How to SCP (Secure Copy) with FileZilla on Windows XP

You can easily transfer files from a server that has SSH (Secure Shell) running but not FTP (File Transfer Protocol) using Filezilla on Windows. When using Filezilla it will be called SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) and will allow you to copy files from a server to your local Windows computer with ease. Follow the simple steps below to securely copy files from a server that is running SSH.

  1. Open Filezilla: First you will need to launch Filezilla. If you do not have Filezilla you can obtain it for free from this link.
  2. Open Site Manager: Click on File in the top navigation menu and then select “Site Manager” from the drop down. This will open¬†Filezilla’s Site Manager, as shown below, where you can add, delete, and modify sites that you visit often.

    Filezilla Site Manager: Set up SFTP Site

  3. Configure Site With SFTP Access: Now you will need to enter in the details of a site including SFTP access which will allow you to transfer files over SSH instead of FTP. You need to enter at least the following details for the configuration.
    • Name: When adding a new site it will display in the site list as “New Site” and will immediately be editable. Make sure to modify this with a name that is meaningful to you regarding the server.
      Example: Work Server 1
    • Host: Here you will need to enter either the IP address or the hostname of the server.
      Example: 192.168.1.100 or server.example.com
    • Port: For this configuration the default will be port 22 (SSH’s Default Port) so you do not need to enter anything here but if the SSH server is running on a different port say 2222 then you would need to enter that port number here.
      Example: N/A except if SSH is running on a non default port so it might be, 2222
    • Server Type: Click the drop down and select “SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol”.
      Example: SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol
    • Logon Type: This may vary depending on the server or what you prefer but typically you will click the drop down and change to “Normal” which will store your username and password.
      Example: Normal
    • User: Enter the username for the account you will login with.
      Example: joeuser
    • Password: Enter the password required for the account.
      Example: joepassword
    • Account: This will be greyed out as it is not required for this configuration.
    • Comments: I have dozens of servers configured for various clients so I prefer to add comments here to help me remember which each account is used for. It is always the best practice to be as detailed as possible while information is fresh in your head to assist in remembering information later.
      Example: This is a test site configured in Filezilla.

    Below is an image of Filezilla’s Site Manager showing an example configuration for a site using SFTP.

    Filezilla Site Manager SFTP Configuration

    You will also probably notice the other tabs available for further confiruation. In this example the default settings are fine and will work. If you want to change other configurations do not hesitate to play around with settings to see if there is anything else that can be useful to you.

  4. Connect to SFTP Server: Now test the connection by clicking the Connect button located at the bottom of the Site Manager. Make sure the new SFTP site is highlighted and you will notice Filezilla connect to the new server configuration on port 22. This will allow you to transfer files to and from the server in a secure manner using SCP or Secure Copy.

Filezilla is a great Open Source FTP/SFTP application so I encourage you to donate to the project if you find it useful. People that develop applications like this make all of our lives much easier without forcing us to purchase applications before we get to experience them. Filezilla has been around for a long time and is actively developed and continues to add features that make it the best FTP application that I am aware of on Windows.


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