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What is FTP/SFTP?

  • Applies to: Grid
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Time: 15
    • Tools needed: None
  • Applies to: DV
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Time: 15
    • Tools needed: None
  • Applies to: DV 4.0
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Time: 15
    • Tools needed: None
  • Applies to: Managed WordPress
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Time: 15
    • Tools needed: None
  • Applies to: Shared Hosting
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Time: 15
    • Tools needed: None

Overview

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. This is one of the most common ways to upload and download files from your server.

FTP allows you to access files on your server similarly to how you would navigate through the files on your local computer. While these tips may vary based on the particular FTP program that you use, in most cases, you can do the following:

  • Double-click on a folder to enter it.
  • Double-click on the special ".." folder to go back one level.
  • Double-click on a file to download it.
  • Drag-and-drop or double-click on files on your local computer to upload them to the server.
  • Right-click on files and folders to receive more options, such as the following.
    • Copy files
    • Move files
    • Rename files
    • Change file permissions
    • Delete files

SFTP is similar to FTP. SFTP stands for Secure File Transfer Protocol and is the encrypted version of FTP. SFTP is more secure and tends to be more reliable than FTP, so it is the recommended option where possible.

  • To use SFTP, your FTP program may include one of the following:
    • The option to use SFTP from a menu.
    • The ability to enter your server URL as sftp://example.com. Please replace example.com with your own domain name.
    • A field to enter Port 22
  • For the Grid: You must have SSH enabled for your Server Administrator.
  • For DV: You will want to enable SSH access through Plesk/cPanel.
  • For Shared Hosting: You must use the primary FTP user for SFTP.
  • For Managed WordPress: You must have SSH enabled for your FTP/SFTP user.

How to use FTP

  1. Open your favorite FTP client. If you don't have an FTP client already, we recommend FileZilla. However, you can feel free to look through other third-party FTP applications.
  2. Fill in your FTP connection setting:
    Hostname Server IP or domain name (example.com) Hostname Server IP or domain name (example.com) Access domain or domain name (example.com)
    Username FTP username Primary FTP / FTP username Server Administrator / FTP username FTP/SFTP username
    Password

    Your FTP password

    Port FTP: 21
    SFTP: 22
    Depending on your FTP client there may be fields for additional information. For most users the default settings should suffice. But feel free to check out the additional settings additional settings additional settings additional settings section below for more information.
  3. Connect to the server. You should now see files and folders on the server, and files and folders on your local computer.
  4. Navigate to the desired folder on your server.
  5. Upload or Download your desired files/folders. This can typically be done through drag & drop.
  6. You may need to wait a little while if you have a large upload.
  7. That's it! When your FTP client is done uploading and downloading files, you can close the connection.

Where is my FTP information?

For the Managed WordPress your FTP credentials can be found in the Account Center.

  1. Log into your Media Temple account.
  2. Click on the ADMIN button associated with your Managed Wordpress server.
    mpw-1.png
  3. Hover your cursor over your desired site slot. Then click Manage.
    mwp-2.png
  4. In the right-menu you should see your FTP hostname, credentials, and the option to enable SSH access.
    mwp-1.png

Additional Settings

Directory Path

Many FTP applications will ask you for a directory path or folder location. Typically, this will be used to display the appropriate folder on the server when you make a connection from your FTP client. Some FTP clients upload all your content automatically to the designated folder.

Passive Mode

Most FTP clients use passive mode by default, but some require you to set it manually. Specifically, FileZilla requires you to manually set the passive type for the connection.

Connection Limits

It's generally a good idea to limit your FTP client to 1-5 simultaneous connections.

Some FTP programs will automatically open multiple connections when navigating through directories, uploading multiple files, etc. In that case, you will need to adjust your FTP client settings to limit the number of simultaneous connections.

If you have multiple people working on the server from the same office, you may also reach the connection limit that way.

More Info

  • You can create additional FTP users with custom access levels. See Creating additional FTP/SFTP users for instructions.
  • While this is not recommended for uploading website files (you will run into permission problems), you can access higher-level folders on the server with the root user. Your username is root, the password is your root password, and you must use SFTP rather than FTP.
  • Browser FTP is neither supported nor recommended. Account Contacts can use the File Manager to work with server files from their browser.

    TIP:

    This is not guaranteed to work, but if you want to attempt browser FTP, you should use the following syntax in most browsers.

    ftp://user%25example.com:password@s00000.gridserver.com

    • ftp:// - This lets the browser know that you want to make an FTP connection.
    • user - This is the first part of the username. For the main serveradmin user, you can skip this part.
    • %25 - This is a URL code for the @ symbol. Again, for the main serveradmin user, you can skip this part.
    • example.com - This is the second part of the username, which should be one of your domain names on the server. For the serveradmin user, this will be your primary domain.
    • @ - The @ symbol separates the username from the server domain name
    • s00000.gridserver.com - This is your access domain that resolves to the server.
  • Browser FTP is not supported or recommended. Plesk provides a fairly advanced File Manager tool under each domain, which can be accessed from your browser.

    TIP:

    This is not guaranteed to work, but if you want to attempt browser FTP, you should use the following syntax in most browsers:

    ftp://user:password@example.com

    • ftp:// - This lets the browser know that you want to make an FTP connection.
    • user - This is the username.
    • @ - The @ symbol separates the username from the server domain name.
    • example.com - This is a domain name that resolves to the server.
  • For security reasons, the Grid does not support anonymous FTP. If you require anonymous FTP, you will have to migrate to a DV Server for this feature.
  • Anonymous FTP is not recommended as it presents a tremendous security risk to your server. However, it is possible to use for domains on an exclusive IP address.

Troubleshooting

  • There is no size limit for what you can upload via FTP or SFTP.There is no size limit for what you can upload via FTP or SFTP. However, with large uploads, it is possible that the connection could be dropped somewhere between you and the server. For this reason, it's good to use an FTP client with a resume feature, so you don't have to start over again with your upload. SFTP is more reliable than FTP for uploading large files.
  • On the Grid, the FTP connection times out automatically after 10 minutes of inactivity. If you were in the middle of an upload, you have a few options. You can do the following.
    • Connect again and resume.
    • Choose an FTP client that manually sends a Keep Alive signal to the server every few minutes.
    • Manually interact with the server every few minutes (by clicking on a folder, etc.).
  • Your FTP connection will time out automatically after a few minutes of inactivity. You can change this value by following the instructions here: How do I change the FTP session timeout on a DV server?
  • Some kinds of files are hidden by default. The .htaccess file is the most common type of file to experience this, because it's a system-level file that begins with a period. Most FTP clients have a setting that allows you to view hidden files and folders. You may need to restart the client after setting this.
  • You cannot upload files to the top folder level for your domain. Enter the httpdocs, httpdsdocs, or cgi-bin folder, and you will be able to use FTP normally. If you need to affect higher-level folders, you will need to use a root or sudo user. See this article to enable root access.
  • If your FTP timestamps are from the wrong time zone, you may need to correct the FTP time zone setting manually. See this article.
  • You may notice that you can't log in with a particular FTP user, even after changing the password in Plesk. One possible cause for this is addressed in this Parallels article.
  • The FTP service is called xinetd.
  • When you connect with SFTP, you may receive an error message like "host key has changed." This means that a change with your domain has recently occurred, so the "known hosts" file that your computer keeps is now incorrect. To reset the file, see SSH known hosts warning.
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