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Why can’t I upload files using FTP?

The primary reason for FTP issues often lies in the inactive state of the passive FTP transfer mode in your FTP program. “Passive mode” becomes essential in the following scenarios:

  • If you use a DSL or cable modem.
  • If you utilize an Internet sharing device or software for connecting multiple computers to the Internet using a single ISP connection.
  • If you have a personal firewall on your computer or are connecting from a network with a firewall, such as a company or ISP network.

(There might be other situations where it’s necessary consider trying the solution below even if you don’t believe you fall into any of these categories.)

The issue is particularly likely to be related to “Passive mode” if your FTP program appears to connect to our server but encounters difficulties transferring a file or displaying a list of files. It’s also the likely cause if you receive an error message mentioning a “PORT” command.

To resolve such connection problems, it’s crucial to activate the passive FTP transfer mode in your FTP program.

Regardless of the FTP program you are using, it almost certainly features a checkbox to enable “passive mode” in either the connection setup screen or the program preferences screen. Refer to the documentation for your FTP program if you’re unsure how to do it. (Look for the words “passive” or “PASV” in the settings; the checkbox is often labeled “PASV FTP” or something similar.)

Enabling passive mode typically resolves FTP connection issues.

What if FTP still doesn’t work?

If you’re still facing issues, follow these additional steps:

  1. Turn Off Firewalls:
    • As a test, turn off any firewall software, including features like Norton AntiVirus “Internet Worm Protection,” which acts as a firewall. If this resolves the problem, consult your firewall’s documentation to learn how to allow FTP connections with the firewall turned on.
  2. Disable SSL/TLS Encryption:
    • If enabled, try disabling SSL/TLS encryption in your FTP program, as it may not be compatible with all firewalls.
  3. Connect to a Different FTP Server:
    • Attempt to connect to a different public FTP server. This helps determine if the issue is specific to the connection with our FTP server or if your computer is having problems connecting to any FTP servers.

Server hostname: ftp.earthlink.net
Username: anonymous
Password: anonymous

  1. If your computer cannot connect to that server, your FTP software may not be working correctly, or something on your computer (likely a firewall or other security software) is blocking all FTP connections. Consider trying alternative FTP software such as the free FileZilla.

Try a Text Connection to Our Servers

These instructions outline how to establish a text-based connection to our servers, replicating what your FTP program usually does invisibly. This allows you to see exactly how our servers respond to your FTP program, aiding in pinpointing the source of the problem.

Follow these steps:

  1. Enable Telnet (Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8):
    • Telnet is not installed by default on Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8. Install it by:
      • Clicking the Windows Start button, then choose Control Panel.
      • Choosing Programs (or Programs and Features).
      • Choosing Turn Windows features on or off.
      • Checking the Telnet Client checkbox.
      • Clicking OK to finish the installation.
  2. Open a Command Window:
    • Open a command window based on your operating system:
      • For Windows 7 or earlier: Click the Start button, then choose All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt.
      • For Windows 8: Type “command prompt” at the Start screen and press enter.
      • For Mac OS X: Open the “Terminal” application.
  3. Type a “telnet” Command:
    • Once the command window is open, type the following command (replace “ftp.yourdomainname.com” with your actual domain name) and press Enter:

telnet ftp.yourdomainname.com 21


220-This is a private system – No anonymous login
220 You will be disconnected after 2 minutes of inactivity.

  1. If you don’t see these lines, contact us and provide the exact response you receive, as it indicates something is blocking your computer’s connections to our FTP server. Be sure to copy and paste all the command window text into your message to us, as it’s all important. We’ll assist you in determining the cause of the problem, though in some cases, you may need to consult your network administrator.

(You can close the command window when you’re done with the tests above.)