This is a quick guide that will show you how you can connect to a cloud server via SFTP with the PHPStorm IDE from Jet Brians and deploy files from your localhost to the cloud. This is my opinion, I am not paid to promote PHPStorm or UpCloud.



This guide will assume you already have (or know how to)..

I am using Windows 10 Home (with IIS Web Server (document root redirected to S:\Code\) and a pre built Ubuntu Cloud servers.

IIS pointing to S:Code

Why no FTP? I do not create FTP servers on my serves to increase security and I only access servers via SSH via white-listed IP’s and then authenticate with hardware 2FA keys from YubiCo (read me 2FA guide here and to secure *nix servers and WordPress with 2FA).


2 years ago I used to use the Cloud 9 IDE to connect to, and code files on cloud servers and life was good. I could configure and connect to servers, drag and drop files, run bash scripts from a web page and close the Cloud 9 browsers tabs, travel hundreds of kilometres and log back into C9 and all code and bash scripts would reappear.

Here is the Cloud 9 IDE showing code on the left and a Browser on the right.

C9.IDE showing code on the left and web page on the right

With Cloud 9 code could be easily accessed, edited and run.

See screenshot of code running from a Cloud 9 hosted server with properties windows on the right.

C9 IDE showing  a bash terminal windows and code


Regrettably, I cancelled my $9/m subscription to Cloud 9 after a minor stroke and since then I have gone back to a terminal screen to code and transfer files. In the last 2 years.

Screenshot of the putty program connected to a Ubuntu box editing a file with nano

Uploading and downloading files on mass is painful via pure SSH.

AWS has since purchased Cloud 9 and I am not sure if it will ditch support of non-AWS servers in the future. AWS is good but servers are very expensive for what you get IMHO. I have found Disk IO on UpCloud is awesome (also UpCloud support is great (I am not paid to say that)).


A quick Google of IDE’s like Cloud 9 mentioned PHPStorm from Jet Brains. I have used IntelliJ IDEA from Jet Brains before and PHPStorm seems to be very popular.

Go to and see the features of PHPStorm

Watch PHPStorm in action

Whats new in PHPStorm 2019.1


Install PHPStorm

Visit and download and install PHPStorm (free trial 30 days)

System requirements

  • Microsoft 10/8/7/Vista/2003/XP (incl. 64-bit)
  • 2 GB RAM minimum
  • 4 GB RAM recommended
  • 1024×768 minimum screen resolution


PHPStorm is $8.90/m for individual use (or $19.90/m commercial). For the first 12 months of uninterrupted subscription payments qualify you for receiving a perpetual fallback license (20% discount for an uninterrupted subscription for a 2nd year, 40% discount for an uninterrupted subscription for 3rd year onwards).

PHPStorm on Windows, OSX or Linux. This great an I use Windows locally and Linux remotely but I’m keen to use Linux locally to match local and remote dev environments.

Official PHPStorm Pricing Page:

: Jet Brains has free licencing for individual use for Students and faculty members.

Creating a Project

Open PHPStorm and select “Create New Project”.

Create New Project screen


Choose a project type on the left (e.g “PHP Empty Project“) and choose a location to save too (I chose “S:\code\php001) on my local machine. I chose “S:\code\php001” on my local machine.

New Project screenshot asking for a name and save location

Choose a folder to save to.

Choose a project and location to save to locally

Click “OK” to create the project.

PHPStorm will have created a project for you. You will notice a “.idea under the location you saved with these files.

  • misc.xml
  • modules.xml
  • php001.xml
  • wordspace.xml

Do not delete these files.


Creating your first PHP file

You can right click on the project root and select New then PHP File

Right click on the root in the tree view then new PHP File

Or clicking the File then New menu choosing PHP File.

File new PHP File dialog

Name the file (e.g index.php)

Naming a file index.php

The file has been created and its available in my localhost web server.

Screenshot showing PHPStorm with index.php, S:Code showing index.php and http://localhpst/php001/index.php loading


Creating a Deploy Target

Now we need to specify a deploy target in PHPStorm to push the file changes to the cloud. Backup your server (yes backup your server just in case).

Open your PHPStorm project and click Tools, Deployment and then Configuration.

Click Tools, Deployment and then Configuration.

Click the plus icon near the top left and choose SFTP

Screenshot showing add new deployment server (SFTP)


Name the deployment target (e.g “server (project)”)

Screenshot of an input box showing a server name
  • Enter your “server name” or IP and port
  • Enter your “ssh username” (ensure the SSH user had write access to the folder and the web server can read the files written by this user)
  • Under I chose “Key pair OpenSSH or Putty (as I had SSH details already setup in Putty details
  • You can add your private key from Putty (use the program to ssh public and private kets to format)
  • If you have a passphrase on your SSH key add it now
  • Enter your web servers remote path (for the project)
  • Enter your web server URL
Screenshot showing a server name, port, username, password, ssh file passphrase, root path and web server url.

I did SSH to my remote server and created the destination folder. This will ensure I can deploy code here (PHPStorm does not create the remote path you ).

mkdir /wwwroot/php001
chown -R www-data:www-data /wwwroot/php001/


Click Test Connection

Test Successful screenshot

No we need to click the Mappings tab and add a mapping.

  • Local path is your local path
  • Deployment path is / (the web root path is carried forward from the previous tab)
  • Web path is the web path that is entered in the browser
Screenshot showing a manual file mapping of local and remote file locations

Click Add New Mapping. Now we are ready to deploy

Deploying code to the cloud

I right clicked on the root note in PHPStorm and created an index.php file.

Creating an index.php file by file new


I edited the index.php on my local machine and then click the Tools then Deployment and choose “Upload to (php001)” menu.

Manual upload available in Tools menu then Deployment menu

The File Transfer output window showed the transfer progress.

Screenshot showing the file transfer window output saying the file uploaded.

I loaded in Google chrome. It worked.

Screenshot showing loaded in a bowser


Don’t forget to turn off Automatic uploads under Tools, Deployment menu.

'Screenshot showing Automatic updated turned on

Now when I create new files or change existing files they will auto upload.

Sourc Control

I will add this soon.

Shell Command

You can also open an SSH console to the server and run commands

e.g zip files

zip -r .

I can also open a folder window in PHPStorm and show all remote files by clicking Tools then Deployment then Show Remote Files, Zip files can be easily or other files uploaded. Nice.

Screenshot showing remote files

Linux Client

I will review the Linux PHPStorm client soon.



Watch the Official guide on Deployment and Remote Hosts in PhpStorm – PhpStorm Video Tutorial

Good Luck. I hope this guide helps someone.


1.0 Initial Version

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