Using FTP & Aspera to access a download account


Why have I been provided a download account?

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

*PLEASE NOTE: The download account 'ega-box-233' contains public and open access files and, as a result, the files are not encrypted.  You do NOT need to request encryption keys for files found within this download acount.


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?

If downloading outside of your firewall, you may need to check that this activity does not conflict with the Data Access Agreement; 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.

Aspera is a commercial file transfer protocol that may provide faster transfer speeds than ftp especially over longer distances.

Operating System: Windows XP / 2003 / Vista / 2008 / 7 / 8, Mac OS Intel 10.5 / 10.6 / 10.7 / 10.8 / Linux


Installing Aspera 

The Aspera ascp command line client can be downloaded here.  Please select *Aspera Connect*.

The ascp command line client is distributed as part of the aspera connect high-performance transfer browser plug-in and is free to use.

You don't have to register in order to download the Browser Plug-in and the download is free of charge.


The location of the 'ascp' program in the filesystem:

Mac: on the desktop go cd /Applications/Aspera\ there you'll see the command line utilities where you're going to use 'ascp'.

Windows: the downloaded files are a bit hidden. For instance in Windows 7 the ascp.exe is located in the users home directory in: AppData\Local\Programs\Aspera\Aspera Connect\bin\ascp.exe

Linux: should be in your user's home directory, cd /home/username/.aspera/connect/bin/ there you'll see the command line utilities where you're going to use 'ascp'.


Using ascp from the command line

Use the command line below to copy files or directories (SRC) to your favoured destination (DST):

./ascp -P33001 -O33001 -QT -L- -l 1000M<SRC> <DST>

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

./ascp -P33001 -O33001 -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

Check the command line transfer usage for more configuration details


 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.    

You are NOT required to request encryption keys for the download account 'ega-box-233' as the files  within this download account are NOT encrypted.

Keys are delievered by three 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.

3) Using a secondary email address.