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Using FTP and SFTP

  • Applies to: (dv) 4.0, All DV, DV, Grid, Premium WordPress

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Time needed: 10 minutes

  • Tools needed: FTP/SFTP Application

 
  • 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: Premium WordPress
    • 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.
    •  A field to enter Port 22.
    • The ability to enter your server URL as sftp://example.com. Please replace example.com with your own domain name.
  • You must have SSH enabled for your Server Administrator on your Grid. For more information, please see this article.
  • You must also have SSH access enabled for your FTP user in Plesk. Please see this article for instructions.

Overview

The Premium WordPress service comes with SFTP access by default. 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 and is one of the most common ways to upload and download files from your server.

To use SFTP, your FTP program may include one of the following:

  • The option to use SFTP from a menu.
  • A field to enter Port 22.
  • The ability to enter your server URL as sftp://example.com. Please replace example.com with your own domain name.

SFTP 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

What you'll need to configure SFTP access for your Premium WordPress Service

What You Need for Grid

What You Need for DV 

First, you need to set up your domain in Plesk. This process will prompt you to create an FTP username and password for the domain. See this article for instructions:

You will need an FTP client. There is a list of common FTP clients at the end of this article. If you don't have a favorite FTP client already, we recommend FileZilla. It is free, simple, and works with both Mac OS X and Windows.

You'll need to download, and then run, your chosen FTP client.

Once you have your FTP client open, you'll need to fill in a few settings so that it knows how to connect to your (mt) Media Temple server.

  1. Hostname or server name.

    • To connect, you'll need your hostname. This can be found in the AccountCenter in your Premium WordPress menu under settings.
      131_settings_sftp
    • For the Grid, we recommend using your access domain: s00000.gridserver.com
    • 12.34.56.78 or example.com - your IP address or a domain that resolves to the server.
  2. Username.
    Grid: example.com - your primary domainour username you entered when you added your domain in Plesk. Your listed SFTP Username.
  3. Password.
    • Your password. Your SFTP Password.
  4. Directory path - this may or may not be required, check your FTP client documentation.
  5. domains/example.com/html/
  6. httpdocs/
  7. Port number - this may already be set by default.
  8. Port number
    • 22
  9. Passive mode - this may already be set by default.
  10. Connection limits - this may already be set by default.
  11. NOTE:

    Due to the managed nature of Premium WordPress, there are a number of files and directories which are restricted from user modification. For a list of these, please see the following article.

    • 8 or fewer maximum simultaneous connections

Settings in Detail

Hostname or Server Name

This setting should be a domain name that resolves to your server. Your access domain is recommended, especially for SFTP. However, any domain name that resolves to your server will also work. Be sure to replace the 00000 with your own site number. You can find your access domain in the Server Guide.

This setting should be an IP address or domain name that resolves to your server. You can find your IP address(es) in the Server Guide.

  • Examples: s00000.gridserver.com, example.com
  • Examples: example.com

Username

Your username is the primary domain for your service. This is the domain name you picked when you purchased your Grid. You can find your FTP username in the Server Guide.

Password

This is your Server Administrator password. You can set your password in the AccountCenter.

  1. Sign in to the AccountCenter and click on your primary domain.
  2. Click on Server Administrator.

    Ac serveradmin.png

  3. Click change password.

    Ac serveradmin pass.png

  4. Type in your new password, and type it again in the confirmation box.

    Make sure that your new password has at least eight characters and a mixture of upper- and lower-case letters, and numbers. Do not use dictionary words. See Strong Password Guidelines for further assistance.

    Ac serveradmin passchange.png

  5. Click Save.
  6. While you are here, you can enable SFTP (and SSH) by selecting Enabled.

    Ac serveradmin enable ssh.png

For DV 4.0, you will be able to reset your FTP password in Plesk. For security reasons, you will not be able to view the password.

TIP:

These screenshots are for the DV server 4.0 and Plesk 11. If you are on a DV 4.0 and are running Plesk 10.x, please see this article for upgrade information: How do I upgrade Plesk?

  1. Log into the Plesk Control Panel for your domain.


    The Plesk Control Panel.

  2. From the Home page, click Websites & Domains.


    Click on Websites & Domains.

  3. Next, click FTP Access.


    Click FTP Access to view your current FTP users.

  4. To add a new user, click Create Additional FTP Account.


    Click Create Additional FTP Account.

  5. Enter a username, custom home directory, and password. Then click OK.
    • FTP account name: This is the FTP username.
    • Home directory: Click on the folder to navigate to the desired directory, or leave it with just / to grant access to all domains in that subscription.
    • Password: This will be your FTP password. Please choose a strong password.
  6. You're done setting up your new user! Your FTP username and password will now work with your favourite FTP client.

    To edit the details for an existing user, click on the user's name to edit.

That's it! You've now updated your FTP username and password. The new login credentials should work immediately.

Make sure that your new password has at least eight characters and a mixture of upper- and lower-case letters, and numbers. Do not use dictionary words. See Strong Password Guidelines for further assistance.

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.

Two common option directory path options are to show a list of all your domains, or to show the web content directory (document root) for a specific domain. You should replace example.com with your own domain name, and 00000 with your actual site number.

  • List all domains: domains/ or /home/00000/domains/
  • Specific domain web document root: domains/example.com/html/ or /home/00000/domains/example.com/html/

TIP:

The reason there are two options is that different FTP clients may interpret your folder structure differently. The first example in each pair has a local path to your folder, and the second has a full path from the root level of the server.

It is possible to use any path on your server, or to leave it blank if you want to go to the home directory for your user. The home directory for your specific user will be as follows:

  • serveradmin user, FTP: /home/00000/ (This is the same directory that you see when you click on the File Manager tool in the AccountCenter.
  • serveradmin user, SFTP: /home/00000/users/.home/ (This folder has a link to the domains directory, but for other folders you may have to go up two levels first. Double-click the ".." folder to do this.)
  • Other FTP users will have a home directory as chosen by you. See Grid:Add an FTP user for details.

Port Number

We strongly suggest using SFTP, which transfers data over Port 22. Plain FTP uses Port 21.

  • SFTP: 22
  • FTP: 21

Passive Mode

By default, the Grid allows FTP connections in passive mode only. Active mode will not work.

By default, DV allows FTP connections in passive mode only. Active mode will not work.

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

The Grid will allow a maximum of 8 FTP or SFTP connections at once per IP Address.

DV allows an unlimited number of connections by default. However, 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.

Create a new FTP Account

For instructions on how to create an FTP account in Plesk or cPanel, please see the following article.

How to Use FTP

  1. Open your favorite FTP client.
  2. Fill in your FTP connection settings (described above). You may be able to create a profile for this site so that you don't have to enter your settings each time.
  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 correct folder. Typically, you will want to upload content to your html directory, because this is the directory whose content is displayed online for your website. Double-click on domains, then the folder with the same name as your domain, then html.
  5. Navigate to the correct folder. Typically, you will want to upload content to your httpdocs directory, because this is the directory whose content is displayed online for your website. Double-click on the httpdocs directory to enter it.
  6. Upload files from your local computer to the server. Typically, you can drag-and-drop files from your computer (your desktop, for example) into the FTP client window that's showing your server folders. You should also be able to find your files from within the FTP client, then double-click on them to upload them to the server.
  7. You may need to wait a little while if you have a large upload. You should be able to navigate into different directories while an upload is proceeding. In fact, this can be a good thing to do if you notice the connection timing out during a lengthy upload.
  8. That's it! When you're done uploading and downloading files, you can close the connection. If you uploaded new content to your website, you should now be able to see it when you visit the site.

Alternate Methods

  • 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. See this article.
  • 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 or a VE 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.
  • If you need to restart the FTP service, see this 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.

Third-Party Applications

Here's a list of FTP applications that have been known to work with (mt) Media Temple servers. Click on the first link for a walkthrough specific to (mt) Media Temple. Click the second link for the FTP client's home page.

NOTE:

Third-party applications are not supported nor guaranteed to work with your specific configuration. For help with any specific FTP software, please consult its distributor.

CloudTech_ProductPage_217x57

CloudTech Can Help!

If you need help setting up a third-party FTP client, additional assistance is available via CloudTech, our premium services division. Our expert engineers can tweak and tune your server for optimal performance. For more information on what CloudTech can do for you, please click here.

Apple iWeb (Mac)

Coda (Mac)

Cyberduck (Mac)

Dreamweaver (Mac, Windows)

Fetch (Mac)

FlashFXP (Windows)

Flow (Mac)

FileZilla* (Mac, Windows, Linux)

Transmit* (Mac)

Windows Explorer (Windows)

Additional Resources

Transferring files with FTP and SFTP from (mt) Media Temple on Vimeo.

 

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