How to establish an SFTP connection to your hosting account with FileZilla?

In a previous article, we talked about Filezilla being the go-to FTP tool if you’re looking to transfer large files to your web hosting server. We also mentioned that it’s an easy-to-use, widely used, and free-to-download FTP client that provides a multipurpose solution for transferring files remotely.

With Filezilla, users can upload, delete, move, download, copy and rename files on a remote server. If you are new to Filezilla and would like to get a full scoop of that article, you can check it out here. 

This article takes our knowledge about Filezilla a step further by discussing how to establish an SFTP connection to your hosting account using the Filezilla application.

What is SFTP?

SFTP stands for Secure File Transfer Protocol. It is a more secure way of transferring files built up from FTP, only that SFTP has an additional Secured Shell component giving it that extra secured layer.  

The extra layer of security that comes with SFTP provides encryption for the files transferred from the FTP client and web server. This security ensures that hackers cannot maliciously intercept files that you transfer. An SFTP connection requires dedicated SFTP clients as FTP clients cannot use SFTP servers.

A basic SFTP authentication requires a user ID and password to connect to the SFTP server. On the other hand, the Secured Shell (SSH) authentication requires the generation of an SSH key. The SSH private key and a matching public key are what validates an SFTP connection.

With this level of security, it is difficult for web hackers to gain entry into your server.


Both SFTP and FTP have similar features, but they also differ in a few ways. Their differences also influence how and when we use both protocols.

One major advantage of SFTP over FTP is that SFTP uses a secured layer to transfer files while FTP does not. 

SFTP is also a protocol that we use when authentication and firewalls are required during transferring files. In contrast, we use FTP when we require only certificates (TSL and SSL) for authentication. 

SFTP uses a single default port (port 22), making it firewall-friendly, while FTP uses multiple numbers. 

SFTP also supports key-based authentication, which is not provided by an FTP connection.

How to establish an SFTP connection to your hosting account with FileZilla?

Now that we have understood what an SFTP is and how it differs from FTP, lets walk through the step-by-step process of establishing an SFTP connection to your hosting account with Filezilla. 

If you are ready, let’s dive right in

Login to your FileZilla app.

Use your main FTP account username and password and select the SFTP connection option.

By default, you can use Port 6543.

Click the Connect button.

IMPORTANT: The SFTP option works only for your main FTP account. Any additional FTP users would not be able to connect the same way.

Now it’s time to connect to your server using your login credentials

Click on File > Site Manager

Click on New Site

After clicking on New Site, give your new site a name.

Go to the General tab and fill in the following required credentials: 

  • Host – This is your FTP IP address or domain name; write it as or
  • Port – This refers to your data server port and has its default number as 22. This field is optional and can be left blank.  
  • User – Enter your FTP account username in this field.
  • Logon – Select the type of logon option you would like to use. Select Key File. Here, you will need the previously downloaded key file.
  • Protocol – Here, you are required to select the protocol for transferring files across networks. Select SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol.

After checking that all the details are correct, click on the Connect button.

If you had established a successful connection, your  Server directory listing would be displayed. 

Now, you should be able to drag and drop files to upload or download them.  

You can also carry out other multipurpose file-sharing actions using Filezilla.


Well done! If you followed through with the steps listed above you should have successfully set up an SFTP connection using Filezilla. That was a piece of cake, wasn’t it? 

If you encountere any issue along the line, do leave us a comment or reach out to our happy-to-help support team. We would also love to hear your feedback on the success of your connection!



Working in the web hosting industry for over 13 years, Rado has inevitably got some insight into the industry. A digital marketer by education, Rado is always putting himself in the client's shoes, trying to see what's best for THEM first. A man of the fine detail, you can often find him spending 10+ minutes wondering over a missing comma or slightly skewed design.

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