How to Download a File from an EC2 Instance to Your Local Computer

In the world of data science, working with Amazon’s EC2 instances is a common occurrence. However, transferring files between your local computer and an EC2 instance can sometimes be a challenge. This blog post will guide you through the process of downloading a file from an EC2 instance to your local computer, ensuring you can easily access your data whenever you need it.


Before we dive in, make sure you have the following:

  • An active AWS account
  • An EC2 instance running
  • SSH access to your EC2 instance
  • The AWS CLI installed on your local machine

Step 1: Connect to Your EC2 Instance

First, you need to connect to your EC2 instance. Open your terminal and use the following command:

ssh -i /path/my-key-pair.pem my-instance-user-name@my-instance-public-dns-name

Replace /path/my-key-pair.pem with the path to your private key file, my-instance-user-name with your instance username, and my-instance-public-dns-name with your instance’s public DNS.

Step 2: Locate the File

Once you’re connected, navigate to the directory containing the file you want to download. Use the ls command to list the files in the current directory and the cd command to change directories.

cd /path/to/directory

Step 3: Exit the EC2 Instance

After locating the file, exit the EC2 instance by typing exit in the terminal.


Step 4: Download the File

Now, you’re ready to download the file. Use the scp command to securely copy the file from your EC2 instance to your local machine.

scp -i /path/my-key-pair.pem my-instance-user-name@my-instance-public-dns-name:/path/to/file /local/path

Replace /path/my-key-pair.pem with the path to your private key file, my-instance-user-name with your instance username, my-instance-public-dns-name with your instance’s public DNS, /path/to/file with the path to the file on your EC2 instance, and /local/path with the path on your local machine where you want to download the file.

Step 5: Verify the Download

Finally, verify that the file has been downloaded successfully. Navigate to the local directory where you downloaded the file and list the files in that directory.

cd /local/path

You should see the file you downloaded from your EC2 instance.


Downloading a file from an EC2 instance to your local computer doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following these steps, you can easily transfer files between your local machine and your EC2 instances, making your data science work more efficient and streamlined.

Remember, when working with AWS, always ensure your instances and files are secure. Only download files you trust and always use secure methods like scp for file transfers.

If you found this guide helpful, share it with your fellow data scientists. And stay tuned for more practical guides on navigating the world of data science.

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