FileZilla - How to configure client for use with Duke University CIFS access


How do I configure the FileZilla client to access my CIFS account?



To connect to your CIFS home directory or web space, your computer needs to be connected to the Duke network. If you are unable to connect to the Duke network, connect via the Virtual Private Network (VPN). For instructions on how to do this, please read VPN instructions for Windows.

FileZilla Client is a fast and reliable cross-platform FTP, FTPS and SFTP (port 22) client with a number of useful features and an intuitive graphical user interface. If you've never used an SFTP client before, you will find this client relatively simple to use as it's based on the drag and drop concepts used in Windows and OS X.

You can download FileZilla and get answers to questions by clicking on this link


Connecting to Duke University using FileZilla

Once you've installed FileZilla, you will need to configure it to connect to your account using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

1. Go to File and select Site manager...


2. Create New site (You can rename site connection)

  • New site > General Tab
  • Select Protocol: SFTP - SSH File Transfer Protocol *
  • Host: "" *
  • Logon Type: Interactive

  • User: Enter your NetID using all lower case letters
  • Click Connect



3. Unknown host key prompt: The server's host key is unknown. You have no guarantee that the server is the computer you think it is. 

  • Check box to Always trust the host


4. Enter your NetID password


5. Complete Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

  • Choose your preferred MFA Option by entering the number of your choice and click OK
  • Example:
  • Type  "1" and Click OK
  • You will receive a push notification on your mobile device
  • Approve request to complete MFA and Connect





*This will connect you directly to your CIFS account. If you'd like to use FileZilla to connect to a different server for something other than accessing your CIFS account, please click on this link to see a list of server names.


Already have a site set up but are not getting prompted for MFA

If you have connected to FileZilla in the past and are getting errors such as the below. Follow the above instructions to Edit or Create a new Site connection so you will be prompted to log in with MFA.

  • No MFA prompt
  • Error: Server sent an additional login prompt. You need to use the interactive login type.
      Error: Critical error: Could not connect to server



Basic Usage of FileZilla

The section to the left, labeled Local site: shows the files accessible from on your computer. This will allow you to navigate your folders and files. Clicking on a folder will open it so that the files can be viewed in the files section below the folder tree.

The section to the right, labeled Remote site: shows the folders and files in your CIFS space. Click the + sign next to your NetID to show the folder structure of your CIFS volume.

NOTE: You will see a number of folders and files that may not look familiar. Please do not delete anything that doesn't look familiar as these system files and folders may be used to support your online account. It is recommended that you not delete files using FileZilla unless you're absolutely sure that they can be removed.


After you've selected the folders is each section, you can start transferring files. Select and click on any files in the Local site section, drag them to the files section of the Remote site, and release the mouse button. If you would like to move multiple files simultaneously, simply highlight those files together in the Local site and drag them over and they will be copied as a group.

The progress of the transfer will be shown at the bottom of the screen. There are tabs to show sections that denote Queued files that are currently being transferred, Failed transfers, and Successful transfers.


Files can also be copied from the Remote site to the Local site using the same click and drag process.


Using FileZilla to manage your personal web space

If you would like to add files for your personal website located at[NetID], you will want to open the public_html folder in the Remote site section. You can then transfer files into and out of this folder. Once the file transfer is complete, the changes will immediately be active on your site.

For more information on personal web space or CIFS, please click on this link.



Using FileZilla to manage your group web space 

If you would like to use FileZilla to manage a group web space that's already been created, you will want to manually type the path to your group space in the text box to the right of Remote site. The complete directory path to your group Web space directory is \\\PROJECT-WEB\web\n\shared-space\ where n is the first letter of your web space and shared-space is the name of your project
Example: For the web space chemistry, type \\\PROJECT-WEB\web\c\chemistry.




For additional help, please contact the OIT Service Desk at 919-684-2200 or click on this link for other ways to get help from OIT.


Article number: KB0021904

Valid to: March 23, 2024