Edit Remote Files in Vim via SCP

November 24, 2011

One of the many neat features of VIM is support for remote editing. The Vim command is simply:

:edit scp://username@hostname/directory/path/starting/in/home

If the scp:// protocol wasn’t already a give away, VIM uses secure copy scp to edit remote files. This means many of the same tricks used with scp on the command-line can be used inside the Vim command.

Instead of typing in a password every time, use ssh private/public keys and ssh-agent. Or utilize aliases and settings defined in ssh configuration files (~/.ssh/config).

So a quick edit of the hosts file on a remote server named tux is as simple as:

:e scp://tux//etc/hosts

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