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How to Use SFTP to Access Your WordPress Files on SiteGround

Same as other managed WordPress hosting services like WP Engine, Rocket.net, to Kinsta, SiteGround also comes with a built-in FTP feature. You can use this feature to manually backup your WordPress website to your computer as the backup feature of SiteGround doesn’t allow you to download the backup files. Unfortunately, the practice of downloading files using FTP has been abandoned by many site administrators due to security reason. They have switched to SFTP which is more secure.

In addition to security reason, using SFTP to download files is also more recommended as it has more stable connection.

SiteGround allows you to download your files using SFTP. However, it takes more effort as you are required to generate the SSH keys yourself. This post will show you how.

Using SFTP to Access WordPress Files on SiteGround

Step 1: Generate the SSH Key

As stated above, the process of using SFTP on SiteGround is a bit more complicated as you need to generate the SSH keys yourself.

First, login to SiteGround with your account and select a website you want to access the files of. Click Site Tools to access the control panel.

On the control panel screen, click the Devs menu and select SSH Keys Manager.

On the next step, enter a name of your SSH key and set the password. Click the CREATE button. Make sure to remember your password as you will need it every time you want to connect to your server.

Once the SSH key is created, you should see a new item. Click the three-dot icon on the newly created SSH key and select SSH Credentials to view the SSH username, hostname, and port.

Next, click the three-dot icon once again and select the Private Key this time.

On the appearing window, click the Copy to Clipboard button to copy the private key. Create a new text file (you can use TextEdit, Notepad, or Gedit) and paste the key. You can save the file in any format (e.g., .txt).

Step 2: Create a New SFTP Connection Using an FTP Client App

Once the SSH key file is created, the next step is to create a new connection using an FTP client app of your choice. Three popular FTP client apps you can use are:

  • FileZilla (available for macOS, Windows, and Linux)
  • Cyberduck (available for macOS and Windows)
  • WinSCP (available for Windows only)

In this example itself, we use FileZilla.

Open FileZilla and go to File -> Site Manager. Click the New site button on the appearing dialog.

Give your site a name on the left panel. Once done, switch to the right panel. Under the General tab, change the protocol to SFTP. Enter the hostname, username and port. On the Logon Type option, change to Key file.

Click the Browse button on the Key file option and select the SSH key file you have just created on step one above. FileZilla will ask your permission to convert the file into a format it supports. Click the Yes button to allow FileZilla to convert the file. When asked for the password, type the password you created when creating the SSH key on step one. Click the Connect button to start the connection.

That’s it. You can now access your WordPress files. On FileZilla itself, remote files are on the right panel while the local files are on the left panel. To download remote files, you can simply drag it from the right panel to the left panel. Similarly, to upload a local file to server, you can do so by dragging it from the left panel and drop it to the right panel.

The Bottom Line

SiteGround is a popular web hosting service for WordPress. It has SSH manager feature that you can access your WordPress files using a more secure connection. You can use this feature to manually backup your WordPress website on your local storage as the built-in backup feature of SiteGround doesn’t allow you to download the WordPress files, unlike SiteGround alternatives like Kinsta and Rocket.net. Although the process is a bit more complicated, using SFTP to download your WordPress files is recommended so much. In addition to security reason, SFTP also offers more stable connection than FTP.

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Aliko Sunawang

Aliko is a WordPress expert and lead blogger at WPPagebuilders. He has been blogging with WordPress since 2012. He is responsible of all content published on this website.
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