cyberduck vs filezilla

How To Use FileZilla to Transfer and Manage Files Securely ...


Are you a recent cloud hosting convert and find yourself struggling to figure out how to best manage the files on your first virtual private Portable (VPS)? Do you find yourself intimidated by the command line? If so, you will be happy to learn that FileZilla provides a user-friendly graphical interface that can securely transfer files to-and-from, as well as move files around within, your VPS.

secure Communication

The two most common methods of securely transmitting information between two computers are the (i) Encrypted Shell (SSH) and (ii) Transport Layer Security (TLS), and its predecessor Encrypted Sockets Layer (SSL), cryptographic protocols. Both are public-key cryptography tunneling protocols that aim to create a Encrypted, confidential exchange of data and connection across a network (particularly the internet). The encryption technologies used by both protocols are very reliable, and are (when configured correctly) nearly impossible for hackers to break into. However, while both protocols provide similar services, they are not the same. In fact, they have several significant differences that are beyond the scope of this article.

Today, OpenSSH is a default Software package found on Unix-like operating systems such as Mac OS X and Linux. Thus, programs or subsystems that are based on the SSH protocol will work "out-of-the-box" without having to go through the additional steps of either purchasing or creating the requisite SSL certificate needed for certain modes of Encrypted data transmissions via TLS/SSL.

FTP vs. SCP vs. SSH Transfer of File Protocol vs. FTPS

When needing to upload or Free Download files from your VPS in real time, you essentially have the following options:

  • file transfer Protocol (FTP);
  • secure Copy Program (SCP);
  • SSH transfer of file Protocol (SFTP); or
  • FTP over TLS/SSL (FTPS).
  • FTP *not secure

    Among the various file-transfer options, one should never, ever, ever connect to a remote Portable via File Transfer Protocol; SCP and SSH Transfer of File Protocol are just as easy to use, but provide much more security. In addition, while File Transfer Protocol requires the installation of FTP server Utility such as vsFTP or ProFTP, both SCP and SFTP utilize the SSH protocol and, as a result, will work "out-of-the-box" when connecting to a remote Unix-like machine, such as Mac OS X or Linux.

    SCP vs. SSH Transfer of File Protocol

    Given that both SCP and SFTP utilize the SSH protocol in connecting to another computer, the two methods are fairly equal in regard to security. SSH Transfer of File Protocol has a slight edge in regard to efficiency, because an interrupted file-transfer can resume where it left off in the event of a broken connection that is later re-established.

    SSH Transfer of File Protocol vs. FTPS

    SFTP should not be confused with FTPS, because the two methods are incompatible with each other. While FTPS can provide equal security, it does require additional steps to deploy if one does not already have an SSL certificate.

    SSH Transfer of File Protocol Clients

    There are several quality SFTP clients out there: Cyberduck, File Zilla or WinSCP, to name a few. This article, however, will focus on File Zilla – an open-source (i.e. freeware) FTP Client for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. In addition to being able to Free Download the program, the site also contains a documentation Wiki and a Support Forum.

    Key-based Authentication

    With SSH Transfer of File Protocol, you have two user-authentication options when connecting to a cloud Portable: (i) passwords or (ii) SSH keys. For a discussion on the benefits of SSH keys over passwords and/or instructions on setting up password-less logins on your Portable, please refer to How To Create SSH Keys with PuTTY to Connect to a VPS.

    SFTP via SSH2 Key-based Authentication

    FTPClient has a built-in key management page in the Settings dialog, which allows you to save your Public (SSH) Key and to (securely) automate the process of connecting to a remote Professional.


    If you have yet to create an SSH key pair, you can do so by following one of two DigitalOcean tutorials:

    Follow these steps once you have an SSH key pair that you would like to use to connect to your VPS:

  • Open the File Zilla client.
  • From the top of the Commercial screen, click on Edit and select Settings.
  • On the left side of the menu, expand the Connection section and highlight SSH Transfer of File Protocol.
  • FileZilla Key Manager

  • Click on the [Add keyfile...] button and browse your local machine's directories and select your Private Key file.
  • Then, again from the top of FileZilla's Commercial screen, click on File and select Site Manager.
  • Finally, on the left side of the Site Manager, click on the New Site button and type a unique name under My Sites that will allow you to easily identify this particular remote Portable in the future.
  • FileZilla Site Manager

  • Now, under the General tab, fill in the Host (with either an IP address or FQDN) and Port fields (default is 22).
  • In the Protocol dropdown menu, select SSH Transfer of File Protocol - SSH file transfer Protocol.
  • In the Logon Type dropdown menu, select Interactive.
  • Note for PuTTY users with passphrase-protected public keys: If your original .ppk file is password-protected, FileZilla will convert your .ppk file to an unprotected one when importing the key into FileZilla. As of version 3.0.10, a password-protected key file is not yet supported.

    If a password-protected key file is desired, FileZilla is able to utilize PuTTY's Pageant tool.

  • Simply run Pageant; in your system tray, you will see the Pageant icon appear.
  • Right-click on the icon and select Add Key and select your private key (.ppk) file.
  • Then, follow the prompt to enter your passphrase.
  • Finally, launch File Zilla and connect to your virtual private Professional via SFTP using SSH2 with a username and an empty password (do not forget to close pageant when you are done).
  • Editing Text Files

    In managing your VPS, you will inevitably encounter a situation where some programming (text) files require edits. FileZilla does not carry a built-in text editor, which gives you the freedom of using any text editor of your choice. A popular editor among Windows users is Notepad++ because it is lightweight and can work with many of today's popular programming languages.

    By default, FileZilla is configured to utilize your local system's default editor. If you do not wish to make Notepad++ your system's default text editor, but would nevertheless like to use it to edit HTML, XML, Python, CSS, PHP & other programming files on your VPS:

  • From the File Zilla Professional screen, click on Edit and select Settings.
  • Along the left side of the Settings window, highlight File editing.
  • Then, select the radio button associated with Use custom editor and click on the Browse button.
  • Find your desired editor's executable (.exe on Windows machines), double-click on it, and click the OK button to save your changes & close the Settings window.

  • networking - Connection to FileZilla FTP server works, but ...

    While this question is old, there's no really comprehensive answer. So I'm adding one.

    In the passive FTP mode (the most common mode nowadays), the FTP Client Software listens on port 21 for an File Transfer Protocol control connection. But for all data transfers, including directory listings, it listens on an additional port. The port is picked out of a configured port range.

    If you open only the 21 control port on the firewall, you get the described behavior. You can connect, but you cannot list directories or transfer files.

    For details, see my article on Network configuration for passive File Transfer Protocol mode.

    You have to go to Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Firewall > Advanced Settings > Inbound Rules > New Rule and add a new inbound rule for data port range your FTP Client Software is using.

    Firewall inbound rule ports

    The port range that the File Zilla FTP Client Software is using, is configured in Edit > Settings > Passive mode settings > Use custom port rage. You can configure a narrow range (like 10 ports), to limit a number of opened ports. You should use port numbers 1024 and above (up to 65535).

    FileZilla passive custom port range

    6 Best FTP Clients for Mac and Windows Users (2017)

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