
  • I've updated my answer to provide you with a way to assess if your remote FTP server supports a copy command.
    – Ian C.
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 13:27
  • 1
    You might want to try Duplicate and then Move within Transmit. That way you won't have to download/upload.
    – afragen
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 15:50
  • @afragen duplicate will still d/l and u/l if the remote FTP server doesn't support local duplication.
    – Ian C.
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 15:59
  • That sucks. It seems to work for me which I'd why I suggested it.
    – afragen
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 18:56

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