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Connect GNOME File Manager or Windows Explorer to an ISPConfig 3 site

This tutorial shows you how to set up site file access in the file management application on your workstation. This tutorial shows this on Linux and Windows. Thanks to Sananjalka for comments and proofreading.

I was motivated to write this tutorial when it looked like there is a great demand for integrating a file manager into ISPConfig. Since such a beast does not exist, I describe another method for achieving similar goals.

Use the file manager with ISPConfig

A workstation with a GUI has a file manager for browsing files, working with the files, and launching applications as such as text editors to manipulate a file.

For SSH connections, create a scale user in the ISPConfig panel. For scale users, it is better to set Chroot Shell to Jailkit, which creates a captive user (see chapter Links for more information).

For FTP connections, create an FTP user in the ISPConfig panel.

Both scale users and FTP users are created for a site and have access to files on that site and only those.

Connects to SSH

The following is tested on Ubuntu 18.04. The screenshots below will guide you through the process. Mount the site directory to the workstation in File Manager (file icon on left panel, marked with " 1. " in the first screenshot.

 Start File Manager to mount the site files [19659005] Other Places entry (marked " 2. " in the screenshot above) opens a popup window where the connection to remote hosts can be established.

 Establish connection with SSH

SSH keys do not need to enter the password, and if you plan to use this connection often, it is good to set up passwordless logins with SSH keys. See chapter Links at the end of this tutorial.

The installation is tested with a site that happens to have WordPress installed, which works with any CMS or regular HTML files installed on the site. if files on the workstation's local disk are used.

 Displays WordPress files

Disconnecting from the SSH bracket is done in the same way as removing any other mount, ie by clicking the mouse on the Unmount button for the mounted unit.

 Disable SSH mounting

Connecting to FTP

This works just like with SSH, except for ftp: // as the protocol for connecting to the server.

 Connects to FTP

For username and password, use account info for FTP users. For FTP connection, the password must be entered, it is not possible to use password-free login (except with anonymous FTP, but do not use it for website FTP access).

 FTP Account User and Password [19659005] Unlinking from the FTP bracket is done in the same way as for SSH mounts.

For good measure I also tested on Debian 10, works the same way. To make sure no extra needs to be installed, I tested both SSH and FTP connections on newly installed standard Ubuntu 20.04 without any complications.

Windows 10

Connected by SSH

Tested on Windows 10, Winver shows 2004 19041.264.

For instructions on installing and using SSHFS on Windows, see "SSHFS for Windows" (see Chapter Links). The "factory version" of Windows does not support SSHFS, additional components must be installed: winfsp and sshfs-win.

Read the instructions for SSHFS For Windows, first install the necessary components and then use the correct UNC syntax for the connection. Using \ sshfs [email protected] only shows the scale user's home directory with no way to access the site files. So the correct syntax for use with the ISPConfig user of the site's shell is

  \ sshfs.r  [email protected]  web 

The screenshots are from the Finnish language version of Windows 10.

 SSHFS for Windows Connecting

Windows File Manager displays the same site files as in previous Linux chapters:

 WordPress files in WIndows File Manager

Disconnect by clicking the other mouse button remote connection entry on the left panel, a popup shows the switching function.


Connecting with FTP from Windows 10 File Manager proved to be the most difficult to install and did not work very well. I followed the instructions from https://www.betterhostreview.com/connect-ftp-site-server-file-explorer-windows-10.html. "M 19199009005. It seems to me that the FTP connection is not made as a bracket. Instead, it behaves like File Manager is just an FTP client and not a good client. FileZilla was easier to work with.

If this FTP connection is used, it seems to me that the host name used in UNC must be included in certificate for the FTP server.

Other OS

I did not have access to other operating systems, I suppose similar methods work on all modern operating systems used on workstations.

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