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How to transfer files to a server with SFTP

September 11, 2019

Learn how to transfer files with SFTP, or SSH (or secure) file transfer protocol, which encrypts files as they are being transmitted. 

This method is preferred over FTP when transferring confidential data, as FTP poses significant security risks despite its popularity. 

What you need

Method 1: WinSCP

  1. Download, install, and launch WinSCP.

  2. When the startup menu appears, click New.

  3. Fill the fields as follows:
    • File protocol: SFTP

    • Host name: Enter the hostname provided in your Nexcess Welcome Email, or contact our Support Team for it. It will resemble example.nexcess.net, but replace “example” with the actual name.

    • Username and Password: If these are unknown to you, you may view your SSH account user name and reset your password in SiteWorx. See How to reset your SSH password and add SSH keys in SiteWorx for details, or contact our Support Team.

    • Port: If your username resembles an email address, enter 24. Otherwise, enter 22.

  4. If this is the first time logging into the server, you will see a warning about connecting to a remote machine. Click Yes.

  5. WinSCP will connect you to your Nexcess server and you will see a window resembling the one below. To move a file, drag-and-drop the files from the origin folder to your destination folder.

Method 2: SFTP client

This method features Cyberduck, which is only one of many available SFTP applications. It is available for Windows and macOS, though the below steps use the latter.

  1. If you are a Nexcess Cloud client, skip to Step 2. If you are a Nexcess non-cloud client, you must first enable SSH access as outlined in How to enable SSH access.

  2. Download and launch Cyberduck. Click Open Connection.

  3. Enter the following information:
    • From the drop-down list at the top, select SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol).

    • Server: Enter the hostname provided in your Nexcess Welcome Email, or contact our support team for it. It will resemble <example>.nexcess.net, but you will replace <example> and the angled brackets (<>) with the actual name.

    • Port:  If your username resembles an email address, enter 24. Otherwise, enter 22.

    • Username and Password: If these are unknown to you, you may view your SSH account user name and reset your password in SiteWorx. See How to reset your SSH password and add SSH keys in SiteWorx for details, or contact our support team.

  4. Click Connect. If this is your first time connecting to this server, you will see a warning resembling “Unknown host key for <example.nexcess.net>.” Click Allow to continue.

  5. To move a file, drag-and-drop the files from the origin folder to your destination folder.  


For 24-hour assistance any day of the year, contact our support team by email or through your Client Portal.

Jason Dobry