Difference between SFTP and Shell users


New website users are created as either SFTP or Shell users. This article explains the difference between these user types.

Comparison chart

The following chart displays the primary differences between SFTP and Shell users. Both protocols are equally secure to use.

Protocol Log in using FTP client Command line access Secure
SFTP Yes No Yes
SSH Yes Yes Yes

SFTP users

An SFTP user is required to upload a website you've created to DreamHost's servers or to make changes to an existing website.

The SFTP protocol uses an encrypted connection to access a server. Port 22 is used in your client to connect to the server via SFTP.

The SFTP Users & Files page lists the username and the type of user it’s configured as.

Click the Login info button to display details about this user. On the next page, you can see if the user is set as an SFTP user.

  • File Access only displays SFTP
  • The Secure Shell Access toggle is set to off

Shell users

Shell users are users who can connect via SSH and SFTP. The "Shell" is the Linux command line on your hosting server you can use to run commands.

Changing to a Shell user To change an SFTP user into a Shell user, just click the toggle button so it turns blue. View the following article for further instructions.

Here you can see if the user is set as an SSH user.

  • File Access displays SFTP/SSH
  • The Secure Shell Access toggle is set to on

Viewing a list of SFTP and Shell users

View the following article for instructions on how to filter your website users by their type. This is useful if you have several usernames created and need to quickly identify if they are SFTP or Shell users:

See also

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