The Linux Page

FileZilla receives a Timeout error when trying to connect to GoDaddy sFTP -- Error: Network error: Connection timed out

Train Wreck, meaning that the driver is now in timeout!

Today I had to work with a customer who decided to use GoDaddy to host their WordPress website. It's not a bad platform, they actually include quite a bit of integration between the WordPress installation on your server and your GoDaddy account. It gives you access to various functions and keeps track of necessary upgrades.

The account for the Hosting also includes information about sFTP. You can connect to your server using the SSH (Secure SHell) server and use that to send FTP commands to handle file transfers securely.

Your account may also have an FTP, I did not try. Just remember that port 21 is not secure. Port 22 is encrypted, so it is considered very secure in comparison. So I strongly suggest you do not try with port 21. It can give away your login and password credential to a hacker listening at your traffic.

To reach the page with the sFTP information, you need to be logged in your GoDaddy account, go to Hosting, select the domain concerned with the problem, then click on sFTP on the bottom right. This opens a pop with information about your sFTP account. Note that you only get one account with which to connect in this way.

The information in the account showed four elements as follow:

1. Domain name

This is domain name of your website. In case of my client, it was:

We entered that parameter in the Host field of FileZilla.

2. User Name

The Hosting system of GoDaddy creates a Unix user for you and that makes use of your domain name plus a few digits. This allows for a more secure sFTP account since its unlikely that a hacker can guess that account user name.

We entered that parameter in the Username field of FileZilla.

3. Password

The GoDaddy system also assigns a password specific to that Unix user account. This is not the same password as your GoDaddy account password. Again this increases security levels by not allowing you to create a password which would likely not be as strong (too short, not using all types of characters available, etc.)

We entered that parameter in the Password field of FileZilla.

4 Port

The sFTP port is 22. As mentioned above, this is really the SSH port. This ensures an encrypted connection from the get go. This is much better than the old solutions of securing FTP by using the Kerberos or similar extensions. These old extensions would still use unencrypted connections and process commands through an unencrypted connection. The Kerberos encryption was used to login (for the Username and Password) and for the data transfer, but not absolutely everything.

If the port says 21, then this is NOT an encrypted FTP connection.

We entered 22 in the Port fieldof FileZilla.

Quick Connect

Then we clicked on the Quick Connect button. This did start the FTP connection process. We could see that the TCP/IP connection happened since it said that it started sending commands. However, it pretty much immediately timed out (the time out delay is fairly long, like 1 or 2 minutes... but it did nothing else than time out.)

Error: Network error: Connection timed out
Error: Could not connect to server

Looking around at why that could be, I found pretty much no good answer on the Internet, which is why I am writing this entry:

Real Timeout

There are, obviously, several reasons why this can happen. It could very well be a tru timeout: i.e. for some reason the connection does not take and your network stack decides that the connection won't take and it just times out.

Invalid Credentials

Most of us are going to copy & paste the info from the GoDaddy account to FileZilla to make sure we got it right. Please check that all your parameters are properly entered. That no characters are missing at the start or the end of each entry. It is pretty easy to miss something like that.


If you Firewall is up, please make sure that it does not prevent connecting to your website and the FTP domain name and port. This can be a little more challenging for you. Go on and see what really fixed the problem... and if that still doesn't work for you, you may want to try this again.

Remember that there are anti-virus software, such as McAfee, that capture connection attempts and prevent them. However, these usually open a popup window and ask you whether you want to move forward or not. So this problem is generally not the one affecting you, especially because in most cases connecting to the outside is pretty much always allowed.

Version of FileZilla

This is very likely not an issue. FileZilla has pretty much daily updates. I have no clue when they are updating because FTP (File Transfer Protocol) has not changed since inception and frankly there should be nothing more for FileZilla to fix in their code. It's very stable and works...

That being said, some people have reported that by upgrading FileZilla it solved their problem. This may have been a much older version that was indeed bogus.

The Real Solution

What worked for us was actually a small tweak to the parameters:

We changed the Host Name with the parameter the system really wants:

The IP Address.

When you look up the sFTP parameters, they include an address which exists ("works") since you can ping it and even connect to it on a few ports However,that was the culprit all along...

Once we replaced the domain name with the IP address and clicked on the Quick Connect button, it connected in no time and we could quickly see the list of files in the top folder of the WordPress installation. Just the way it should be.

I hope this helps you. If you find a different problem to resolve this timeout let me know in a comment. Thank you.