i am trying to connect to my server to transfer file using scp:

$ scp -v -r -P <port> <user>@<host>:~/dir/ dir/

this is the output:

OpenSSH_5.2p1, OpenSSL 0.9.8r 8 Feb 2011
debug1: Reading configuration data /Users/joe/.ssh/config
debug1: Reading configuration data /etc/ssh_config
debug1: Connecting to <host> [<host>] port <port>.
debug1: Connection established.
debug1: identity file /Users/joe/.ssh/identity type -1
debug1: identity file /Users/joe/.ssh/id_rsa type -1
debug1: identity file /Users/joe/.ssh/id_dsa type -1
ssh_exchange_identification: Connection closed by remote host

but connecting via SSH works fine:

$ ssh <user>@<host> -p <port>
<user>@<host>'s password:


what can be wrong with this?

my /etc/ssh/sshd_config file on the host is:

# Package generated configuration file
# See the sshd_config(5) manpage for details

# What ports, IPs and protocols we listen for
Port <port>
# Use these options to restrict which interfaces/protocols sshd will bind to
#ListenAddress ::
Protocol 2
# HostKeys for protocol version 2
HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key
HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ecdsa_key
#Privilege Separation is turned on for security
UsePrivilegeSeparation yes

# Lifetime and size of ephemeral version 1 server key
KeyRegenerationInterval 3600
ServerKeyBits 768

# Logging
SyslogFacility AUTH
LogLevel INFO

# Authentication:
LoginGraceTime 120
PermitRootLogin yes
StrictModes yes

RSAAuthentication yes
PubkeyAuthentication no
#AuthorizedKeysFile %h/.ssh/authorized_keys

# Don't read the user's ~/.rhosts and ~/.shosts files
IgnoreRhosts yes
# For this to work you will also need host keys in /etc/ssh_known_hosts
RhostsRSAAuthentication no
# similar for protocol version 2
HostbasedAuthentication no
# Uncomment if you don't trust ~/.ssh/known_hosts for RhostsRSAAuthentication
#IgnoreUserKnownHosts yes

# To enable empty passwords, change to yes (NOT RECOMMENDED)
PermitEmptyPasswords no

# Change to yes to enable challenge-response passwords (beware issues with
# some PAM modules and threads)
ChallengeResponseAuthentication no

# Change to no to disable tunnelled clear text passwords
#PasswordAuthentication yes

# Kerberos options
#KerberosAuthentication no
#KerberosGetAFSToken no
#KerberosOrLocalPasswd yes
#KerberosTicketCleanup yes

# GSSAPI options
#GSSAPIAuthentication no
#GSSAPICleanupCredentials yes

X11Forwarding yes
X11DisplayOffset 10
PrintMotd no
PrintLastLog yes
TCPKeepAlive yes
#UseLogin no

#MaxStartups 10:30:60
#Banner /etc/issue.net

# Allow client to pass locale environment variables
AcceptEnv LANG LC_*

Subsystem sftp /usr/lib/openssh/sftp-server

# Set this to 'yes' to enable PAM authentication, account processing,
# and session processing. If this is enabled, PAM authentication will
# be allowed through the ChallengeResponseAuthentication and
# PasswordAuthentication.  Depending on your PAM configuration,
# PAM authentication via ChallengeResponseAuthentication may bypass
# the setting of "PermitRootLogin without-password".
# If you just want the PAM account and session checks to run without
# PAM authentication, then enable this but set PasswordAuthentication
# and ChallengeResponseAuthentication to 'no'.
UsePAM yes
  • Anything on the serverside logs, e.g., /var/log/messages or /var/log/auth.log or whatever your box puts sshd messages into? – cjc Nov 12 '12 at 15:57

I've had similar issues on minimal install machines, the problem in my case was that the openssh-server package was installed but not the openssh-clients package. the server package has ssh in but you need the clients package for scp sftp etc. Certainly for redhat in any case.

  • Yeah, scp executes scp -t on the remote side, so scp needs to be available there too. – Dennis Kaarsemaker Aug 24 '13 at 16:31

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