What is SFTP?

SFTP stands for Secure File Transfer Protocol, or SSH File Transfer Protocol depending on who you ask. It is a method for securely transferring files between a local computer (the client) and a remote computer (the server). It is very similar in operation to the older FTP standard.

How is it different than FTP?

SFTP is very similar to FTP (short for File Transfer Protocol) in operation. However, SFTP encrypts all communication with the server, ensuring that your username, password, and data are kept safe at all times. The older FTP protocol did not do this encryption, so anyone with access to the client or the server's network could easily read the transferred information, including usernames and passwords.

In addition, SFTP and FTP are pretty different internally, which means that not all FTP client programs support SFTP yet.

Using SFTP

To use SFTP to transfer files, you will need to create an SFTP account and configure your SFTP client program.

Create a SFTP account

First of all, you will need to have a Bravehost website. Once you've created a site (you don't need to put anything on it yet!), click on the FTP tab of the Bravehost control panel. Then, click on the new ftp account link. Enter in a username and password, then click the create button.

This account will give you access to both our FTP and the SFTP servers.

Don't use the same password for your FTP account as you do for your Bravenet account!

You can also #restrict access to a portion of your site in this window; see below for more details.

Note that your username will have a number added to it. Use the entire username, including the number, when connecting.

Changing your password

You should change your passwords regularly, every few months if not more often. The shield icon next to your FTP account indicates how long it's been since you last changed your password. If it's red, you should definitely update your password soon!

To change your password, click the password button next to the FTP account you want to change. Enter your new password and confirm it, then click the update button.

Don't use the same password for your FTP account as you do for your Bravenet account!

Enable legacy FTP support

At this time, both SFTP and FTP access are enabled on all FTP accounts. In the future, we will be changing this so that you need to explicitly enable the FTP access on an account-by-account basis, so that you can keep your account as safe as you'd like.

Restrict access to a portion of your site

You can create multiple FTP accounts, each with access to different areas of your websites and logs.

By default, a new FTP account will have full access to your websites and logs. When creating a new account, or changing the settings in the edit window, you can change the base directory of your account.

For example, lets say you have two sites, example.com and test.com, and you want to create one FTP account that only has access to example.com and another FTP account with full access to both sites. You would adjust one of the accounts to have /web/example.com as the base path (click on the web link, then on the example.com link in the popup window), and leave the other account with default settings. Now, when someone logs into the restricted account, they can only see the files on example.com.

Log in to your SFTP account

Once you've created an FTP account, you'll need a program that supports SFTP to connect to that account (known as an SFTP client).

Using various FTP and SFTP clients

Most graphical FTP clients also support SFTP. Although we can't provide support for third-party programs, we've put together small guides on connecting to your FTP or SFTP account using several popular clients. Please see the program's official documentation for more up-to-date, official information.

  • FileZilla - Free, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Many programs that do all-in-one web design, such as Adobe Dreamweaver, also support SFTP.

Bravenet Java client

At this time, our Java FTP client does not support SFTP. We are investigating replacements to provide an easy alternative to a full-fledged SFTP client.

Forgot your username/password?

If you forget your username, you can always find it on the FTP tab of your Bravenet account. Don't forget that you need to enter the whole username including the numbers!

If you forget your password, there's no way to retrieve it. You should go through the procedure for #changing your password listed above.