How to transfer data over the network with nc (netcat) command on Linux

The nc ( netcat ) command can be used to transfer arbitrary data over the network. It represents a quick way for Linux administrators to transfer data without the need for an additional data transfer services such as FTP, HTTP, SCP etc. This config will show you an example on how to transfer data between to network hosts. We will be transferring data myfile.txt file from a localhost to a destination host with an IP address

Destination host

The nc command first needs to be started on the network host to which we need to transfer data. We will instruct nc to listen for an incoming request on user defined port number and once the client request comes receive the desired data. Pick the port number of your choice to ensure that it is not blocked by firewall and it is accessible from the source host.

$ nc -l -p 7555 > myfile.txt

The above command instructs nc to keep listening on port 7555 until it receives a request. Once the request is obtained it will receive a transfer of myfile.txt file.

Source host

To receive the myfile.txt file we need to initiate data transfer request using the IP address ( eg. ) or hostname of the destination host and given port:

$ nc 7555 < myfile.txt



Ncat: Connection refused.

Check whether you have specified a correct port number on the source host. Furthermore, make sure that the port is accessible and is not blocked by the firewall:

$ nmap -p 7555

Starting Nmap 6.45 ( ) at 2015-03-28 09:25 AEDT
Nmap scan report for thebeast (
Host is up (0.00097s latency).
7555/tcp open  unknown

Lastly, make sure that nc is listening on destination host:

# netstat -ant | grep 7555
tcp        0      0  *               LISTEN