Is it possible to generate an SSH key on a Windows machine and then use that key to connect to a server using SFTP via FileZilla?

This is all working with my Mac, but I have a client that is stuck in a Windows environment. Our server does not have traditional FTP access and I need to get him connected.

Details would be greatly appreciated.

3 Answers 3


FileZilla uses the PuTTY suite of tools for its SSH implementation. PuTTY supports using public keys, so by default so does FileZilla. It's as simple as downloading and running Pageant and importing your key, or generating a new one using PuTTYgen.

You can also manually specify a key file using menu EditSettings, item Connection (first item in the left panel)

  • anything special regarding synology devices and FileZilla? cause I can ssh without issues to it from terminal but setting up new connection using the same key renders: "FATAL ERROR: Received unexpected end-of-file from SFTP server"
    – Ewoks
    Commented Jan 13 at 20:03

If the private SSH key already exists, this can be done from within FileZilla, without the need to install extra software. Simply go to menu EditSettingsConnectionFTPSFTP.

Click button Add key file and add your private key there. It will convert the key for you.

  • 4
    Minor correction: You need to add the private key to FileZilla. The public key must be present on the server and the private key must be present on the client (i.e. FileZilla).
    – Chris
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 16:26
  • 3
    Is there any way to get FileZilla on Mac to show hidden files? I can't get it to navigate to ~/.ssh/
    – jchavannes
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 20:57
  • 1
    Answered my own question: superuser.com/questions/302732/…
    – jchavannes
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 20:59
  • It does not allow me to connect to my sftp server by using public key auth since FileZilla knows nothing about public key. openssh server knows only about public key. Filezilla also prints in connection log that 0 keypairs loaded from file. Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 14:01
  • @jchavannes: Like you said for Mac press: Shift-Command-Period while in the finder window Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 10:23

For a long time, FileZilla already has per-site key configuration. So it's not necessary to go to global Settings to add the key.

On "Login" (site manager) dialog:

  • select SFTP for Protocol
  • enter your Host
  • Select Key file for Logon type
  • enter your User
  • Browse for your Key file

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