Configuring SFTP for macOS

  • Updated

This topic describes how to configure and use secure encrypted data transfer with macOS (previously OS X) via Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). File transfer is often needed for data exchange when integrating external systems with Optimizely Campaign.

Configuration steps

  1. Creating a key pair
  2. Downloading and installing Cyberduck
  3. Downloading and installing Cyberduck
  4. Establishing an SFTP server connection

Step 1: Creating a key pair

  1. From the Utilities folder, open Terminal.

    Image: Open Terminal

  2. Enter ssh-keygen and press Enter.

    Image: Enter ssh-keygen

  3. Enter a file path and file name for the key pair. For example, to save the key pair to your desktop in a file called key, enter /Users/<name of your user folder>/Desktop/key. Press Enter to confirm.

    Image: Enter file path

    By default, Terminal suggests the hidden .ssh folder in your user folder as the file location, and the id_rsa as the file name. Unless changed, the key pair is saved in that directory using that file name. The private key is given the id_rsa file name, while the public key is assigned the .pub extension. In this example, the public key name is

    To see the name of your user folder, click Go>User folder in the MacOS Finder menu. Finder opens a window with the user folder name at the top.

    Image: User folder

  4. In the Enter passphrase dialog box, enter your password (not visible).

    Image: Enter passphrase

    Remember your password, you need it later to establish a server connection.

  5. Re-enter your password and press Enter.
  6. The key fingerprint is shown in the Terminal window following The key fingerprint is:. Copy the key fingerprint to a text document and save it.

    Image: Copy key fingerprint

Step 2: Configuring a user account for SFTP access

  1. Email your public key (file with .pub extension) to Optimizely customer support.
  2. In a separate email, send your key fingerprint to Optimizely customer support.

    For security reasons, do not send the public key and key fingerprint together.

  3. Optimizely customer support configures the account, and sends you an email with your user account data.

Step 3: Downloading and installing Cyberduck

Cyberduck is a free program used for establishing a connection to the server.

  1. Using a browser, go to
  2. Click Download Cyberduck for Mac.
  3. When the download finishes, open the folder with Cyberduck. No installation is required.
  4. Optional: move Cyberduck to a permanent folder, such as Programs or Utility programs.

Step 4: Establishing an SFTP server connection

  1. Open Cyberduck.
  2. To create a bookmark for connecting to the server, click the plus icon + at the bottom.

    Image: Add bookmark

  3. Click the top options menu and select SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol).

    Image: Select SFTP/SSH connection

  4. Fill out the information as follows.


    • Nickame: Enter a name to the bookmark.
    • Server: Enter the address
    • Username: Enter name as provided by Optimizely.
    • In the field SSH Private Key, select Choose ...
  5. Go to your private key folder and select the private key.


    Do not confuse the private key with the public key. When filling in the field SSH private key option, make sure to select your private key.

  6. Click Choose on the bottom-right.
  7. Close the bookmark configuration dialog box by clicking the red close button.


  8. To establish a server connection, double-click the saved bookmark.


  9. When prompted for a password, enter the one from Step 1: Creating a key pair.