FTP Connection fails at 'Retrieving Directory Listing' or 'Connection Established, waiting for welcome message'

Problem Description

You cannot connect via FTP; the server accepts your username and password, but fails when retrieving a drectory listing or while waiting for welcome message.

You might receive an error like one of the following:

  • Unable to build data connection: Connection timed out
  • MLSD: Connection timed out
  • [R] List Error
  • Error: Failed to retrieve directory listing

Solution: Connect using Passive mode

You must enable Passive (PASV) mode in your FTP client. There are a few ways that your FTP client may represent this setting. It may be called "Enable Passive (PASV) mode" or conversely, "disable Active (PORT) mode". Note: Active and PORT mode are one and the same, as are Passive and PASV mode.

If you use FileZilla, it comes with Passive mode enabled by default, however if it has been changed at some point, you can re-enable Passive mode by completing the following steps

  1. Open Filezilla and open the settings (under the Edit menu)
  2. Under "Connection" select "FTP"
  3. The section at the top is called Transfer Mode. Within that, choose "Passive Mode"
  4. Click OK. You should now be able to connect.
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