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How to Connect Server via Secure FTP?

In order to make secure FTP connection to server, you need Secure FTP. Secure FTP is available in two protocols SFTP and FTPes.

SFTP, also known as Secure FTP or SSH file transfer protocol, is secured through ssh connection. The SSH is only available from Linux hosting service, such as Bluehost shared Linux hosting.

SSH or Secure Shell is a network protocol. SSH was designed to replace telnet and other insecure means of connecting to Linux/Unix computers.

Different versions of SSH exist. The major versions are SSH1 and SSH2. Bluehost requires their customers to use the SSH2 protocol as it provides the most up to date protection and security.

SSH is most commonly used to setup secure connections to an SSH daemon running on a remote server. Common uses include securely transferring files, securely logging/remote administration of remote servers, and secure FTP.

For most shared hosting packages, SSH/Shell is not enabled by default. You must have SSH enabled in order to use sftp protocol. Due to security concern, not every web hosting providers will be able to offer this feature. For example, Bluehost require its users to verify their hosting purchases before they can enable SSH access in cPanel. Their Dedicated and VPS customers automatically have root SSH access though. Find more details about Bluehost managed VPS hosting.

FTPes refers to Explicit FTP over TLS/SSL. FTPes requires you to connect FTP server via secure hostname set up with valid SSL certificate. Unlike the SSH, FTPes can be configured on both windows and linux servers. Arvixe hosting has SSL installed for all servers and they can activate SSH access for every Linux hosting account with no extra fees.

How to Connect Server over SFTP in Filezilla?

to connect to your web hosting server over SFTP, you can use a professional FTP tool. In this tutorial, we will show you how to connect your web hosting server over SFTP with Filezilla, the free FTP client. If you use other FTP agent, the configuration could differ slightly but mostly the same.

  • Open your cPanel >> SSH/Shell Access and generate new SSH key pair. Best secure FTP hosting providers, such as Bluehost and Arvixe support both SFTP and FTPes.
  • When you get the key for SSH, click on the private key link and save it in a document, you can use notepad, word, TextWrangler, etc.
  • Open Filezilla >> Click edit button >> select Settings >> Select SFTP from the left menu.
  • Click the Add keyfile…. button to upload the private key.
  • Confirm the prompt up notice by clicking the Yes button and type your password.
  • Filezilla will ask you to store the key in the putty format. Save it, you can use notepad, word or TextWrangler, like we did above.

Now connect to your server using the following login credentials:

  • FTP Server: sftp://securehostnamexxx.com (securehostnamexxx.com is your hosting account server address, see how you can find out server IP in cPanel)
  • FTP Username: yourcpanelusername(you can create extra FTP accounts in cPanel, but only your cPanel username and password have the SSH access. Also as we mentioned above, Dedicated and VPS customers should automatically have root SSH access so you can use the root and its password to connect server via SSH.)
  • FTP Password: yourcpanelpassword
  • FTP Port: 22 (22 is the default SSH port. Your hosting provider might have different configuration though. For example, Bluehost use port 2222 for shared hosting accounts, and 22 is the default for dedicated & VPS)

Since this is your first SSH connection, you will be prompted to store the server’s fingerprint. Click the OK button, optionally tick the option Always trust this host, add this key to cache. Now you have successfully established sftp connection to your server.

How to Connect Server over FTPes in Filezilla?

Run FileZilla on your computer, click on Site Manager, then fill in the following required information:

  • Host Name: securehostnamexxx.com (this is your server address, you should be able to find it out in cPanel. We have the linked article above to show you how to achieve it.)
  • Port Number: (leave blank)
  • Username: your cPanel username or username of other FTP account
  • Protocol: Require explicit FTP over TLS

Now click Connect button to establish FTP connection in the protection of SSL certificate.

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