FileZilla on Pantheon

Information about using the FileZilla FTP client for your Pantheon Drupal or WordPress site.


FileZilla is a free open source FTP client that is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Getting Started

Make sure you have your Pantheon SFTP credentials on hand; you will need this later to connect to Pantheon using FileZilla.

Download FileZilla

If you do not have FileZilla installed, download the latest version and install it on your computer.

Configure FileZilla

Open FileZilla and launch the Site Manager by clicking the first icon in the menu bar, or by going to the File Menu > Site Manager option. From the Site Manager screen, click the New Site button.

Enter your SFTP connection details:

For Host, enter the host string from your Pantheon environment's Connect With SFTP dialog box.

Adding a new site to the Site Manager


Be sure to set the Protocol: to SFTP (not FTP) and the server port to 2222.

Under the Advanced Tab, leave the Remote Directory blank.


Select from one of the following Logon Type: options in the General tab:

  • For SSH Key-Based authentication set the Logon Type: dropdown to "Key file". In the Key file: box enter the path to or browse and select your private SSH key (usually named id_rsa) associated with the public key loaded into your User Dashboard.

  • For Password-Based authentication:

    1. Set the Logon Type: dropdown to "Normal"
    2. For User enter the Pantheon environment account name from your Pantheon environment's Connect With SFTP dialog box.
    3. For Password, enter your dashboard password. You can also select the "Ask for password" type if you don't want to save the password and instead be prompted for it every time you can connect.

Connection Prompt

When you first connect via SFTP you may be prompted to accept the server's host key and store it in cache for future connections. This allows you to connect to the server and manage your files for the current session.

Access Code and Files

After logging in, you can access your application code in the /code directory.

Your file uploads (Drupal's sites/default/files and WordPress's wp-content/uploads) can be found in the files directory. Your log files can be found in the /logs directory.


File transfer failed on production environments

Starting at the Performance Medium service level up to Elite plans, the Test and Live environments are provisioned with multiple application containers. When transferring files over SFTP into production environments, you may experience the following error:

/srv/bindings/SITE-BINDING/files/somefile.ext: open for read: no such file or directory
Error:            File transfer failed

This error can also occur when the application container has been migrated. Confirm that the host path is correct before continuing.

Resolve instances of transfer failures by reconfiguring FileZilla to limit the number of simultaneous connections:

  1. Under the File menu, click on Site Manager.

  2. Select your site profile, then the Transfer Settings tab.

  3. Check Limit number of simultaneous connections:

    Limit simultaneous connections in Filezilla

  4. Set the Maximum number of connections to 1.

See also, this FAQ on our related SFTP doc.

Fallback Solution If File Transfer Fails

If all else fails, you can connect directly to an application container via the IP address. Use Dig to find the IP address:

dig +short

Uploading to the Files Directory

FileZilla does not correctly upload files when the target directory on Pantheon is files. We recommend setting the target directory to code/sites/default/files (for Drupal 7) or code/web/sites/default/files (for Drupal 8), which are symlinks to files on Pantheon. If you experience issues using FileZilla, try the task using an alternate program such as Transmit (Mac OS) or WinSCP (Windows).

nodename nor servname provided, or not known

The following error is caused by an invalid hostname, most often the result of a typo:

Error:            ssh_init: nodename nor servname provided, or not known
Error:            Could not connect to server

Site Manager

Features offered in the FileZilla Site Manager (like Synchronized Browsing) are not supported because the Pantheon platform sometimes migrates sites across appservers without warning and the non-static binding string will change. This means that while you can set up your site in the Site Manager, you will need to reconfigure the login information and file paths whenever the dev environment site binding changes.

The value for Default remote directory in the Site Manager can be copied from the Remote site field in the main window, and you can append code to the path to synchronize with your local codebase. Remember that the site binding is subject to change.

Quickconnect is refusing to connect

The following error is always thrown when using the Quickconnect option in FileZilla:

Error:        	Cannot establish FTP connection to an SFTP server. Please select proper protocol.
Error:        	Critical error: Could not connect to server

Quickconnect does not give options for protocol selection. You need to manually add the protocol (sftp://) in the Host field.