Sftp errors on new Mac Mini

Hi all,
I’m transferring my server from an old iMac (High Sierra) to a 2018 SSD-based Intel Mac Mini (running Big Sur). I can’t seem to successfully upload to it remotely via sftp. The error I get from the detailed info from RW is:
“Error in the SSH layer. URL: sftp://XXXXX”

One other person in closed out post from 2019 had this problem but there didn’t appear to be a resolution. Googling suggested that Mac Minis running heedlessly (no keyboard/moinitor) may be susceptible to this problem, but I"m hoping for insight.

For now I can publish locally and use an sftp client (CyberDuck in my case) to upload, so I’m not sunk.

I upgraded to the newest RW 8 with now change int his behavior.

Thanks for any insights!

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I am having the same issue on two iMacs. I reduced my connections to one (1) and it still happens. I have been on RW 8 since it came out. I just moved to SFTP.

I don’t know how to fix this issue.

Might check out these articles


If after going through all the steps outlined above you still can’t figure it out, post back here with more information.

  • Name of hosting company
  • screenshots of your publishing settings
  • screenshot of the error message that you are getting
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Hi all,
What fixed this for me was noticing that since MacOS Catalina the permissions on the default Web documents folder in the standard Apache 2 installation on MacOS no longer has the group “admin” set for read/write privileges. Once I manually added “admin” as a Unix group and gave it read/write permission on the relevant directory/subdirectories, direct uploads via RW8 started working. Might be worth checking permissions on your setup.

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Sorry for the typos in that post. Sheesh!

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Can you be a bit more specific on the “default Web documents folder?” What is the connection between this folder and uploading to my host?

Like the OP, I can upload with Transmit without issue.

Host: 1and1.com now ionos.com

I doubt there is one.

Apache that comes pre-installed on macOS (my understanding the next macOS release it doesn’t come with Apache) is used for RW preview, but shouldn’t affect publishing.

For your reference the default Documents directory is

Notice it’s not in a user’s folder, but is straightaway off the root directory.

Apache 2 that comes with MacOS is located here:

Again, probably not an issue, and if you aren’t comfortable with terminal, I would probably stay away from these.

SFTP uses SSH (Secure SHell) to make the connection between your Mac and the host company. SSH uses a pair of keys, one private, one public, for security.
The standard location for those keys to be stored on your Mac is in a hidden directory ~/.ssh.
Since you can upload fine with Transmit (Transmit, FileZilla, RapidWeaver and most FTP apps use this path). then I doubt the problem is with SSH key-pair.

Without knowing more about your setup and exactly what happens when you publish, it’s hard to say what is causing the problem

The guides above give you more information about getting log files which can be helpful.


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