As I have shared in past blog posts, I currently work for Site5.com and as part of my job I help customers from the over 6 million websites hosted to solve some issues. Recently one of the most used FTP applications, FileZilla, was updated. Unfortunately this new version literally broke the ability to connect to their FTP for many users of cPanel based hosting such as Site5.com. So I am doing this post as a tutorial to try to help all those people who are facing this exact same issue with their providers and FileZilla.

What is the error?

After connecting to the FTP server the connection times out. So you can’t get the directory listing no matter if you are on passive or normal mode.

Status: Connected
Status: Retrieving directory listing...
Command: PWD
Response: 257 "/" is your current location
Command: TYPE I
Response: 200 TYPE is now 8-bit binary
Command: PASV
Response: 227 Entering Passive Mode (xxx,xxx,xxx,xxx)
Command: MLSD
Error: Connection timed out
Error: Failed to retrieve directory listing

What the hell caused this error?

Hey, Don’t look at me! It’s FileZilla‘s fault. Starting on version 3.10 (read filezilla realease notes), FTP over TLS is now used by default way of connecting. So… what is FTP over TLS you might be asking yourself while scratching your head. Well you are in luck that I’m going to briefly explain it for you. FTP over TLS, or FTP Secure or FTPS, is nothing more than FTP with encryption that uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) to protect the communication between you and the FTP server. This way even if you are in your favorite coffee shop transferring files to your website, the hacker that is there for the past 4 hours scanning & snooping the WiFi network for passwords, will not be able to easily see which username/password you are using, since all the communication between you and the server is encrypted. But for some reason up this moment, unknown for me, the connection times out when trying to setup the communication between both parties. Sorry folks!

How can I solve this?

The solution is ridiculously simple, and it was given on the release notes for that same FileZilla release which states this (literally):

FTP over TLS is now used by default if the server supports it. Use of plain FTP can be enforced for a server in the Site Manager

So this means that you need to:

  1. Go to your FileZilla client
  2. Go to Site Manager
  3. And setup your connection to your FTP following the example below:

FileZilla - SiteManager Where you will replace yourdomain.com with the actual domain or hostname or IP of the server that you are trying to connect to. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you set Encryption to ONLY USE PLAIN FTP (INSECURE), other wise it will not work. The username name should be following that pattern ONLY if its a FTP username created on your cPanel’s FTP Account module. If the username that you have is the cPanel username, then you can only use the username without the @domain.com part. Setting up your FileZilla this way will guarantee that you connect without issues to the server and it will also save the configuration for the next time that you want to connect. It’s easy, go ahead and try it yourself! If you guys need further assistance, feel free to comment below or use my contact page to drop me a note. Have a great FTP UPLOADING experience!

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