Using FTP and Aspera to download data


Why have I been provided a download account?

The dataset/s that you have requested are not yet availible to download using the Secure EGA Download client. As a result, the files have been added to a download account for you to access using FTP or Aspera. All files in your dwonload account are encrypted using either GnuPG (.gpg) or Bcrypt (.bfe) and will need to be decrypted using an encryption key.

What is the difference between FTP and Aspera?

FTP, or File Transfer Protocol, is a standard network protocol for exchanging files across the internet. Aspera is a faster alternative to FTP and provides greater user control enabling individual transfer rates and bandwidth sharing to be set.

How do I download using FTP?

All users may access their download accounts using FTP. See this this comparison of FTP software for a list of FTP clients.

Please check with your systems department to ensure that your firewall is able to access the IP address:

The following examples represent a non-exhaustive list of freely downloadable clients:

UNIX users - command line ftp or GUI FileZilla

Windows/MAC - GUI FileZilla

How do I use an FTP client to access my FTP account?

Using ftp to access ega-box-xx

$ ftp
$ ftp> login ega-box-xx
$ Password:
$ ftp -> ls $ drwxr-xr-x 10 ftp ftp 4096 Aug 27 2010 pub

Using FileZilla to access ega-box-xx

Start FileZilla and click on 'Site Manager' under the 'File' menu.

Click 'New Site' in the resulting pop-up window and complete the details under the 'General' tab only, as shown below (MAC version

Then click on ‘Connect’ to access your FTP account.

How do I download data using Aspera?

For more information on the security required for the data that you download please refer to your Data Access Agreement (DAA).

If downloading outside of your firewall, you may need to check that this activity does not conflict with the DAA; if in doubt pleas revert to using ftp.

Please note that currently Aspera does not support proxy authentication, if this proves to be an issue please try speaking to your systems department to solve the problem.

To start using Aspera you first need to download the transfer client, which can be found here.

This supplies the ascp command, which enables you to use the command line below to copy files or directories (SRC) to your favoured destination (DST):

ascp -QT -L- -l 1000M SRC DST

e.g. To download all data from ega-box-01 to your current directory:

ascp -QT -L- -l 1000M . .

(Ensure that the ascp.exe file, located Aspera\Aspera Connect\bin, is in the directory from which the command line is run)

Options for ascp:

  • -Q Enables the fair transfer policy, which ensures that the available bandwidth is shared amongst other traffic and transfers at a fair rate
  • -T Disables encryption for maximum throughput
  • -L Creates an error log
  • -k2 Enables fatal transfer restarts
  • -l Maximum bandwidth

How do I obtain an encryption key to decrypt files?

Keys can be obtained by contacting and are provided to access all files that you have been permitted to access.

Keys are delievered by two methods:

  1. Post (FREE) - Please provide postal address
  2. Courier - Please provide address and courier account number and we will arranage a courier on your behalf.