Accessing Amazon EC2 in Filezilla SFTP

  • Pennf0lio

    I need help/guide how I can open my ssh access from a GUI or Filezilla.

    Here's the scenario my developer just left me with the login info to my Amazon EC2. Now I am finding difficulties in understanding all this stuff. I used PuTTy and command prompt just to connect to my server using ssh process. It uses some bridge process just to connect to my actual server.

    right now he provided me 2 sets of login.


    • username
    • somepassword


    • ssh [email protected]
    • somepassword

    [my process]

    in [Set1] I enter "" in the hostname of PuTTy. after I hit Open It will open a terminal and will asked for a username. thats where I provide my [Set1] username and password.

    Ounce login, I then perform [Set2] Details. I will use "ssh [email protected]" after I enter it, It will then asked for my password.

    from there, when I do "DIR" in command prompt I will see al my files there. I wanted to download a directory there to my local drive but I am not familiar with the commands.

    I would like to access it just by using FileZilla or similar. And I've also tried this but I don't know what I'd miss, because It didn't work for me. I downloaded a .pem file from the [set1] because I can also access it using a regular FTP (filezilla) and I then converted that .pem file to .ppk.

    right now I'm kinda confuse what login info I should use for my FileZilla to access the server. I had success in loging via FTP using [Set1] login details. But my files aren't there. I only saw some folders and a .pem file.

    I can't login to my Filezilla using [set2] details. I tried FTP and SFTP. I also added the .ppk file in the settings of my fileZilla. But I had no success in loging in.

    any ideas what did I miss?

  • Answers
  • Leftium

    I use WinSCP instead of FileZilla to transfer files to/from my EC2 instance. Logging in with a PPK file is very simple. In addition, WinSCP provides a very nice GUI (I use the version that looks/acts like the regular Windows Explorer interface).

    Note the PPK file is associated with the username and password from [Set2]. [Set1] simply connects you to a computer that has the credentials needed to access the EC2 instance. Since you transferred the *.pem (ssh private key) file, you should not need to use [Set1] anymore.


    Your developer may have configured your EC2 instance to only accept connections from Go to the AWS management console to see if that is the problem (Note the AWS account username and password are probably different than any of the passwords above):

    1. First, find out which security groups your EC2 instance is a member of.
    2. Then find out which inbound connections are allowed for those security groups.
    3. You need to find/add a rule that allows port 22(SSH) from your IP address.
    4. This source IP will allow all SSH requests from anywhere:

    Alternatively, you can try making an ssh connection from your local machine to figure how why the sftp connection is not working. Use Plink, the command-line version of Putty, with your PPK file and the -v option (for verbose.)

    The process for using FileZilla with a PPK file seems quite convoluted. (Hint: you give your password to Pageant, not FileZilla! If you insist on using FileZilla, follow the instructions below:

    Now run Pageant. In your system tray, you'll see the Pageant icon appear. Right-click the icon and select "Add Key" and select your private key (PPK) file. Follow the prompt to enter your pass phrase and you're done.

    Now simply launch FileZilla and connect to your server using SFTP using SSH2 with a username and an empty password.

  • dotancohen

    To connect to a running Amazon EC2 instance with Filezilla:

    1. Edit -> Settings -> Connection -> SFTP
    2. Click "Add keyfile..."
    3. Browse to the location of your .pem file and select it.
    4. A message box will appear asking your permission to convert the file into a supported format. Click Yes, then give the file a name and store it somewhere safe.
    5. If the new file is shown in the list of Keyfiles, then continue to the next step. If not, then click "Add keyfile..." and select the converted file.
    6. File -> Site Manager
    7. Add a new site wih the following paramerters:
      • Host: 123.456.789.123
      • Protocol: SFTP
      • Logon Type: Normal
      • User: username
    8. Connect to the new server
  • Indrek

    I was tinkering with Filezilla tonight and FINALLY managed a connection - in Active mode, no less. Here's how to do it:

    1. Set the IP address (Edit -> Settings -> Active Mode -> Use the following IP address:) to the private one from your AWS dashboard
    2. Set passive mode (Edit -> Settings -> Passive Mode) to "Fall back to active mode"
    3. Set inbound SSH port in security groups to port 22
    4. Log in to s (replace the 1's with your IP, of course) with your username (no @ or anything) and password, and port 22 selected
  • Jacob Irwin

    The following tutorial on YouTube walked me through the complete process (successfully! and in less than 10 minutes):

    I am on MacOS, so when this tutorial prompts to open 'Edit'/'Settings' in FileZilla (presenter is on Windows), if you are on a Mac like me, then instead go to 'Filezilla'/'Preferences'

  • J. Chin

    Some SFTP clients (like FileZilla) store all the SSH certificates in one pool and will try SSH certificates in sequence, so make sure your setting in /etc/ssh/sshd_config for "MaxAuthTries" is set high enough to include the "maximum possible" certificates you have in your SFTP client.

  • Related Question

    Connect to server using SFTP and public ssh key using FileZilla on Windows
  • macek

    Is it possible to generate an ssh key on a windows machine then use that key to connect to a server using SFTP via FileZilla?

    This is all working with my Mac but I have a client that is stuck in a windows environment. Our server does not have traditional FTP access and I need to get him connected.

    Details would be greatly appreciated.

  • Related Answers
  • meda

    FileZilla uses the PuTTY suite of tools for its SSH implementation. PuTTY supports using public keys, so by default so does FileZilla. Its as simple as downloading and running Pageant and importing your key or generating a new one using PuTTYgen.

    You can also manually specify a key file using the Edit->Settings menu item under the connection settings.

  • Jawa

    Simply go to Preferences -> SFTP -> Add keys in FileZilla and add your public key there, it will convert the key for you.