How to Download Data Files¶
Providing users with the ability to download submitted data for further analysis purposes is a key part of ENA’s mission. Files are therefore made available through a public FTP server. Here you can learn how this server is structured, and how to download read and analysis files.
The root address of the FTP server containing all read and analysis data is:
Meanwhile, assembled and annotated sequence data can be found at:
Any file you download from ENA will come from one of these two FTP servers. Their content and structures are described in detail at the below pages:
ENA provides numerous ways to access the data it hosts, suiting a range of use-cases and computational ability levels. These are described below, ranked from low to high, based on how much computational ability might be required:
- Using ENA Browser
- Using ENA File Downloader Command Line Tool
- Using ENA FTP Downloader GUI tool
- Using Globus
- Using enaBrowserTools
- Using wget
- Using FTP Client
- Using Aspera
- Common Issues
Most directories contain a ‘.md5’ file. You can calculate the MD5 value for a file you have downloaded and compare it with the relevant .md5 file to confirm it has been transferred in full.
Using ENA Browser¶
The ENA Browser is our website, from which you can get information about ENA, as well as accessing all the data we have public. Visit us here:
You can go to any accession by entering it into the ‘Enter accession’ box at the link above. If, for example, you see an ENA accession referenced in a paper, you can see the data for yourself in this way. Once there, you can download any associated files by clicking the relevant links. For more information on how to explore a record in ENA, please visit our guide on How to Explore an ENA Project
Using ENA File Downloader Command Line Tool¶
The ENA File Downloader is a new Java based command line application that you can download from GitHub. You can submit one or more comma separated accessions, or a file with accessions that you want to download data for. This tool allows downloading of read and analysis files, using FTP or Aspera. It has an easy to use interactive interface and can also create a script which can be run programatically or integrated with pipelines.
Download the latest version from ENA Tools.
Using ENA FTP Downloader GUI Tool¶
The ENA FTP Downloader is a Java GUI application you can download from GitHub. Given an accession, this program will present a list of associated read or analysis files you can download. Alternatively, you can provide a file report generated from our Advanced Search API (ENA Portal API) to perform a bulk download of all files for a given set of criteria. Learn more about these APIs from our guide on How to Access ENA Programmatically.
Globus provides a more user-friendly, feature-rich directory interface for interacting with the FTP server. Files can be downloaded through Globus ‘Shared EMBL-EBI public endpoint’ endpoint from the ‘/gridftp/ena’ subfolder:
Globus also provides a command line interface (CLI) which can be used without access to a graphical user interface environment. See here for details.
To infer the Globus path for a file from the ftp path, do the following:
Replace upto and including vol1 with /gridftp/ena
i.e. the above becomes:
enaBrowserTools is a set of Python-based utilities which can be found here. These are simple-to-run scripts which allow accession-based data download commands with the option to create more complex commands. Read more about this page in the enaBrowserTools Guide.
wget is a simple command line tool, ubiquitously available in Linux and Mac releases. A file can be downloaded with wget simply by specifying its location:
$ wget ftp://ftp.sra.ebi.ac.uk/vol1/fastq/ERR164/ERR164407/ERR164407.fastq.gz
curl -o ERR164407.fastq.gz ‘ftp://ftp.sra.ebi.ac.uk/vol1/fastq/ERR164/ERR164407/ERR164407.fastq.gz’
Downloading Private Files¶
If you want to use curl to download a non-public data file using datahub (dcc) authentication, provide the dcc username and password.
e.g. curl -u dcc_metagenome:password -o ERR9463971_2.fastq.gz ‘ftp://ftp.dcc-private.ebi.ac.uk/vol1/fastq/ERR946/001/ERR9463971/ERR9463971_2.fastq.gz’
Using FTP Client¶
Command-line FTP clients allow you to interactively explore the FTP server and download data to your local computer. When asked for a username, use ‘anonymous’. When asked for a password, press the enter key to skip this.
ftp ftp.sra.ebi.ac.uk Name: anonymous Password: ftp> cd vol1/fastq/ERR164/ERR164407 ftp> get ERR164407.fastq.gz
In the above example, the ‘cd’ command is used to ‘change directory’ to the required directory. Then, the ‘get’ command is used to specify the file of interest. At any time, you can use ‘ls’ to view the content of the current directory. The command ‘pwd’ can be used to identify what the current directory is.
Aspera ascp command line client can be downloaded from Aspera. Please select the correct version for your operating system. The ascp command line client is distributed as part of the Aspera connect high-performance transfer browser plug-in.
Public data download requires a public key authentication file. This is provided in the Aspera command line client download package as the ‘asperaweb_id_dsa.openssh’ file. The location of this file varies between platforms.
Following are some examples of how Aspera may be used to download ENA data:
Note: Please add -L- to your aspera command to print logs to the terminal. If you face any issues, please provide the logs with your helpdesk ticket.
e.g. ascp -QT -l 300m -P 33001 -L- -i path/to/a…
ascp -QT -l 300m -P 33001 -i path/to/aspera/installation/etc/asperaweb_id_dsa.openssh \ email@example.com:vol1/fastq/ERR164/ERR164407/ERR164407.fastq.gz \ local/target/directory
"%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Programs\Aspera\Aspera Connect\bin\ascp" ^ -QT -l 300m -P 33001 -i ^ "%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Programs\Aspera\Aspera Connect\etc\asperaweb_id_dsa.openssh" ^ firstname.lastname@example.org:vol1/fastq/ERR164/ERR164407/ERR164407.fastq.gz ^ local\target\directory
Downloading Private Files¶
e.g. If you want to use aspera to download a non-public data file using datahub (dcc) authentication, provide the dcc username instead of era-fasp and you will be prompted for the password.
ascp -QT -l 300m -P 33001 \ email@example.com:/vol1/fastq/ERR327/009/ERR3278169/ERR3278169_1.fastq.gz \ local/target/directory
Downloading Assembled and Annotated Sequence Data¶
Files in public FTP folders can also be downloaded using Aspera.
e.g. a WGS sequence set like ftp://ftp.ebi.ac.uk/pub/databases/ena/wgs/public/wya/WYAA01.dat.gz
ascp -QT -l 300m -P 33001 -i path/to/aspera/installation/asperaweb_id_dsa.openssh / firstname.lastname@example.org:databases/ena/wgs/public/wya/WYAA01.dat.gz local/target/directory
Downloading a large number of records¶
If your search criteria is returning a large number of records (e.g.millions) then please consider using a non-browser client (like wget or curl). NOTE: You need to include the additional parameter “limit=0” to obtain ALL matching records, as the default limit is 100,000.
Slow FTP downloads¶
Sometimes you may experience slowness or incomplete files when downloading from our FTP servers due to high load or ongoing maintenance. If the issue persists, please report it at here <https://www.ebi.ac.uk/ena/browser/support>. You could also use other download methods such as Aspera or Globus, which might provide better performance than FTP.
Deprecation of FTP support in web browsers¶
Most modern web browsers no longer support the FTP protocol. For this reason, on the ENA Browser links to files hosted on FTP are internally converted to http when clicked for enabling downloads. You can copy the download links from ENA Browser and use them with non-browser clients (like wget or curl). If you still want to download using a web browser then please replace ftp:// with http:// in the URL. e.g. ftp://ftp.sra.ebi.ac.uk/vol1/fastq/ERR609/001/ERR6090701/ERR6090701_1.fastq.gz -> http://ftp.sra.ebi.ac.uk/vol1/fastq/ERR609/001/ERR6090701/ERR6090701_1.fastq.gz