How to fix common connection issues in FileZilla

FileZilla is a popular, free, and open-source FTP/SFTP application often used to transfer files between a local PC and a remote server. 

FileZilla works well with HostPapa servers. However, you may encounter the following error message while transferring your files:

Status: Connection attempt failed with "ECONNREFUSED - Connection refused by server".
Error: Could not connect to server

The FileZilla Could Not Connect To Server error can occur for several reasons. In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common causes and potential solutions. 

1. Too many simultaneous connections

You can protect your FTP server resources by limiting the number of simultaneous connections the server can support. Once the limit is reached, any other connection requests will be refused until the number of live connections drops. Please note that on standard HostPapa website hosting services, this limit cannot be changed. You can, however, view and manually revise the number of current FTP connections in cPanel. 

To view the number of live connections on the server, navigate to Files > FTP Connections in cPanel. If you have a high number of live connections, you can remotely disconnect users from the server from this page.

FTP Connections

If you’re managing a HostPapa VPS server, you can adjust the FTP connection limit using WHM’s FTP Server Configuration page.

WHM

An alternative approach is to limit the number of concurrent connections permitted in FileZilla. HostPapa recommends limiting the number of simultaneous connections for a site to 2. Use the following steps to limit your connections:

If you have not already created a Site Manager entry for your server, do so by clicking the Site Manager icon, or select File > Site Manager from the top menu.

Enter the appropriate connection information for your server. You can find your FTP Server credentials in your HostPapa welcome email or My cPanel at Files > FTP Accounts.

Open Site Manager and select the server by clicking the site name in the Select Entry column. In the example below, we selected “examplesite”:

Click the Transfer Settings tab.

Now click the checkbox to select Limit number of simultaneous connections.

In the box next to Maximum number of connections, enter 2.

 

Ensure your Transfer Settings are as follows:

Click OK to complete the configuration.

You may need to initially disconnect all concurrent connections on the server side for this fix to work. Disconnect the connections via My cPanel at Files > FTP Connections.

2. A firewall, antivirus, or similar program is blocking the connection

When troubleshooting connectivity issues, be sure to check your PC’s firewall and antivirus settings. Make sure that FTP or SFTP connections from the client to the server are not being blocked. Ensure common FTP ports such as 21 and 22 are open for connections and that the FileZilla application “filezilla.exe” is not being blocked.

3. Use an FTP Hostname Prefix

If you use services like Sitelock or Sucuri proxy/firewall for your site, you may need to add ftp. before your FTP hostname in FileZilla for the connection to succeed. In the example below, “examplesite.com” is modified to “ftp.examplesite.com.”

4. Change the default FTP port from 21 to 22  

The default port used for standard FTP connections to HostPapa servers is 21, while the default port for Secure FTP (SFTP) is 22. If the server configuration requires an SFTP connection to be used, changing the port number in the FileZilla client software from 21 to 22 should resolve the issue. To change the port, simply enter “22” in the Port field in FileZilla.

In the example below, FileZilla is configured to attempt connecting to examplesite.com with the username “testuser.” The port number is set to “21”.

Below are the same settings, with the port number modified to 22.

For Site Manager connections, ensure the number in the Port field is set to 22 and that SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol is selected for Protocol.

Site Manager

5. Set the transfer mode to “Passive”

FTP Clients can use a Passive or Active mode to transfer files, with Active Mode generally selected as the default. However, depending on your configuration, you may experience connectivity issues with Active Mode. Switching the transfer mode to “Passive” can resolve “connection refused” errors. Passive FTP connections can be more firewall-friendly and are more likely to succeed in some circumstances.

Open Site Manager and select the server by clicking the site name in the Select Entry column. In the example below, we have selected “examplesite.”

Click the Transfer Settings tab.

Click the radio button labelled Passive.

Here’s an example of a correctly-configured Transfer Settings tab:

Click OK to proceed.

You may need to initially disconnect all concurrent connections on the server side for this to work. Disconnect the connections via My cPanel at Files > FTP Connections.

If you need help with your HostPapa account, please open a support ticket from your dashboard.

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