How to establish a SFTP connection to your hosting account with FileZilla

In this knowledge base article are listed the steps which should be completed in order to establish a SFTP connection to your hosting account with the FileZilla FTP client:

1. Open your cPanel -> SSH/Shell Access and generate new SSH key pair:

http://www.siteground.com/tutorials/ssh/ssh_cpanel.htm

2. After you have generated your SSH key pair click on the private key link at the bottom of the page corresponding to the key pair that you have just generated.

3. Copy the content of the text area, paste it in an empty file on your computer and save it (most FTP client requires .ppk format).

4. Open Filezilla, click the Filezilla button from the menu then select Settings.

5. Select SFTP from the left menu.

6. Click the Add keyfile... button and select the file that you have just created with the private key pasted inside.

7. You will be prompted to convert the file to a supported but unprotected format (no password), confirm it by clicking the Yes button and type your password.

8. Filezilla will ask you to store the key in the putty format. Save it somewhere on your computer.

9. Connect to your server using the following login credentials:

FTP Server: sftp://siteground_hostname.com (where siteground_hostname.com is the server where your hosting account resides and it might be checked from your UA -> Account Information or cPanel -> top left corner, next to Server Hostname. Also do not forget to add sftp:// before the server name)
FTP Username: yourcpanelusername
FTP Password: yourcpanelpassword
FTP Port: 18765 (the default SSH port for the Siteground's servers since SFTP is FTP over SSH)

During your first connection you will be prompted to store the server's fingerprint. Click the OK button to continue connecting and tick the "Always trust this host, add this key to cache" check box if you plan to connect to the same server again.

* Keep in mind that the username and the password for the connection to your hosting account via SFTP are the same as your cPanel's username and password and you can not connect with an FTP account that you have created via your cPanel -> FTP Accounts.

FTP is easy to set up and work with when you have the right host to support you. Check out what SiteGround’s FTP hosting offers and sign up for our services so you could rely on expert FTP assistance!

11 Comments

  1. Reply September 9, 2016 / 20:14 DougSiteGround Team

    I am on a Mac using YummFTP. Could not connect using SFTP using these instructions, and no other instructions are available. And I made several attempts to resolve this via chat support, phone support and a support ticket. Nobody seemed to know the answer, or they weren't in a hurry to resolve the issue. The SFTP instructions are lacking, and support had no quick answers.

    • Reply September 14, 2016 / 13:13 escalationsSiteGround Team

      If you are still experiencing troubles post a support ticket and explain what error you are getting. Our representatives will look into it.

  2. Reply November 2, 2016 / 23:00 Robert DallSiteGround Team

    I would Agree with Doug. I can't get the SFTP to work using Transmit by Panic.

    I had to call in and then tech didn't know about the program or how to use.

    There is more to FTP clients then just FileZilla.

    Also the instructions:
    "3. Copy the content of the text area, paste it in an empty file on your computer and save it."

    But save it as what?

  3. Reply November 3, 2016 / 00:19 Robert DallSiteGround Team

    The Transmit documentation is here:

    https://www.siteground.com/kb/load-ssh-key-transmit/

    I am not sure why Siteground isn't linking to it.

    • Reply November 4, 2016 / 09:36 Ivan StefanovSiteGround Team

      Thank you for the feedback, Robert. I've slightly altered the article to include the required information.

  4. Reply January 5, 2017 / 15:46 Steve BorschSiteGround Team

    Why in the world would you NOT enable private key downloading?

    The most difficult part of your instructions are "3. Copy the content of the text area, paste it in an empty file on your computer and save it (most FTP client requires .ppk format)." This is NOT easy and this is NOT straightforward and you could easily make this process simple by enabling private key downloading **already formatted**.

    • Reply January 6, 2017 / 12:34 escalationsSiteGround Team

      This is a cPanel functionality(the SSH plugin in cPanel). We will look into adding the possibility to download directly the key.

  5. Reply January 19, 2017 / 02:50 KatherineSiteGround Team

    I have to second the vote on this very awkward process that does not work. If you want people to use a secure system, by all means make it easier. I converted the content of the key from cPanel in Filezilla to a .ppk and tried to import it to Transmit - failed with this error: "The file (.ppk) is not in a supported format."
    Please make a video tutorial on this if it seems to actually work for you and post it on Youtube!

    • Reply January 31, 2017 / 14:41 Ivan AtanasovSiteGround Team

      We are in the process of creating video tutorials which will be integrated in our Knowledge base, and will of start with the most popular KB articles to make it easier for our customers.

  6. Reply February 2, 2017 / 18:13 DanielSiteGround Team

    I finally got it working with FileZilla and WinSCP!!!

    The following part in your article didn't work for me:
    FTP Server: sftp://siteground_hostname.com (where siteground_hostname.com is the server where your hosting account resides and it might be checked from your UA -> Account Information or cPanel -> top left corner, next to Server Hostname. Also do not forget to add sftp:// before the server name)

    Once I was just working with siteground_hostname.com (cPanel -> top left corner) it worked.

    As well misleading was in Cpanel the link 'Configure FTP Client'. It only mentions the correct port but not the correct server for SFTP, then the link 'SFTP Configuration file' creates a file that has the wrong server too.

    • Reply February 3, 2017 / 12:11 Ivan AtanasovSiteGround Team

      An issue with the cPanel template generating the SFTP configuration file has been found and should be rectified soon. Thank you for your comment!

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