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HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

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netrc: .netrc — login information for ftp, rexec, and rexec()


The .netrc file contains login and initialization information used by the ftp autologin process, by the rexec() library routine, and by the rexec command (see ftp(1), rexec(3N), and remsh(1)), respectively. This file is optional. It exists, if at all, in the user's home directory.

If the .netrc file contains password or account information for use other than for anonymous ftp, its owner must match the effective user ID of the current process. Its read, write, and execute mode bits for group and other must all be zero, and it must be readable by its owner. Otherwise, the file is ignored.

The file can contain the following tokens, separated by whitespace (spaces, tabs, or newlines) or commas (,). To include a comma as part of a token, enclose that token in quotation marks (" ).

machine name

Identify a remote machine name. The autologin process searches the .netrc file for a machine token that matches the remote machine specified on the ftp command line, as an ftp open command argument, or as the *ahost parameter of rexec(). Once a match is made, the subsequent .netrc tokens are processed, stopping when the end-of-file is reached or another machine token or a default token is encountered.

If the remote machine name has an alias host name, and both the official host name and the alias are present in the .netrc file, the ftp client gives precedence to the official host name over the alias when searching the .netrc file. If an alias is given as an entry to the ftp open command, and in the search from the top of the .netrc file to the bottom, the ftp client finds the alias host name before it finds the official host name, it will use the alias's entry. However, if it finds the official host name first, it will use the official entry even though the alias host name also exists in the .netrc file. So the high precedence given to the official host name requires placing the official host name entry last in the .netrc file for ftp when aliases exist.


Same as machine name except that default matches any name. There can be only one default token, and it must be after all machine tokens. This is normally used for ftp as follows:

default login anonymous password user@site

This provides automatic anonymous ftp login to machines not specified in .netrc. This can be overridden in ftp by using the -n flag to disable autologin.

login name

Identify a user on the remote machine. If this token is present, the ftp or rexec() autologin process initiates a login using the specified name. If this token matches the user name used by the rexec -l command option, or, by default, the local user name, rexec uses the password token, if present.

password string

Supply a password. If this token is present, the autologin process supplies the specified string, if the remote server requires a password as part of the login process. Note that if this token is present in the .netrc file for any user other than anonymous, ftp aborts the autologin process if the .netrc is readable by anyone other than the owner. Also note that the passwords in .netrc are not encrypted.

account string

Supply an additional account password for ftp login. If this token is present, the autologin process supplies the specified string if the remote server requires an additional account password, or the autologin process initiates an acct command if it does not.

macdef name

Define an ftp macro. This token is just like the ftp macdef command. A macro is defined with the specified name; its contents begin with the next .netrc line and continue until an empty line (consecutive newline characters) is encountered. If a macro named init is defined, it is automatically executed as the last step in the ftp autologin process.


The following is a valid entry for the host hpxdzg whose guest account has the password sesame:

machine hpxdzg login guest password sesame


It is a security risk to have unencrypted passwords in a file.


netrc was developed by the University of California, Berkeley.



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