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Last Reviewed: February 18, 2020

Troubleshooting SFTP

Get solutions to common SFTP troubleshooting scenarios.

This section provides solutions to common SFTP troubleshooting scenarios.

I can't connect to the site via SFTP

Make sure your site has not spun down after being idle. Visit the site in your web browser and let it fully load then try connecting again.

If your site is not idle and your SFTP settings are correct (including SFTP mode and port 2222) you may be on a network that restricts what outbound ports you can access. An example may be an office or public wifi that only allows web traffic on port 80 (HTTPS) and 443 (HTTPS).

A simple way to test for outbound network restrictions is to load a special web site that listens on all ports. To test your access outbound on port 2222, try to load this web page in your web browser:

If you cannot access that web page then your network or firewall is likely preventing you from accessing port 2222 outbound. Contact your network administrators to allow outbound access on port 2222. Advanced users may also be comfortable establishing an SSH tunnel through another server instead.

If you can access that web page on port 2222 then your issue does not appear to be network or firewall related. Be sure to double-check or re-enter your SFTP settings, including SFTP mode and port 2222. Contact Pantheon Support if you still have trouble.

I can't write to my codebase on Test or Live.

This is part of the Pantheon WebOps workflow that keeps code and content safe. Please see Using the Pantheon Workflow for more information.

SFTP changes do not show up in the Site Dashboard.

Uncommitted SFTP changes may not be recognized by the Dev environment when the Site Dashboard is open in multiple tabs or windows. Close all windows and tabs then access the Site Dashboard in a single tab to resolve.

How do I find my site's remote path?


You should not manually set the "Remote Path" in your SFTP client's settings. This path changes from periodically due to the platform architecture. It is strongly recommended that you leave the Remote Path blank, and you will automatically be redirected to the correct directory when logging in.

You can find the Remote Path, also known as the binding path, after connecting to SFTP via the command line, using the pwd (print working directory) command:

sftp> pwd
Response: Remote working directory: /srv/bindings/daa068ccf4f8414596cddf5xxxxx

I am receiving errors connecting to my server with an SFTP client.

This is caused by using the SFTP application's default connection settings. We recommend you set the connection limit to 1 and then connect to your site.

Do not specify a default remote directory within your SFTP client. When application containers are migrated, which can be done at anytime, the remote directory will change.

I can't move files or folders from one directory to another.

This is a known limitation of using SFTP for on-server development on the platform. Our SFTP mode doesn't support the mv command used by most SFTP applications when moving or renaming files. You can work around the limitation by transferring the files from your local machine or using rsync.

DNS Connection Issues

Status: Connecting to
Response:    fzSftp started
Command:    open "" 2222
Error:  ssh_init: Host does not exist
Error:  Could not connect to server

Trouble resolving the server hostname or other DNS-related issues can generally be resolved by using Google's Public DNS service in place of your ISP's name servers. Refer to Google's Public DNS for instructions.

If you're already using Google's DNS, or you're still having connection issues after updating your name-servers, consider trying an alternative SFTP client. Many times when FileZilla won't connect, however, Cyberduck (or another client) will. Refer to a list of SFTP clients for more options.

DNS Hijacking Issues

There have been observed cases in which Internet Service Providers (specifically Indonesian Telecom) hijack DNS, leaving you unable to connect via SFTP due to a timeout error:

Unable to connect to host, or the request timed out.
Be sure that the address is correct and that you have the necessary privileges, or try increasing the connection timeout (currently 10 seconds).
  1. Replace SITE_UUID with your site's UUID and run the following to obtain the returned IP address:

  2. Locate the returned IP within the ANSWER portion of the output:

  3. Run the address through IP WHOIS Lookup and review the results. The following is an example of DNS hijacking:

% []
% Whois data copyright terms

% Information related to 'xx.xx.xx.0 - xx.xx.xx.255'

inetnum:        xx.xx.xx.0 - xx.xx.xx.255
netname:        TLKM_BB_SERVICE_36_86
descr:          PT TELKOM INDONESIA
                STO Gambir 3rd Floor
                Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan No. 12
                Jakarta 10110
country:        ID
admin-c:        AR165-AP
tech-c:         HM444-AP
mnt-by:         MAINT-TELKOMNET
mnt-irt:        IRT-IDTELKOM-ID
changed:        [email protected] 20130123
source:         APNIC

Unfortunately, no permanent solution has been found aside from changing Internet Service Providers. In some cases, you may be able troubleshoot the issue with your ISP or connect using a VPN.

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