Google Cloud Compute Engine

Google Cloud SFTP Setup using FileZilla Client

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In this post, I will help you setup FileZilla to manage your files on Google Cloud Compute Engine. You can connect, transfer and edit files on your VM Instance remotely.


  1. Your Compute Engine Instance running.
  2. For setting up Compute Engine, see the Setting up Compute Engine Instance.
  3. For installing Nginx and PHP, see how to install LEMP in Compute Engine Instance.
  4. Domain name is pointed to your virtual machine.
  5. For setting up Cloud DNS, see the Setting up Google Cloud DNS for your domain.
  6. Google Cloud SQL Setup, see Setup Cloud SQL and connect with Compute Engine.
  7. Setup your website, Setting up your website in Google Cloud Platform.

Steps to Connect and Transfer files to Instance

  1. Download PuTTY and FileZilla.
  2. Generate SSH Keys and save them.
  3. Paste your Public Key in Google Cloud Instance.
  4. Setup Public-key Authentication in FileZilla.
  5. Establishing a secure connection to your Instance.
  6. Transfer files to the instance.

Download PuTTY and FileZilla

Click on the links to download PUTTY and FileZilla Client and install them on your computer.

PUTTY is an SSH key generator to create a public/private key for encrypting the connections between Google Cloud Instance and FileZilla Client.

FileZilla Client is a tool to manage the website files remotely from your desktop.

Download PuTTY and FileZilla

Open the PUTTYgen tool and click the generate button.

PUTTYgen generate public/private key

Here a progress bar will appear and PuTTYgen will ask you to move the mouse around to generate randomness. So wave the mouse in circles over the blank area in the PuTTYgen window, and the progress bar will gradually fill up as PuTTYgen collects enough randomness.

When the progress bar reaches the end, PuTTYgen will begin creating the key.

When the key generation is complete, a new set of input fields will appear in the window to enter Key Comment.

Now change the Key Comment with your username.

Copy the generated public key from the top text field which starts with ssh-RSA and ends with your username.

PUTTYgen Public-key

Paste your Public Key in Google Cloud Instance

Go to your Google Cloud account and navigate to Compute Engine >> VM Instances.

Click the Compute Engine Instance you need to access and click edit.

Scroll down to find the SSH section and click show and edit.

Click Add Item.

Edit VM Instance

Now paste the key you copied from PUTTYgen tool in the provided field, once you have pasted the key you can see your username you provided while creating the public key.

Update the instance by clicking the save button.

Paste public key

Go back to the PUTTYgen tool and save the private key safely on your local computer.

Now you can close the PuTTYgen tool.

Setup Public-key Authentication in FileZilla

Open FileZilla and go to Edit >> Settings.

FileZilla settings

From the left settings menu navigate to Connections >> FTP >> SFTP.

Click Add key file button and select the private key you just saved using PUTTYgen.

Click Ok.

Establishing a secure connection to your Instance

To connect to your Google Cloud Instance you need the IP Address of your instance and the username you provided to create the public/private key.

In the FileZilla dashboard, in the Host field enter sftp://IPaddress. In the Username field enter your username. Click Quick Connect.

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That’s all now you can connect to your VM instance with FileZilla and manage your files from your desktop.


  1. Hello, I follow your step by step guild but am still getting an error on my FileZilla Software
    This is the error i keep receiving
    Disconnected: No supported authentication methods available (server sent: publickey)
    Could Not Connect To The server
    Please what may be wrong with my connections?

    • 1. Please confirm you have added the public key to the instance
      2. Make sure you are using the correct SSH port number, correct username and correct IP address

      If the above are correct and still you can’t connect, please try using another software like CyberDuck for Mac and WinSCP for Windows

      • Thanks For your quick response.
        1. I added the public key to the instance successfully
        2. I use the username that i used to generate the keygen. but i don’t know what you mean by SSH port number. Please can you explain this?
        Moreover. I discover that my website was down(Not Loading) after i enter the public key to the instance . I had to restart nginx and php via the command line i don’t know what was wrong. Do you have an idea what may went wrong? I am new to cloud hosting and your tutorial has helped me a lot. Thanks for your response

        • If you have added the SSH key added successfully and using the correct username then there should be no problem.
          Also as you mentioned your website was down, this happens if you didnt reserve your IP address and your IP address may have changed adding SSH key.
          So to sort this out please confirm your A record is pointing to the correct IP address and also you are also using the correct IP address while using SFTP

          If there is still problem you need to hire some professional to look into the issue.

  2. Mystagogue Reply

    Thank you, adding Public key (copy and paste into Google Cloud Platform); and uploading the Private key to Filezilla did help. Thanx

  3. Ibrahim Cherti Reply


    It’s connected but I didn’t found www directory on var ??

  4. What about permissions though? I can connect easily but I cannot remove or edit anything (permission denied)

    • You can use the following command to provide permisisons.
      sudo setfacl -R -m u:username:rwx path/to/your/files

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