Permission denied when trying to send file over scp.

June 18, 2017 10.9k views
Networking Ubuntu

I followed the getting starter guides, etc, securing the server and such and now I need to deploy a release to the server and I'm using scp to do it but when it's connecting to the server I get asked for a password and when I use it it throws me an error saying "Permission denied, please try again." I can log in without trouble through ssh but can't send files over with scp. I don't know what password it is asking for or what I did wrong.

2 Answers


Are you using password-based authentication or SSH Keys to login to the server?

Are you using a PC or Mac (OS X / MacOS)?


If you're logging in from a Mac, then you'll need to specify the SSH Key when trying to transfer the files over.


scp -r -i /path/to/private_key /local/path/to/files root@

-r specifies recursive transfer, meaning all files and directories.

-i specifies the private key file using a direct path to its location.

/local/path/to/files is the local path to the files to transfer


Where root is the username of the user you're logging in as, is the IP of your Droplet, and the /path/on/droplet is where the files should be uploaded.


If you're not on a Mac, you can use PuTTy's pscp


Alternatively, you could simply use SFTP. You can login as root to transfer files, though you'd most likely need to set permissions on the files as you really don't want files and directories for your app to be owned by root unless it's absolutely required for one reason or another.

Thanks @brandonc5e9f760d021b8bf3c5, that's a good explanation, but I'm still not being successful. I'm using:
scp -r ./VOCdevkit paperspace@xxx.xx.xx.xx:/home/paperspace/fastai/courses/dl2
where ./VOCdevkit is a local directory that I want to copy to a remote server (paperspace).

Does /path/to/private_key refer the a private key on paperspace or on my local machine. Thanks!

Have another answer? Share your knowledge.