How to FTP (or SFTP) From Your Mac

This guide will take you step by step through the process of using FTP or SFTP on your Mac.

Note: we also have a Windows version of this guide.

  1. Start by downloading CyberDuck – a free FTP App for macOS. Open the .dmg file once the download has completed, and drag CyberDuck to your Applications folder to install it. Once it’s installed, launch it from your Applications.
  2. Cyberduck in a Finder window

  3. Click the Open Connection button.
  4. the Open Connection button in Cyberduck

  5. First select the type of connection you want to make. Click the ‘up and down arrows’ button (see screenshot below) to select one.
  6. selecting a connection type in Cyberduck

  7. FTP is the default, but FTP-SSL and SFTP are both becoming more popular and common. Refer to the documentation that came with your FTP info to make sure you select the right one.
  8. choosing between FTP or SFTP connection on a Mac

  9. Enter the Server name in the space provided. The server name is usually provided to you by whomever created your FTP account. Enter your Username and Password in the spaces provided. NOTE: if you’re using FTP and not FTP-SSL or SFTP, there may not be a password field on this page. Don’t worry, wait till the next step :)
  10. ftp server information in Cyberduck

  11. If you weren’t prompted for a password on the previous screen, you will be now. Enter it in the space provided, and place a check in the box labeled Add to Keychain if you don’t want to enter your password each time you connect to this particular FTP/FTP-SSL/SFTP server.
  12. saving an FTP password

  13. And now you’ll connect to your FTP server. It may contain files and folders related to your web site if that’s the FTP server you’ve connected to. The window may be blank or empty if you’ve never uploaded any files or folders.
  14. making an FTP connection in macOS
    click to enlarge

  15. To create a new folder, select File from the Apple Menu, and then New Folder… from the drop-down list.
  16. Cyberduck creating a folder on an FTP site

  17. Enter a name for the folder, and click Create.
  18. naming a folder in Cyberduck

  19. CyberDuck will now create the folder. Double-click the folder name to ‘enter’ that folder.
  20. opening a remote ftp folder
    click to enlarge

  21. To upload files, locate them in your Finder, select the ones you want to upload, and then ‘drag and drop’ them to the main CyberDuck window.
  22. uploading a file via FTP on a Mac
    click to enlarge

  23. The main Cyberduck window will refresh and the files and/or folders you just uploaded will be listed. Also, the Transfers panel will indicate that everything was successful.
  24. the Transfers panel for Cyberduck

  25. To delete a file or folder, right-click it and select Delete from the pop-up menu. You can also rename files this way (select Rename…) etc.
  26. renaming an FTP folder

  27. If you want to save the FTP server information (so you don’t have to enter it every time you want to connect to it) – click the Bookmarks item from the Apple Menu and then select New Bookmark.
  28. adding an FTP bookmark

  29. Most of the info will be populated already, just make sure to give it a Nickname so that you can quickly identify it in the Bookmarks list.
  30. FTP bookmark options

  31. Congrats – you can now FTP or SFTP from your Mac! “Click around” in Cyberduck to find its other features, like how to see “hidden” files and folders. If you have any other questions regarding the use of CyberDuck, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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1 thought on “How to FTP (or SFTP) From Your Mac”

  1. Sajjad Haider

    I am using MacBook Pro. When I clicked the ‘FTP Configuration files’ from CyberDuck it returned a message something like ‘Safari cannot open the files’. Then I used the Chrome browser and downloaded it. Would appreciate if you could please advise of the reasons that Safari could not open the files. Thanks

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