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Client Software

Aspera Connect
  • Somewhat confusingly, the web site states this is a browser plug-in, but the installer also installs binaries to ~/aspera/connect/bin, including ascp, that the client can use directly. This may make more sense for some downloads where downloading from the browser is clunky.
    • Is there a package from Aspera that just includes ascp?
    • Can you use wildcards with ascp?

There does not appear to be a man page at the command-line or a web page on the Aspera web site that describes how to use this command, but it does come with command-line help which you can access by typing the name of the binary by itself (i.e. ./ascp). Here's what is output for my version:


Downloading data from NCBI

The NCBI consortium has recently started promoting using ASPERA, a commercial software to significantly improve download speeds.

Using ASPERA to download data via the browser
  • Download and install the Aspera browser plugin software.
  • Log-in to your NCBI account and navigate to your 'Downloads' tab.
  • Click on the 'download' next to the dataset.
  • The Aspera download manager client(installed in step 1) will pop up and you can monitor your download progress.
Using ASPERA to download data via command line
  • Download and install the ASPERA command line utility ->
  • Set the $ASPERA_CONNECT_DIR environment in your .bashrc
  • Compile your bashrc
  • Log-in to your NCBI account and navigate to your 'Downloads' tab.
  • Click on the 'download' next to the dataset.
  • A new page will display the 'ascp' command. Copy and paste this in your job script
    Decrypting the data
  • Download the decrypt utility (the dbGAP website has versions for windows, mac and linux-x64).
  • On the Linux platform, type ./decrypt.bin for help instructions.
Downloading data from collaborator at

The ascp binary that comes with the Aspera Connect client software seems to work much like scp and similar command-line file transfer tools.

  • None