FTP

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Overview

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a protocol for you to move data from one computer to another. It is commonly used to transfer website data from your local computer to the remote server. This allows you to develop a website locally and then upload it to the remote server to be published to your domain.

FTP Security

Unfortunately, FTP is not considered a "secure" protocol. This means that incoming/outgoing data is unencrypted and in plain text. Because the data is unencrypted, an exceptionally sneaky person could eavesdrop on what you're sending. When you add a new user in your panel (only while editing or adding a domain), it defaults to SFTP and FTP will be disallowed. You still have the option to uncheck the box 'Disallow FTP?' for the newly created user if you require an FTP connection instead of an encrypted SFTP connection.

You can do that on the (Panel > ‘Users’ > ‘Manage Users’) page by editing the user :

01 FTP User.fw.png

If you have a VPS, you can completely disable FTP to further secure your server.

How to obtain your FTP Login Credentials

You will need the following information to log into your FTP account:

  • Server/Host name
  • FTP Username
  • FTP Password
  • FTP Port

The following sections will explain how to obtain each.

Finding your FTP server hostname

If your domain's DNS is setup to point to your hosting here at DreamHost, then you may use your domain's name as the FTP hostname. For example, if your website is named 'http://www.example.com' just use example.com

Note2 icon.png Note: Do not add http://www in front of the domain as that may cause it not to connect.


If you don't have a domain setup quite yet, you may also use the server's hostname. To find out what server you are on, log into the DreamHost web panel and navigate to (Panel > ‘Billing & Account’ > ‘Manage Account’).

Scroll down to the section titled 'Domains Hosted'. There you will see your domain name. To the right, you will see your user and the server on which it’s setup:

02 ServerName.fw.png

In the above example, the server is named ‘horsetail’. So in this example you could use the hostname horsetail.dreamhost.com to login.

Locating the correct FTP user

You can find the FTP username that is attached to your domain's hosting in the panel. Just login and navigate to (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’):

Once there, you’ll see the username to the right of the domain under the ‘Web Hosting’ column:

01 Domains Control Panel.fw.png

Resetting your FTP user's password

If you don't know your user's password, you can change it in the Panel. Log into the Panel and navigate to (Panel > ‘Users’ > ‘Manage Users’):

  • Click the Edit button to the right of your username to edit it. The following page opens:
06 Edit Password.fw.png
  • On this page, you can change the password. Update it and then click the Save Changes button at the bottom.
Note2 icon.png Note: After you’ve changed your password, please allow up to 20 minutes for it to update in the DreamHost system.


Choosing the FTP port

To connect, use the following port number setting for your type of user :

FTP user 
connect with port number 21.
SFTP or SHELL user 
connect with port number 22.

You can check if your user is an FTP/SFTP/SHELL user in your panel at (Panel > ‘Users’ > ‘Manage Users’).

FTP Client Software

All operating systems come with a built-in FTP client that runs from a command prompt, using the command ftp.

You might want to check out the following Wikipedia links for more information:

There are also other fully-featured FTP clients available for various operating systems that support some extra options.

Below is a list of some of these third-party clients.

Windows

Mac OS X

Unix/Linux

Web browser FTP support

If you're using the Firefox web browser, it includes an excellent FTP plug-in available called "FireFTP".

Additionally, all modern web browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and so on) include a built-in FTP support as well that will do in a pinch. However, you would only be able to download content through the browser.

DreamHost WebFTP support

You can also connect to your site via WebFTP. This isn't intended to be a fully functioning FTP client, but will suffice when you don't have one handy. Uploads are limited to 7MB, but you may find it very useful for features like easily moving files and editing live pages.

How do I show hidden files?

Configuring your FTP client to show hidden files is a process that differs significantly between each FTP client. Instructions for doing so using many popular FTP clients are found below:

Using FileZilla

  1. Click the Server tab at the top.
  2. Select Force showing hidden files.
    07 Filezilla.fw.png

Troubleshooting

Filezilla recently made the default encryption set to 'FTP over TLS if available'. As of June 2015 DreamHost does not support this option. So if you're attempting to log into your server using FTP and port 21 you may notice a login failure. To fix this, you must change the encryption type within Filezilla.

  1. In Filezilla, click the 'File' menu on the top left.
  2. From the dropdown select 'Site Manager'.
    Filezilla encryption settings.png
  3. In the left pane, click the button 'New Site' and add your website.
  4. In the right pane, add your login information.
  5. In the encryption dropdown, select 'Only use plain FTP (insecure).
  6. Save your changes and you will now be able to log into your server with an insecure FTP connection.

View the following forum post for further details:

https://forum.filezilla-project.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=34842

Using CuteFTP 9.0

  1. Right-click within the server side window.
  2. Select the Filter… option
  3. Under Server side filtering select the Enable server side filtering (server applies filters) check box.
  4. Type -al in the Remote filter field box.
  5. Click Apply.
    08 CuteFTP.fw.png

Using FireFtp

Please see instructions here:


Using Fetch

  1. Upon opening Fetch, you will be presented with the following connection settings screen. Here is an example of connecting with a user named mywikiuser on the server charles-pickney:
    01 FTP Fetch Connection Info.png
  2. After you login, you'll see the content of your web server:
    02 FTP Fetch connected.png
  3. Enable hidden files by navigating to 'Fetch > 'Preferences':
    03 FTP Fetch preferences.png
  4. Select the 'Miscellanceous' tab.
    1. On this page make sure 'Omit hidden items whose names begin with a period' is UN-checked.
    2. Then check the box for 'Use 'LIST -al' command to reveal hidden items'.
    04 FTP Fetch preferences screen.png
  5. After making this change be sure to refresh your view by going to 'View > Refresh':
    05 FTP Fetch refresh view.png

Using Transmit

  1. When you open Transmit, to the right you'll see your connection settings. Below is a screenshot using an FTP user named 'mywikiuser' and a server named 'charles-pickney':
    FTP Transmit connection screen.png
  2. Once connected, you can enable hidden files by going to the menu at the top and selecting 'View > Show Invisible Files':
    FTP Transmit show hidden files.png

Using FTP Voyager

  1. Select the Site Profiles Manager option at the top left.
  2. Select Advanced Options on the window that comes up
  3. Select the Connection tab on the Site Profile Advanced Options window that opens.
  4. Under the General column, type the following next to the LIST Parameter field:
    -la
  5. Click OK.
09 VoyagerHidden.fw.png

Where do I put my files once I connect via FTP?

Once you’ve connected to your web server via FTP, you’ll most likely see two windows in your FTP client. The following example shows the main screen in FileZilla:

Click in the above image to view a larger image of the FileZilla main screen.
  • On the left, you’ll see your home computer. You must navigate to the folder on your computer where your files are stored.
  • On the right, you'll see your DreamHost web server.
  • You can see that the ‘Remote site’ is pointed at your users directory which is ‘/home/dhwikiuser’. (Please note that different clients may not refer to this as Remote site. The important thing is that you're in your user's directory.)
  • If you look at the window below that, you’ll see the files and folders within that directory.

In the example above, you would click into the directory named dhwiki.dreamhosters.com. Once it's open, you can right click files or folders in the left window (your computer) to upload to the right window (your server). Once you see the files and folders in the right window, you can confirm that they have been uploaded to the web server.

Note2 icon.png Note: A final note on the directory structure:
  • Your users's directory is where you'll see all of your user config files, Maildir, logs, and site folders.
  • You will never upload your content to this directory.
  • Always make sure you're in your site's directory when uploading site content. For example:
/user_directory
/logs
/Maildir
bashrc
bash_profile
/example.com


See Also