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Connecting to your Linux or Unix instance in Amazon Lightsail using SFTP

Last updated: December 18, 2020

You can transfer files between your local computer and your Linux or Unix instance in Amazon Lightsail by connecting to your instance using SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol). To do this, you must get the private key for your instance, and then use it to configure the FTP client. This tutorial shows you how to configure the FileZilla FTP client to connect to your instance. These steps may also apply to other FTP clients.

Contents

Prerequisites

Complete the following prerequisites if you haven't already:

Get the SSH key for your instance

Complete the following steps to get the default private key for the AWS Region of your instance, which is required to connect to your instance using FileZilla.

Note

If you’re using your own key pair, or you created a key pair using the Lightsail console, locate your own private key and use it to connect to your instance. Lightsail does not store your private key when you upload your own key or create a key pair using the Lightsail console. You cannot connect to your instance using SFTP without your private key.

  1. Sign in to the Lightsail console.

  2. Choose Account on the top navigation bar, and then choose Account from the drop-down.

  3. Choose the SSH Keys tab.

  4. Choose Download next to the default private key for the region where your instance is located.

    SSH keypairs in the Lightsail console.
  5. Save your private key in a secured location on your local drive.

Configure FileZilla and connect to your instance

Complete the following steps to configure FileZilla to connect to your instance.

  1. Open FileZilla.

  2. Choose File, Site Manager.

  3. Choose New site, then give your site a name.

    New site configuration in FileZilla.
  4. In the Protocol dropdown, choose SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol.

  5. In the Host text box, enter or paste your instance’s public IP address.

  6. In the Logon Type dropdown, choose Key File.

  7. In the User text box, enter one of the following default user names depending on your instance operating system:

    • Amazon Linux, Amazon Linux 2, FreeBSD, and openSUSE instances: ec2-user

    • CentOS instances: centos

    • Debian instances: admin

    • Ubuntu instances: ubuntu

    • "Certified by Bitnami" instances: bitnami

    • Plesk instances: ubuntu

    • cPanel & WHM instances: centos

    Important

    If you are using a different user name than the default user names listed here, then you might need to give the user write permissions to your instance.

  8. Next to the Key File text box, choose Browse.

  9. Locate the private key file that you downloaded from the Lightsail console earlier in this procedure, and then choose Open.

    SFTP configuration in FileZilla.
  10. Choose Connect.

  11. You may see a prompt similar to the following example, indicating that the host key is uknkown. Choose OK to acknowledge the prompt and connect to your instance.

    Unknown host key in FileZilla.

    You are successfully connected if you see status messages similar to the following example:

    FileZilla successfully connected to an instance in Lightsail.

    For more information about using FileZilla, including how to transfer files between your local computer and your instance, see the FileZilla Wiki page.