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About python : Recursive-directory-download-with-Paramiko

Question Detail

I want to download a directory with unknown contents recursively via SSH and have been trying Paramiko. I have seen several examples how to upload directories but none that covers recursive download.

I can list all items in a directory but haven’t been able to find a way of knowing if the item is a file (to download) or a directory (to call recursively).

transport = paramiko.Transport((MY_IP, 22))
transport.connect(username=MY_NAME, password=MY_PASS)
sftp = paramiko.SFTPClient.from_transport(transport)

file_list = sftp.listdir(path='/home/MY_HOME_DIR')
    for item in file_list:
        # Here is an item name... but is it a file or directory?

So how do I know if an item is a file or if it is a directory?

Question Answer

from stat import S_ISDIR

def isdir(path):
    return S_ISDIR(sftp.stat(path).st_mode)
  except IOError:
    #Path does not exist, so by definition not a directory
    return False

…assuming sftp is an open Paramiko SFTP connection.

An old question, but a solution I came up with that works quite well, it’s a little bit sloppy (typecasting and slashes and all) – but it does work.

Note this uses fabric.api.local to make the directories in the destination.

def sftp_get_recursive(path, dest, sftp=sftp):
    item_list = sftp.listdir(path)
    dest = str(dest)

    if not os.path.isdir(dest):
        local("mkdir %s" % dest)

    for item in item_list:
        item = str(item)

        if is_directory(path + "/" + item, sftp):
            sftp_get_recursive(path + "/" + item, dest + "/" + item, sftp)
            sftp.get(path + "/" + item, dest + "/" + item)

Paramiko does not support recursive operations.

But it’s easy to implement:

import os
from stat import S_ISDIR, S_ISREG
def get_r_portable(sftp, remotedir, localdir):
    for entry in sftp.listdir_attr(remotedir):
        remotepath = remotedir + "/" + entry.filename
        localpath = os.path.join(localdir, entry.filename)
        mode = entry.st_mode
        if S_ISDIR(mode):
            except OSError:     
            get_r_portable(sftp, remotepath, localpath)
        elif S_ISREG(mode):
            sftp.get(remotepath, localpath)

You also can use pysftp. It’s a wrapper around Paramiko that has more Python-ish look and feel and supports recursive operations. See

  • pysftp.Connection.put_r()
  • pysftp.Connection.get_r()

Or see my answer to Python pysftp get_r from Linux works fine on Linux but not on Windows.

But pysftp seems to be an abandoned project, so you better stick with Paramiko.

A small update to Dan LaManna’s answer that works in 2021.

import paramiko
import os
from stat import S_ISDIR, S_ISREG    

def sftp_get_recursive(path, dest, sftp):
    item_list = sftp.listdir_attr(path)
    dest = str(dest)
    if not os.path.isdir(dest):
        os.makedirs(dest, exist_ok=True)
    for item in item_list:
        mode = item.st_mode
        if S_ISDIR(mode):
            sftp_get_recursive(path + "/" + item.filename, dest + "/" + item.filename, sftp)
            sftp.get(path + "/" + item.filename, dest + "/" + item.filename)

transport = paramiko.Transport((host, port))
transport.connect(username=username, password=password)
sftp = paramiko.SFTPClient.from_transport(transport)
sftp_get_recursive(remote_path, local_path, sftp)

You can use the stat() method of your sftp object:


stat() method among other attributes returns permissions. d (for example drwxrwxrwx) shows that it is directory.

As example:

dir = oct(sftp.stat(path).st_mode)
print dir[0:2]

output interpritation:
01 fifo
02 character special
04 directory
06 block special
10 regular file
12 symbolic link
14 socket

If u using Linux or Unix-like. U can use ‘file’ utility with popen.
Or simple u can use os.path.isdir() =)

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