Connecting with sFTP

The most commonly used link with Spotler is an integration to synchronise contacts. Do you send emails through Spotler on a regular basis? And would you like to import contacts in a more efficient way? There are various options in doing so, including a connection through Secure FTP, or sFTP for short. 

We can categorise the various types of connections into two groups: connections that synchronise in "batches" (periodically) and connections that synchronise in "real time" (continuously).  An sFTP connection falls under the 'batch' synchronization type.

Batch synchronization 

For an automatic file import in batches, an export is done from your external system periodically (at night for example). This export is provided to Spotler which imports it automatically. A 'batch synchronisation' works almost exactly the same as when you import a contact file in the Lists module manually. That contact file is also considered a 'batch'. The main advantage of the connection is that the import is automatic, but also that it is less prone to errors than a manual operation.

There are two options for establishing a sFTP connection:

  1. Import sFTP
  2. Export sFTP

1. Import via sFTP

An external system can place a contact file on a Spotler server through sFTP. Spotler automatically imports this file into the corresponding account and an import report is sent to a specified email address. 

2. Export via sFTP

After sending a mailing in Spotler, the response data can be put on a Spotler sFTP server via an automatic export. Response data can include the number of opens, clicks, bounces, etc. An external system then retrieves this file through the Spotler sFTP server. The response data can used to enrich data or for analysis. Both sFTP connections are available for all Spotler products.

Activating the sFTP licence in Spotler

If you want to use sFTP, the first step is to activate the license.

Go to the settings of your Spotler account. Under the tab Account & Billing, you can see Integrations on the left. Here, you can find an overview of all Spotler account integrations and activate them, including the sFTP.


To activate the sFTP integration, move your cursor across the sFTP integration and click on the button Activate.


The status will change from red to green. You can now get started with the authentication of the sFTP.

sFTP authentication

After activating the sFTP integration, you must configure the sFTP. Go to the tab Integrations. It immediately opens in the Configurations screen.


Under the heading Authentications you can see sFTP and a button for New authentication. Click on the button New authentication to generate data (such as a password) for the connection between your sFTP and your Spotler account. You will need to forward this data to the person who carries out the sFTP implementation.

If it concerns imports only, you can set up the sFTP configuration yourself. To set up the sFTP export, please contact your Spotler partner. 

Configure sFTP import

Which database fields do you want to import from the sFTP and which of these allow empty value(s)?
Just like with a manual import, it is important to link the fields in Spotler to the correct fields in the file. This way, Spotler knows that the First name field in your file must be linked to the First name field in Spotler.

You can configure the fields for the sFTP import using a manual import. The last import done in Spotler is leading for the configuration of the import from the sFTP.

When you're done with the import, go back to Settings and the Integrations tab. Move your cursor over the sFTP settings and click Configure in the drop-down menu.


A pop-up will open.


In this pop-up you will see:

  • Imported to: Select which recent manual import should be leading. Is this based on a static list or based on an import to the active file (all contacts).
  • Email address for feedback: A summary of imports will be sent to this email address. Your email address as the user is shown here by default, but you can change it if necessary. 
  • Upload ZIP file: Here you can indicate whether the file that you put on the sFTP is a zip file that must be extracted or not.
  • Mapping columns: Here you can see an overview of columns that have been linked and will therefore be included in the import via the sFTP.

Click Ok to complete the configuration.


The main requirement for a good import is in matching the elements from your import file to the file which you imported manually for the configuration. Think of: 

  • Matching column names
  • Identical file type, .csv for example
  • Identical separators


Importing a new database field

Has a database field been added that you want to import? Then delete the current configuration by using the dropdown menu.


Then, you do another manual import of a file. Go back to Integrations in the Settings and click Configure in the dropdown menu in the sFTP settings.

Setting up the sFTP connection with FileZilla

FileZilla is an open source FTP program for both Windows and Mac users. The program was not developed by Spotler. 

You can use FileZilla to upload files from your computer to a server and vice versa. 

Download and install FileZilla


  1. Go to and download the 64 bits version for Windows (you only need the 32 bits version if you have a very old computer).
  2. Double click on the download file to open the setup for FileZilla.
  3. Grant permission to Windows if and when asked. You will also be asked to agree to the terms and conditions (of the licence). Next you will be asked which elements (choose all) to set up and in which location - the given suggestion works fine. 
  4. FileZilla will now run the setup which usually takes less than a minute. 


  1.  Go to and download FileZilla.
  2. The installation is supposed to start automatically. If it doesn't, double click on Filezilla_versionno.tar.gz in Finder. 
  3. You will be asked to agree to the terms and conditions (of the licence). Next you will be asked which elements (choose all) to set up and in which location - the given suggestion works fine. 
  4. FileZilla is installed. 

The default language of FileZilla is the system language. This manual is based on the English language. If you need to operate FileZilla in a different language, go to the top menu and click on 'Edit', followed by 'Settings'. Select which language you want to set it to under 'Language'. After restarting FileZilla, the language will have been modified. 

Setting up the sFTP connection with FileZilla

If you want to set up the sFTP connection through FileZilla, you still need to have an existing sFTP connection in your Spotler account. 

  1. Open the FileZilla program. 
  2. Go to the top menu and click on 'File', then click on the 'Site management' screen. You can also use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+S. 
  3. Click on 'New site'.
  4. Name it something that you will recognise, such as 'Spotler account'. 
  5. In the 'Host' field, fill in the sFTP domain name, which can be '' 
  6. Under 'Protocol', select the sFTP - SHH File Transfer Protocol'. 
  7. Under 'Login type', select 'Ask for a password', because you wouldn't want FileZilla to remember your password, for security reasons. 
  8. Under 'User', fill in the username you were assigned when setting up the sFTP authentication in Spotler. 
  9. Click on 'OK'. 

The connection settings are now saved and site management is closed.

Connecting with the server

Now we are going to connect to the configured server. 

  1. Open 'Site management' (go to 'File' in the top menu and select the 'Site management' screen or use keyboard shortcut CTRL+S). 
  2. Selecht your configured connection and click on 'Connect'. You are now connecting to the registered host and you log in using your username. FileZilla will ask for the corresponding password. 
  3. Fill in your password and click on 'OK'. You have received a password when setting up the sFTP authentication in Spotler. 
  4. An 'Unknown host key' notification will appear in FileZilla. This notification is a good sign: it means that all data is sent encrypted over the internet. 
  5. You are now logged in to the server. On the left hand side is a column with all the files on your computer (local site) and on the right hand side you will find those on the server (external site). 

You can select the file on your own computer on the left and drag it to the right, and vice versa. An alternative method is to select a file and then select upload (to the server) or download (to your own computer). 

If you are unable to set up your sFTP connection, consult with your IT department. It could be company policy to prohibit these kinds of connections.