Though FTP is the more commonly used network protocol for file transfers, we make use of SFTP for the improved security features that it provides. By connecting through SFTP, you will be able to access your file server. Here are a few SFTP clients that we recommend:
- FileZilla Works on all operating systems
- CODA Paid software for MAC, but has awesome live edit mode
- Notepad ++ Works on PC only but has also has a great live edit mode
In order to log into the client, you will need to know the hostname, the user name and the password. Your hostname will follow the naming convention of installname.sftp.wpengine.com. This will be visible in the SFTP Users section in the User Portal in the left side menu.
Once you have your host name information it is time to get your username and password. To get this, first log into the user portal.
When you login, you will click the install name you wish to set up SFTP for. On the left hand side, click “SFTP Users”. To add a new SFTP User, select “Add SFTP User”.
By default, there will not be any SFTP users created for your install. All SFTP user names will begin with “installname-” and then include whatever you fill in for the user name field appended to installname-.
Then enter a password. We recommend using at least 12 characters along with a combination of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Here is a cool tool that you can use to check the complexity of your password: how secure is my password?
You can also choose to set a specific target path. By default, this should be left blank so that you have access to all files and folders. For clients that wish to provide access to only certain directories, this is where you would enter the target path to the lowest level you wish the user to have access to. Don’t forget to select whether this SFTP user is going to connect to the staging SFTP or the production SFTP. Here is an example of what the SFTP user creation form looks like:
Production vs. Staging
When you are generating credentials, you select either production or staging from the Environment drop down. The difference between Production and Staging users is which file system you see when logging in. When you want to log in to the staging file server just log in with the staging credentials.
Logging in via SFTP
Now that you have successfully created an SFTP user, let’s login to your WordPress install using SFTP.
Note: This example uses Filezilla. However, these steps can be replicated easily in your favorite SFTP client.
Open Filezilla and notice at the top, you have four (4) text boxes. Fill in each box with the appropriate information below:
- Host -The proper way to use quick connect is to specify the SFTP protocol in the host field, like sftp://installname.sftp.wpengine.com.
- Username – The username you created while setting up your SFTP user in the User Portal.
- Password – The password you created while setting up your SFTP user in the User Portal.
- Port – This will be Port 2222, which is designated in the User Portal.
Once all the information is filled in, you can press “Quick Connect”. You should now see your WordPress install load up in the right panel of Filezilla.
Themes, Plugins and Uploads
After connecting, you will see the files from your WordPress install in the right panel. On the left panel, you will have your local files.
The structure of your WordPress install is fairly straight forward, but the folder you will need is the “wp-content” folder. To find your files for each:
- Themes – wp-content > themes
- Plugins – wp-content > plugins
- Uploads – wp-content > uploads
In each of these files is where your content lives for each. You can load files to any of these through your SFTP client.
We highly encourage you to create a backup prior to making any edits to these files. If something goes wrong, you can easily restore to the back through you User Portal.
Note: We do not support the SFTP cyphers CBC, RC4, 3DES, MD5, and RIPEMD for security reasons. If your SFTP client uses one of these cyphers, it may not work properly with our platform. We suggest reaching out to your SFTP software maker to get instructions on how to disable these.