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Upcoming FTP Removal


Wednesday, June 16th, 2021 - General

Edit (Wednesday, September 8th, 2021) – to include WinSCP as the preferred SFTP client.

We are planning to disable FTP on all of our servers at some point in the future. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use FTP to manage the files on your website.

Instead of FTP, we will be replacing the service with SFTP. SFTP functions practically identical to FTP, except it’s simpler and built from a secure foundation.

Most modern FTP clients will function as an SFTP client as well. Modern application developers have known about the shortcomings of FTP for years and have been preparing for its demise. Unfortunately there are just too many FTP client applications out there for us to provide a guide for each and everyone of them. The bottom line is, you need to check with your FTP application, probably in the Site Manager or Connection Manager of the FTP application, and check to see if it supports the SFTP protocol for your web hosting FTP connection. You simply need to change the protocol to use SFTP and specify an SFTP port – which for our servers is Port 9122.

We’ve taken to recommending WinSCP as the preferred SFTP client. You can download WinSCP free at:

https://winscp.net

Below we have some images from Winscp’s Site Manager to illustrate these changes.

WinSCP Site Manager settings

The key takeaways here:

File Protocol: SFTP
Hostname: %your_domain_name%
Port: 9122
Username: %your_webhosting_account_username%
Password: %your_webhosting_account_password%

And that’s it. Now when you connect, you’ll be using SFTP and connecting securely.

Why are we making this change?
FTP by nature is not a secure protocol. That means everything you send along the connection is not encrypted and is viewable to anyone that might be listening on the connection. While the connection can be made secure, it’s just difficult to enforce this because FTP wasn’t written with security like this in mind.

FTP is also a bit more complex. It consists of a control channel and a data channel. This made more sense back when Internet connections were not as robust as they are today. It’s just a sign of times, older technologies always get pushed out and that’s whats happening with FTP. But again, SFTP is largely a drop in replacement that only requires a slight configuration change by the end-user.

Additionally cPanel is moving to dropping FTP on their platform, so a move to rid ourselves of a reliance on FTP is needed.

When will FTP be remove?
We don’t have an exact date. We’re waiting to see how well our users embrace SFTP and how quickly they can move off of FTP. We’re probably targeting late 2021, although this could also change if cPanel moves up it’s deprecation of FTP.

We will be sending out notices to users on our server that still use FTP and notifying them of this upcoming change. The hope is that all of those users will be able to seamlessly move to SFTP and this change can move forward fairly quickly. However, if users are relying on very old FTP applications that may make the shutdown more difficult. The concern with users that are using very old FTP applications that do not support SFTP is that they may be leaving themselves vulnerable to other security implications by relying on very old and antiquated software.

There’s been a sharp uptick in malware, keylogging, and ransomware attacks over the past several months. The move to disable FTP and replace it with SFTP is meant to better safeguard our services from these attacks. In security you’re only as secure as your least secure entry point and right now, FTP is one of, if not the, least secure entry points on our servers. So removing FTP is going to serve to better secure our servers and your account.


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