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Efficient Recursive Directory Download with Paramiko

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With the rise of remote work, transferring files securely has become a crucial part of daily operations for many organizations. If you are looking for an efficient way to download directories through SSH, you’ve come to the right place! Paramiko is a Python library that provides support for secure shell operations, making it an ideal choice for securely transferring files between two systems.

Recursive directory downloading can seem like a daunting task, but with Paramiko, it can be accomplished with ease. This library allows you to connect to a remote server via SSH, and navigate through its file system to locate the directories that you want to download.

Not only does Paramiko support recursive directory downloads, but it also allows you to control the number of concurrent downloads and the speed at which files are transferred. By utilizing threading and rate limiting, you can ensure that your download operation is not only efficient but also well-optimized.

If you’re looking to streamline your remote file transfer process, then this article on how to use Paramiko for efficient recursive directory downloads is a must-read. We’ll guide you through each step of the process and provide you with tips and tricks to master file transfers like a pro!

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“Recursive Directory Download With Paramiko?” ~ bbaz


Paramiko is a Python implementation of SSHv2. It provides an easy way to establish a secure ssh connection and execute remote commands. In this article, we will discuss how to use Paramiko to efficiently download a recursive directory from a remote server.

Traditional Download vs Paramiko Download

Traditionally, we can use tools like scp or sftp to download files from a remote server. However, if we need to download a recursive directory, the process can become very slow and inefficient. This is where Paramiko comes in. With its powerful APIs, we can write a script that downloads files recursively in a much more efficient way.

Table Comparison

Traditional Download Paramiko Download
Slow and inefficient for recursive directory download Efficient recursive directory download
Requires external tools like scp or sftp No external tools required
Can’t easily integrate with Python scripts Easy integration with Python scripts


To follow along with this tutorial, you will need:

  • A remote server with ssh access
  • Python
  • Paramiko library

The Code

Here is a sample code for downloading a recursive directory using Paramiko:

“`pythonimport paramikodef download_directory(remote_path, local_path): ssh_client = paramiko.SSHClient() ssh_client.set_missing_host_key_policy(paramiko.AutoAddPolicy()) ssh_client.connect(‘’, username=’username’, password=’password’) sftp_client = ssh_client.open_sftp() for remote_file in sftp_client.listdir(remote_path): remote_file_path = f{remote_path}/{remote_file} local_file_path = f{local_path}/{remote_file} try: sftp_client.stat(remote_file_path) download_directory(remote_file_path, local_file_path) except IOError: sftp_client.get(remote_file_path, local_file_path) sftp_client.close() ssh_client.close()download_directory(‘/remote/path’, ‘/local/path’)“`


Let’s go through the code step by step:

Establishing SSH Connection

The first step is to establish an ssh connection with the remote server. We create a new instance of the `SSHClient` class and set the missing host key policy to `AutoAddPolicy`. This setting automatically adds the server’s host key to our local known hosts file.

“`pythonssh_client = paramiko.SSHClient()ssh_client.set_missing_host_key_policy(paramiko.AutoAddPolicy())ssh_client.connect(‘’, username=’username’, password=’password’)“`

Connecting to SFTP

Next, we create an instance of the `SFTPClient` class using the `open_sftp()` method on the `ssh_client` object.

“`pythonsftp_client = ssh_client.open_sftp()“`

Traversing the Remote Path

We start traversing the contents of the remote path using a loop that goes through all files and folders present. For each file or folder, we get its name and form the full path on both the remote server and the local machine.

“`pythonfor remote_file in sftp_client.listdir(remote_path): remote_file_path = f{remote_path}/{remote_file} local_file_path = f{local_path}/{remote_file}“`

Checking if Directory

We check if the remote file is a folder using the `stat` method on the `sftp_client` object. If it is a folder, we call the same function recursively with the new paths. If it is not a folder (i.e., a file), we download it using the `get` method.

“`pythontry: sftp_client.stat(remote_file_path) download_directory(remote_file_path, local_file_path)except IOError: sftp_client.get(remote_file_path, local_file_path)“`

Closing Connections

Finally, we close the `sftp_client` and `ssh_client` objects.


Opinion on Efficiency

Compared to traditional methods like scp or sftp, using Paramiko for recursive directory downloads is much more efficient. The performance gain comes from the fact that we are using native Python APIs instead of calling external tools. Additionally, Paramiko’s APIs are optimized for network transfer, which results in even faster transfers.


In this article, we discussed how to use Paramiko to efficiently download a recursive directory from a remote server. We created a sample code that demonstrates the necessary steps to establish an ssh connection, execute an SFTP session, traverse the remote path, and download files. We also compared traditional download methods with Paramiko and discussed why the latter is more efficient.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this article about efficient recursive directory download with Paramiko. We hope that this article has been informative and helpful in your quest for better downloads.

By using Paramiko, you can enjoy a more streamlined and efficient download process. With its ability to recursively download directories, you won’t have to worry about missing any important files or folders when transferring files.

With this tool at your disposal, you can easily download multiple files and folders with just a few commands. As a result, you can save time and effort when transferring large volumes of data.

We hope that with the help of this article, you can now take advantage of the many benefits that Paramiko has to offer. Thank you again for visiting, and we wish you all the best in your future downloads!

People also ask about Efficient Recursive Directory Download with Paramiko:

  1. What is Paramiko?
  2. Paramiko is a Python library that allows for secure encrypted communication between two machines. It is commonly used in SSH and SFTP connections.

  3. Can Paramiko download directories recursively?
  4. Yes, Paramiko has the ability to recursively download directories with the use of the SFTPClient’s get method.

  5. How can I efficiently download a large directory with Paramiko?
  6. One efficient way to download a large directory with Paramiko is to use a recursive function to traverse the directory tree and download each file individually. This allows for better memory management as only one file is downloaded at a time. Additionally, using multi-threading or multiprocessing can further improve the efficiency of the download process.

  7. What is the advantage of using Paramiko over other SFTP libraries?
  8. Paramiko offers robust security features such as encryption and authentication, making it a secure option for transferring files. It also has a simple and easy-to-use interface, making it ideal for beginners.