Knowledge Base

How to access your account using FTP

This article describes how to connect to your A2 Hosting account using an FTP client.

What is FTP?

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a protocol that enables you to transfer files between your A2 Hosting account and another computer. FTP establishes a connection between a server (in this case, your account on an A2 Hosting server) and a client (your local computer). To make your website files accessible to the public, you use an FTP client to upload them to your A2 Hosting account on the server. You can also download files from your A2 Hosting account to your local computer.

The original FTP protocol does not encrypt data sent between the server and the client. We strongly recommend you use an encrypted connection to transfer files whenever possible. SFTP (Secure Shell File Transfer Protocol) is available for all our Linux hosting accounts. FTPS (FTP over SSL) is available for all our Windows hosting accounts.

For security reasons, anonymous FTP is disabled on all A2 Hosting shared servers.

Using an FTP client

There are numerous FTP clients available, and many of them support SFTP and FTPS as well. A2 Hosting recommends FileZilla, a free program that you can download here. It supports FTP, SFTP and FTPS and runs on Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X, and Linux. In this article, we show how to use FileZilla to connect to your account and transfer files.

If you want to use a different FTP client, you need the following information to connect to your account:

  • Your web site's domain name.
    • For FTP or FTPS with Windows hosting, you use a combination of your domain name and the server name. For example, if your domain name is example.hosted.com, and your account is on server a2ws2.a2hosting.com, then the FTP hostname is example.mi3-wss2.a2hosting.com.
  • The FTP account username:

    • For SFTP, you must use your cPanel username. Make sure you do not include your domain name. For example, type username, do not type [email protected].
    • For FTP connection with cPanel, you can use either your cPanel username, or the username for an FTP user you have created in cPanel (for example, [email protected]).
    • For FTP or FTPS with Windows hosting, the username is a combination of an FTP user account in Plesk and the server name. For example, if you create a user in Plesk named kelly, and your account is on server a2ws3.a2hosting.com, then the FTP username is mi3-wss3\kelly.
  • The password for the account you are using.
  • For SFTP connections, use port 7822.
Connect to your account

To connect to your account using FileZilla, follow these steps:

  1. Start FileZilla.
  2. On the File menu, click Site Manager. The Site Manager dialog appears.
  3. Click New Site, type a name for the site, and then press Enter.
  4. In the Host text box, type the FTP hostname:
    • For cPanel accounts, type your site's domain name. Alternatively, you can type the server hostname instead. For information about how to determine your account's server name, please see this article.
    • For Windows hosting accounts, use a combination of the domain name and the server name. For example, if your domain name is example.hosted.com, and your account is on server a2ws2.a2hosting.com, then the FTP hostname is example.mi3-wss2.a2hosting.com.
  5. If you want to connect using SFTP, type 7822 in the Port text box. Otherwise, leave the Port text box blank.

    The default port for SFTP is 22. However, A2 Hosting uses a different port for security reasons.
  6. In the Protocol list box, select the protocol you want to use:

    • If you want to use SFTP, select SFTP - SSH File Transfer Protocol.
    • If you want to use FTPS, select FTP - File Transfer Protocol, and then in the Encryption list box, select Require explcit FTP over TLS.
    • If you want to use regular FTP, select FTP - File Transfer Protocol, and then in the Encryption list box, select Only use plain FTP (insecure).
      A2 Hosting strongly recommends that you use SFTP or FTPS whenever possible. Regular FTP sends usernames and passwords in unencrypted plaintext, and is not secure.
  7. In the Logon Type list box, select Normal.
  8. In the User text box, type the account username you want to use:

    • If you are using SFTP, you must use your cPanel username. Make sure you do not include your domain name. For example, type username, do not type [email protected].
    • If you are using a regular FTP connection with cPanel, you can use either your cPanel username, or the username for an FTP user you have created in cPanel (for example, [email protected]).
    • If you are using FTP or FTPS with Windows hosting, the username is a combination of the FTP user account in Plesk and the server name. For example, if you create a user in Plesk named kelly, and your account is on server a2ws3.a2hosting.com, then the FTP username is mi3-wss3\kelly.
  9. In the Password text box, type the password for the account you specified in step 8.

    Your account password is not the same as your Customer Portal password. To view the password for your hosting account in the Customer Portal, follow these steps:

    • In the Customer Portal on the menu bar, click SERVICES, and then click MY SERVICES.
    • Locate your hosting package and then click Manage.
    • Under Connection Details, next to Password, click the eye icon to display your password.
  10. Optionally, you can specify a default directory for FileZilla to open on the remote server after it connects. For example, many people prefer to have an FTP client access the website document root directory by default. To do this, follow these steps:

    • Click the Advanced tab.
    • In the Default remote directory text box, type the full path to the directory that you want FileZilla to open. For cPanel accounts the directory is /home/username/public_html, where username represents your A2 Hosting account (cPanel) username. For Windows accounts the directory is /httpdocs.
  11. Click Connect. After a few seconds, the connection is established.
Transfer files

After FileZilla establishes a connection between your local computer and the A2 Hosting server, you can transfer files. FileZilla has a Local site pane that displays files on your local computer, and a Remote site pane that displays files in your account on the A2 Hosting server.

To transfer files using FileZilla, follow these steps:

  1. You can navigate through folders in the Local site and Remote site panes just as you would in Windows Explorer or the Mac OS X Finder. To open a folder, double-click it.
  2. To upload a file to the server, drag the file from the Local site pane to the Remote site pane. After the file transfer is complete, the file appears in the Remote site pane.
    To upload a file, you can also double-click it in the Local site pane.
  3. To download a file to the local computer, drag the file from the Remote site pane to the Local site pane. After the file transfer is complete, the file appears in the Local site pane.
    To download a file, you can also double-click it in the Remote site pane.
  4. You can also transfer entire folders at once:
    • To upload a folder to the server, drag the folder from the Local site pane to the Remote site pane.
    • To download a folder to the local computer, drag the folder from the Remote site pane to the Local site pane.

FTP logging

All FTP activity is monitored and recorded in our server FTP log files. If you need information from the log files, open a support ticket at https://my.a2hosting.com. Alternatively, if you use a managed VPS or dedicated server, you can check the FTP logs located at /var/log/messages.

More Information

To view the online documentation for FileZilla, please visit http://wiki.filezilla-project.org/Documentation.