FTP overview and credentials

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a network protocol that is commonly used to transfer website data from your local computer to the remote web server. This allows you to develop a website locally (on your computer) and then upload it to the remote server to be published to your website.

This article uses the FTP client 'Filezilla' to illustrate examples. You can use any client you like to log into your server, as the settings are the same.

Locating your FTP login credentials

You will need the following information to log into your web server:

The following sections explain how to obtain each one.

Finding your FTP server hostname

If your domain's DNS is set up to point to your hosting at DreamHost, you may use your domain's name as the FTP hostname. For example, if your website is named 'http://www.example.com' just use example.com

Do not add http://www in front of the domain as that may cause it not to connect.

Here is what it would look like in Filezilla:

Filezilla hostname

If you don't have a domain set up quite yet, you may also use the server's hostname. To find out what server you are on, log into the DreamHost panel and navigate to (Panel > ‘Billing & Account’ > ‘Manage Account’).

Scroll down to the section titled 'Domains Hosted'. There you will see your domain name. To the right, you will see your user and the server on which it’s configured:

02 ServerName.fw.png

In the above screenshot the server is named ‘gervais’. So in this example, you could use the hostname gervais.dreamhost.com to log in.

VPS, Dedicated, and DreamPress hostnames

If you are hosting your site on a VPS, Dedicated, or DreamPress server, the hostname appears differently under the 'Hosting Type' column. For example:

Type of server How it appears Hostname to use
VPS ps123456 ps123456.dreamhostps.com
Dedicated ds123456 ds123456.dreamservers.com
DreamPress wp123456 wp123456.dreamhostps.com

Locating the correct FTP user

You can find the FTP username that is attached to your domain's hosting in the panel. Just log in and navigate to (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’):

Once there, you’ll see the username to the right of the domain under the ‘Web Hosting’ column:

01 Domains Control Panel.fw.png

Here is what it would look like in Filezilla:

Filezilla username

Resetting your FTP user's password

If you don't know your user's password, you can change it in the panel. Log in and navigate to (Panel > ‘Users’ > ‘Manage Users’):

  • Click the Edit button to the right of your username to edit it. The following page opens:
06 Edit Password.fw.png
  • On this page, you can change the password. Update it and then click the Save Changes button at the bottom.

After you’ve changed your password, please allow up to 20 minutes for it to update in the DreamHost system.

Here's an example using Filezilla:

Filezilla password

Choosing the FTP port

To connect, use the following port number setting for your type of user :

FTP user
connect with port number 21 (NOT RECOMMENDED)
SFTP or SHELL user 
connect with port number 22

You can check if your user is an FTP/SFTP/SHELL user in your panel at (Panel > ‘Users’ > ‘Manage Users’).

It is highly recommended that you use port 22 with an SFTP or Shell user as it helps to ensure your data is safe when connecting. View the 'Security' section below for details on how to change your FTP user to an SFTP user.

Here's an example using Filezilla using port 22:

Filezilla password

Finally, click 'Quickconnect' to log into your server:

Filezilla connect

Where do I put my files?

Once you're logged in you'll see several files and folders. View the following article for instructions on where to upload your site files:

FTP security

Unfortunately, FTP (port 21) is not considered a "secure" protocol. This means that incoming/outgoing data is unencrypted and in plain text. Because the data is unencrypted, an exceptionally sneaky person could eavesdrop on what you're sending.

For this reason, it's only recommended that you create an SFTP or Shell user and use port 22 when connecting.

Difference between FTP and SFTP

SFTP is a network protocol designed to provide secure file transfer over the secure shell (SSH) protocol. SFTP is NOT just FTP run over SSH, but rather a new protocol. It is often called Secure FTP because it uses an encrypted transport layer.

Setting an existing FTP user to an SFTP user

Navigate to the (Panel > 'Users' > 'Manage Users') page. To the right of your username, you'll see if its an FTP, SFTP, or Shell user:

Change FTP user
  • Click the 'Edit' button to the right of the user.
Change FTP user
  • Choose the radio button for 'SFTP user', then click the 'Save Changes' button.
  • Wait about 20 min for the new settings to update. You can then log into your server using port 22.

Creating an SFTP user when editing a domain

When you are editing or adding a new domain and add a new user during that process, it defaults to SFTP automatically and FTP is disallowed.

If you need FTP for some reason, you still have the option to uncheck the box 'Disallow FTP?' for the newly created user, but this is NOT RECOMMENDED. You can do that on the (Panel > ‘Users’ > ‘Manage Users’) page by editing the user:

01 FTP User.fw.png

Disabling FTP on a VPS server

If you have a VPS, you can completely disable FTP to further secure your server. Navigate to the (Panel > 'VPS' > 'Dashboard') page:

Disable FTP

To the right of the server, click the 'Configure' button. Click the dropdown to the right of 'FTP server' and select 'Inactive'. Finally, click 'Save ps123456's settings' at the bottom to save.

Notes on using SFTP

When logging in to your account using SFTP you may notice some differences from what you would normally see when you logged in with a normal FTP user.

  • If you want to ensure that a particular user's home directory cannot be accessed by other users (even those in your same group) you can enable the "Enhanced security?" option for that user.
  • You may notice that you can also access other directories above the /home directory. That's normal, as all users have some level of access to those directories. However, as a regular user you won't be able to view files that you don't have access to, nor are you able to harm the server. 
  • Hidden files/directories: On a Unix system, hidden files are those that begin with a period (.) in their name. As with FTP clients, SFTP clients usually have an option to "enable/disable viewing hidden files". If that is enabled, you'll be able to see these files/directories (if your user has permissions to do so). If you are having problems deleting a directory (assuming you have the correct permissions to delete) and it gives you an error saying "directory not empty", it may be that there are hidden files/directories in that directory that your client is not allowing you to see. Check your program options before going any further. If you do have the option enabled to view hidden files/directories and still cannot delete a directory, please contact support for assistance. Give support the server, user account, and full path to the directory you are trying to delete so they can investigate. View the How do I show hidden files? article for further information.

See also

Internal links

External links


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