I'm having trouble using FTP with Box



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Box supports FTP (file transfer protocol) for Business and Enterprise customers. The purpose of FTP is for bulk migration of data. FTP is designed to be used for initial bulk upload and occasional bulk download of files from your account -- we do not recommend FTP as your main access method.

The user can either use FTP, FTPS, or FTPES. SFTP is not supported. Note when you upload a file with ftp, you will NOT get email notifications. This is intentional. Please note that we support Passive FTP, but not Active.

NOTE: Make sure you have FTP enabled for your account by going to the Admin console (ask the admin of the enterprise), then going to Apps, and then making sure FTP is enabled.

To Connect to Box with FTP Client

To Connect to Box with Command Line (Advanced users on Mac or Linux)

FTP (Mac/Linux):

  1. Open a terminal session or command prompt. Type:
    ftp ftp.box.com
    Then enter your username and password.
  2. Type passive
  3. Type epsv
  4. Use the lcd command to change your local directory
  5. For example: lcd /Users/user/Desktop
  6. To upload one file use put 
  7. ftp> put myfile.pdf <Enter>
  8. To upload many files use mput
    ftp> mput *.htm <Enter>
  9. Type quit to close the connection and go back to your original terminal window.

FTP with Windows Command Line:

Windows built-in ftp command line utility cannot support passive mode (even though "quote pasv" returns without any error). For customers that need command line ftp utility on Windows, please search for "MOVEit Freely Command Line FTP Client".


Open a terminal session

  • To connect to Box via ftps over Port 21:
shell> curl -1 -v --disable-epsv --ftp-skip-pasv-ip -u username@example.com --ftp-ssl ftp://ftp.box.com 
  •  To connect to Box via ftps over Port 990:
shell> curl -1 -v --disable-epsv --ftp-skip-pasv-ip -u username@example.com --ftp-ssl ftps://ftp.box.com:990

To upload a file:

Open a terminal session:

shell> curl -1 -v --disable-epsv --ftp-skip-pasv-ip -u username@example.com --ftp-ssl --upload-file filename ftp://ftp.box.com/<dir>/

Without the trailing "/" in "ftp://ftp.box.com/<dir>/", a "551 Box: Not Found" error will be generated.

Note: Curl doesn't actually stay connected like a typical connect command. For further help, type either command in your terminal: man curl or curl --help

FTPS is FTP with support for the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cryptographic protocols.

FTPS has two modes of operation:

  • Implicit: Port 990 is implicit. No handshake.
  • Explicit: Port 21. Also known as FTPES.

Firewall incompatibilities

Because FTP utilizes a dynamic secondary port (for data channels), many firewalls were designed to snoop FTP protocol control messages in order to determine which secondary data connections they need to allow. However, if the FTP control connection is encrypted using TLS/SSL, the firewall cannot determine the TCP port number of a data connection negotiated between the client and FTP server. Therefore, in many firewalled networks, an FTPS deployment will fail when an unencrypted FTP deployment will work. This problem can be solved with the use of a limited range of ports for data and configuring the firewall to open these ports.

SSO (Single Sign On)

FTP does not support SSO login credentials. You will need to create a Box specific password to supplement your SSO login. You can do so by visiting app.box.com/settings and selecting Create External Password. This password can be used for external applications that do not support SSO.

Two-Step Verification

If you have Two-step verification turned on for your account the workflow for logging in is as follows:

  • Try and login normally with your Box specific password
  • You will receive a text message containing a 6-character alphanumeric confirmation code separated by a space
  • Login again with that 6-character code as your actual FTP password
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