FileZilla Setup

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FileZilla is a free, open source, cross-platform application that is used for, among other things, transferring files over the web. It supports FTP, SFTP, and FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS) protocols.

This page concentrates on using the SFTP protocol, which is the preferred method of transferring files.

Setup and configuration

Before you begin, you must download and install FileZilla.

Connecting to the server

To connect to your domain, you must use the appropriate FTP login credentials.

There are two ways to connect: quickly, and through creating a profile.


Sample connection details.

At the top of the screen, you will see four fields. Enter the following information, then click Quickconnect:

  • Host: Your domain name.
    • Note: Do not enter http://, ftp://, or any variation on those items; FileZilla will populate that when you connect.
  • Username: The FTP-enabled username.
  • Password: The password for this account.
  • Port: 22, to connect securely.

Can't connect to the server

If the remote server's user account is not configured to accept SFTP connections, you will get an error:


You must configure the user's account to accept SFTP connections, then try again.

"Unknown host key" dialog box

Once you make the connection, you'll see a dialog box like this:

Unknown Host Key

This is not an error. This message simply indicates that you have not connected to this server before. Check the box to accept the key and add it to your cache, then click OK.

Note: If you click OK without checking the box, you may see this dialog box again the next time you log in.

Getting to know your way around

This is what you'll see once you've been connected. You can basically use FileZilla just the same way you would any other FTP client software. It's just that things will look a little different and it's secure.

Screen shot #3

Drop & Drag to transfer directories & files

In the default configuration you'll see your local computers drives and directories on in the left pane and the directories and files on the remote server in the right pane. On the remote server side you'll notice that some of the directories have "?" (question marks) over them. That simply means that they have not been listed yet. Just double-click on them to list them. You'll see its contents (subdirectories and files) listed in the lower half of the pane.

Drop & Drag directories or files from one side to the other to initiate the transfer. It's that simple! You can also right-click (if your OS supports that) on directories and files to get other options.

NOTE: Double-clicking on a directory or file will cause it to be transferred to the other pane immediately (to whatever is the currently selected directory in the opposite pane).

NOTE: The lock icon in the lower right hand corner indicates that you're using an encrypted connection. You can click on that icon for more information.

Screen shot #4

Accessing the Site Manager

Click on the top left computer icon to open the Site Manager. You can use that to set up connection profiles to make connecting to remote servers quicker and easier. The following screen shots will guide you through the process.

NOTE: When logging into your account using SFTP you may notice some differences from what you would normally see when you logged in with a normal FTP client! This is true, things are a little different. DO NOT PANIC! Please see the NOTES section of the SFTP Wiki article for more information on this.

Screen shot #5

Using the Site Manager to set up a new connection profile

Click on the "New Site" button to get started.

Screen shot #6

The "General" tab

Give the profile a name by typing over the default "New site" that's already entered for you in text box on the left side of the screen.

Fill in the other parameters as indicated in the screen shot. Once you've finished with the "General" tab click on the "Advanced" tab to continue.

Screen shot #7

The "Advanced" tab

Set the "Servertype" to "Unix" (as all of our servers are Unix servers).

If you are NOT in the Pacific timezone (GMT-8) then you might want to also adjust the "Adjust server timezone offset" parameters as necessary. You can probably leave the other settings with the default values.

Once you've finished with the "Advanced" tab click on the "Transfer settings" tab to continue.

Screen shot #8

The "Transfer settings" tab

Set the "Maximum number of connection" to 4. You can probably leave the other settings with the default values. Once you've finished with the "Transfer settings" tab click on the "Charset" tab to continue.

Screen shot #9

The "Charset" tab

You can probably leave these settings with the default values. Once you've finished click on the "OK" to finish and save this new connection profile.

Screen shot #10

Using your connection profiles

Now that you've got at least one connection profile set up you can start using it.

Click on the drop-down arrow to the right of the computer icon at the top left corner of the screen. Your connection profiles will be displayed under your mouse. Select the one for the server you want to connect to by clicking on it. Viola' you'll be connected to that server shortly!

NOTE: I'd recommend that you mouse over the other icons below the menu bar to see what they do and check out all of the other menu options as well. Get to know all of the other features this program has to offer so you can use it to its fullest!

NOTE: You can also use FileZilla to connect to servers using the FTP protocol as well (port 21). However you should know that the FTP protocol passes data, usernames and passwords in PLAIN TEXT which is a terrible security risk! This is why we'd obviously recommend that you use SFTP (port 22) whenever possible because it is encrypted and therefore much more secure!

Screen shot #11

If you are trying to display hidden files (like .htaccess files) on the server, you would need to select Server then the force showing hidden files option and you will be able to delete or work with hidden files on the server.

External Sites